The Cornell women’s gymnastics team had an outstanding performance this past weekend winning their first ECAC team title with a total score of 191.675 in front of University of Pennsylvania (191.175), Towson University (191.075), Temple University (191.000), William and Mary (190.075), Brown University (187.925) and Yale University (186.225).
“We feel great,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “It was the first time we have ever won [ECACs]. We’ve won nationals, we’ve won Ivies a pile of times but we have never quite had the best meet at ECAC’s. It was really great to put it all together.”
The team is ecstatic about this accomplishment.
“This is the first ECAC Gymnastics title in Cornell history, and that alone is something everyone on the team is so proud of,” said senior Maddie Pearsall.
The Red started its day on balance beam with some great performances. Junior Melanie Standridge became the latest ECAC champion on the event scoring a 9.850. Sophomore McKenna Archer also had a solid routine on beam placing fourth overall with a 9.675. The team moved onto floor where Pearsall and senior Emily Santoro tied for the highest score on floor for the Red with a 9.725.
The team was in fourth place moving into the last two events. This did not stop them, though.
“The second half of the meet was really good for us,” Santoro said.
Although it had a rough day on the first two events, counting a total of three falls, the Red made up for it on vault and bars. Both Archer and Santoro tied for the ECAC championship on vault scoring a 9.800. It was about the highest vaulting team score of the season.
This bumped the team into third place rotating to its fourth and final event –— bars. Beckwith explained that coaches were complaining about how low the scores on bars were throughout the entire meet. The Red ended up winning bars by more than a point. Also, all five of the Red’s counted scores on bars ended up placing in the top eight. Freshman Alexis Schupp and Pearsall tied for the win with a 9.700 and freshman Melanie Jorgensen took third with a 9.650. The Red also tied for an ECAC record, which was set a long time ago by Towson, for having five ECAC champions.
“Another highlight was having at total five individual champions, which is the most we’ve had at an ECAC championship meet,” Santoro said.
Santoro described how throughout the meet, the team focused solely on their performances, not getting too caught up in the numbers until it was over.
“We came into the meet with the goal of just doing our best and didn’t really know how the other teams were doing until the very end when we won,” she said.
Up next for the Red is NCAA Regionals. Standridge has earned a spot to compete on balance beam in Michigan at NCAA Regionals this upcoming weekend. In order to make NCAA Nationals, Standridge must win Regionals. The team is competing at Nationals the following week in Colorado Springs. To make the team finals the Red must be one of the top four teams. In order for the Red to have a shot at individual titles, it needs to place in the top ten in its event.
“With just the USAG Collegiate Nationals left for us [next week at Air Force] everyone is feeling really good about where we stand and I think it’ll be a great end to the season,” Pearsall said.
Overall, the Red had an outstanding performance this past weekend and has a lot to look forward to in the weeks to come.
“[This ECAC win] couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Beckwith. “It pushes us into post-season and gets us excited about what we can score at a tightly scored meet. It just gave us a big confidence booster.”
Original Author: Karen Schillinger