The gymnastics team is ready for its season to begin, and with experienced veterans and a host of fresh faces, the squad has high expectations.
“We have the biggest and deepest team we have ever had and we expect to have the best season we’ve ever had,” said head coach Paul Beckwith.
This is no small compliment for the Red, which with four wins and four second place finishes is the most successful Ivy League gymnastics team in the past decade.
One of Beckwith’s main sources of confidence in the team is in the return of some very seasoned athletes. Junior Melanie Jorgensen on bars is an individual Ivy and USAG Collegiate National Champion, while senior tri-captain McKenna Archer on vault and junior Lexi Schupp on bars are ECAC Champions. Furthermore, Jorgensen, Archer and senior tri-captain Sarah Hein on vault are All Americans.
“I would say I have high expectations,” Archer said. “Everyone has been working really hard and I’m hoping its going to be a good season.”
Archer has also had some success outside the gym, as she was awarded the Richie Moran Award, which honors “academics, athletes and ambassadorship,” and is one of the most prestigious awards given to Cornell athletes.
However, the Red looks quite different than it did last year, as nine new freshmen have been added to the roster.
“It brings in a lot of new talent, really changes the dynamic of the team,” Archer said.
Beckwith also expressed excitement for the wide variety of competition the Red will be facing this season.
“We have a really good schedule this year,” he said. “We’ve got the first meet of the year against George Washington and North Carolina, and Temple and Penn, which is going to be a great meet, and then we have Pittsburgh and Maryland in our second meet. We see a lot of big schools this year and we are seeing some new schools, such as New Hampshire and Penn State … Some really big schools and we have some smaller schools, so a good, varied schedule.”
The gymnastics team is looking to improve upon its record from last season and continue on the path to success.
“We have been Ivy champions four out of the last seven years,” Beckwith said. “Last year we had four kids with mono that really hurt our whole team effort, [so] last year was sub par, but there was nothing we could do about it — a lot of our starters were sick. So this year, people seem to be healthy and we are really looking forward to getting back. Two years ago we won the ECAC championship, and we’re really hoping to do that again and win Ivys again as well. We were second last year, which wasn’t bad but was a let down from where we [were].”
Although the team’s first meet is not until mid- January, the squad has already begun preparing for competition.
“Our goal is to have routines ready almost two months before we compete so that we don’t have to stop working new skills when it comes time for competition,” Beckwith said.
Original Author: Dani Abada