The gymnastics team set the bar high with its first meet of the 2013 season, recording 190.300 while competing at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational held at George Washington on Sunday afternoon. Cornell scored just below the host Colonials (193.425) and North Carolina (192.950), but outscored fellow Ivy Penn (189.575) and Temple (187.500). The third place finish marked the second time in program history that the Red scored 190.0 or better to kick off the season.
“It was a great start to the season and I was happy to be back on the competition floor,” said senior McKenna Archer. “Going into my last year, I’m just trying to enjoy every moment and do the best routines I can.”
Last season, the Red finished second in the Ivy Classic held at Cornell and fourth at the ECAC Championships held at Penn, posting 191.875 and 192.350, respectively. As the team worked through its tough schedule of competitors, Cornell improved with each meet, recording four meets above 190.0. The team looks to build of of last season’s successes heading into the invitational at George Washington.
“One of the biggest things we did to get ready for the GW meet this year was make sure that we were routine ready earlier in the pre-season,” said junior Elise Kerner. “We had many people doing full routines on events within the first couple months we were back at school. Also, we stepped up our conditioning in the gym and in the weight room a lot this year compared to years past. These two factors definitely helped us to go into our first meet more prepared and more confident.”
This strong training routine set the foundation for Sunday’s performance, where the Red posted the day’s second highest scores on both vault (48.325) and bars (48.625). Freshman Madeline Martinez made her collegiate debut on the vault, scoring a 9.775 and earning second place overall. Fellow rookie Alicia Bair had a strong showing on vault and recorded a 9.700, which was good enough for seventh place.
“We had probably what was one of our most powerful vault performances and we were able to count no falls on that event, which was one of our team goals going into the first meet,” Kerner said.
Cornell scored a 48.325 for vault as a team, placing just behind North Carolina’s 48.525. Archer also competed on vault, posting a 9.550. According to the senior, the event will be one to watch for the Red this upcoming season.
“Vault is shaping up to be an exciting event for us this year,” she said. “With most of our lineup returning in addition to several new people, we have more depth than we have had in a couple years. This weekend, our freshmen did especially well on vault. In their first college meet, they all stepped up and hit their vaults without hesitation.”
While the Red stood out on vault, the team began the day scoring low on floor. Archer earned Cornell’s highest place on floor, recording a 9.725 to finish in sixth overall. Despite a starting score of 47.625 which placed the team in fourth, the Red was in a good place and looked to make up some ground.
“We had a really strong start with the routines on our first event, floor,” Kerner said. “There were a couple mistakes here and there but each competitor did a great job staying focused and delivering great routines.”
Cornell left a positive impression on bars, placing three in the top five. Junior Melanie Jorgensen scored 9.850 to earn a second place finish, with junior Alexis Schupp and senior Sarah Hein taking fourth and fifth, with a 9.800 and 9.775, respectively.
“On our third event, bars, we had a very consistent performance, with each competitor executing their routines just like they had practiced them in the gym for the past couple months,” Kerner said. “We were also able to count no falls in that rotation and posted two scores of 9.8 or above.”
Cornell finished with a 48.625, just shy of George Washington’s 48.675. By the end of the third event, the Red held first place with 144.600. Cornell moved to the beam, where the team finished last with a 45.700.
“Beam was our final event, and also the event we look forward to improving upon the most in our upcoming meet at Pitt,” Kerner said. “Our routines gave us a great baseline to work off of and we’ll be looking to improve our consistency and confidence on this event in the coming weekend.”
Archer was the Red’s top finisher on beam, earning 11th place with her 9.600. Cornell will compete on the road again this weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh on Saturday, where it will compete in a four-team meet against host Pitt, Maryland and Temple.
According to Archer, the Red looks to use the George Washington Invitational as a standard to build on for the rest of the season.
“Building off of our first meet, there are a few things we are trying to work on, particularly cleaning up routines and increasing consistency,” she said. “At Pittsburgh this weekend, one of our goals is to count no falls on any event, as well as improve our team’s overall performance.”
Original Author: Lauren Ritter