The Cornell gymnastics team placed second overall on Feb. 27 at the Ivy Classic in Philadelphia, Pa. with a score of 190.550. Penn clinched the title on its home turf with an overall score of 191.950, thus ending Cornell’s three-year run as Ivy Champs. Brown (188.900) finished third and Yale (185.550) finished in last place. The last time Penn won the Ivy Classic was in 2007, which was also held at home in the Palestra.
The Red had its best performance of the day on bars, resulting in the highest scores of the season. Bars was the only event in which Cornell outscored Penn, scoring a team total of 48.125, compared to the Quakers’ score of 47.100. Freshman Melanie Jorgenson (9.750) and sophomore Sarah Hein (9.675) finished first and second, respectively, for uneven parallel bars, while senior Maddie Pearsall (9.625) tied for third.
“Our bar score was one of the highest it’s ever been,” Jorgenson said. “We had a phenomenal bar day — almost everyone hit their best routine of the year on bars.”
Penn had the first and second place finishers with scores of 9.700 and 9.675 on vault, while Cornell senior Emily Santoro (9.650) and Hein (9.625) placed third and fourth, respectively. Due to problems with free falls on vault, Cornell scored two points fewer in the event than it did the previous week.
Senior Melanie Standridge had the highest score, 9.800, on beam for Cornell, while seniors Danielle Scott and Kim O’Donnell tied for fifth with a score of 9.650. In the end, the Quakers had a score of 48.200 on beam — besting the Red’s score of 47.550.
“Beam went well. There was improvement from last time — that was a plus,” Standridge said. “There are still kinks that need to be worked out, but we are headed in the right direction.”
Floor proved to be Penn’s best event of the day, as the the team earned a score of 48.625, outscoring the Red by a margin of 0.400. Pearsall placed seventh, while sophomore McKenna Archer and senior Jennifer Aroughetti tied for ninth.
“[Penn] did really well on floor and they were overall really solid and hitting all their routines,” Jorgenson said.
“Were we disappointed that we didn’t win? Yes, but we didn’t have the best day and that’s what happens,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “We are certainly proud to be second, and we had two individual champions … we had No. 1 and No. 2 on bars. We also had the top person on beam.”
Jorgensen (bars) and Standridge (beam) each won Ivy titles, with Standridge winning her second Ivy beam crown. Jorgensen, who normally competes all-around, was unable to do so at the Ivy Classic due to a foot injury.
Penn produced several season-best performances and finished the Ivy Classic first overall — claiming the top three spots in the all-around results — ending the day with the highest team score in both the vault and beam routines and second highest in the floor and bar routines.
“Penn had the best meet of their life,” Archer said. “They had everything; we had a bit of a rocky start — if we had hit all our events I have no doubt that we would have won.”
The Ivy Classic was a high-pressure situation and nerves contributed to the team’s performance. Cornell had two uncharacteristic falls, showing that the pressure of trying to maintain its winning streak and win the Ivy League title had an effect on the team’s overall routine.
“We didn’t prepare. It’s hard to practice in a stressful situation — you can’t imitate that in the gym,” Beckwith said. “No matter how well you do in practice … it still doesn’t prepare you for big stress situations. We have to work a little better at that.”
Original Author: Nicole Wagner