January 22, 2013

GYMNASTICS | C.U. Continues Strong Start

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After one of the strongest starts to the season in program history, Cornell scored even higher this past weekend at the Pittsburgh Quad Meet on Saturday night. Posting a 190.300 at George Washington less than one week before, the Red improved 1.5 points to finish the Pitt meet in third place with 191.800.

“There was no disappointment there whatsoever [in placing third,]” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “In gymnastics we don’t concentrate as much on the winning or losing unless it’s other Ivy teams or rivals, so much as team score. Going up a point and a half in our team score is the most important.”

Nationally ranked No. 14 Maryland took home the top spot, earning a 195.975 and just edging out host Pitt, who scored a 195.650. Cornell finished in a comfortable third place ahead of Temple, which accrued 190.000 points.

“We beat Temple, which is always a good indicator for us of where we are,” Beckwith said.

After faltering on floor at George Washington, the Red came back and gave a strong performance — falling just short of a school record with a 48.700 (their record is 49.000). Senior captain Sarah Hein scored a 9.775 with her routine. She earned a career best debuting a new routine.

“We went up a full point on floor, which is two tenths per person,” Beckwith said of the team’s  overall improvement in the event.

“[It is] a lot considering how high they are scoring so far.”

Continuing the record-setting trend, senior McKenna Archer scored a career-best 9.825. The finish placed her at eighth-best in school history and sixth overall at the meet.

“I tried to focus on one skill at a time and show off my routine as much as I could,” Archer said. “Everything was very clean and I made a big effort to not lose tenths on landings.”

Freshman Madeline Martinez had another strong meet, leading the team on vault with 9.775. Her finish earned her eighth overall for the day. Hein and Archer each came in two tenths below Martinez with a 9.575 each.

On bars, junior Lexi Schupp scored the highest for the Red, posting a 9.700, earning her sixth overall. Hein and junior Melanie Jorgensen finished close behind, each with 9.675 a piece. Rounding out the events, Jorgensen led the way on beam with a 9.700, which placed her 12th overall.

The highly competitive meet allowed newer members of the team to experience what it takes to succeed at a high level of competition. Beckwith said it takes a few meets to get the competition nerves out, especially for events such as beam. With two meets completed, the Red sits in a strong position as it heads into consecutive weekends of competition — along with the Ivy and ECAC championship on the horizon.

“I think the season is looking really promising. Even this last meet at Pitt, we got a great score of 191.800,” Archer said. “But we have a lot of improvement we can do for every event, including floor, even though we had one of our best best floor scores. All of us are really hoping to keep moving forward and we are setting our goals high because it’s not unrealistic this year.”

According to Beckwith, the team’s success iin the postseason is not determined by how well it places in weekly competition, but rather how well the team scores overall. Averaging 191.050 in the first two meets of the season, the team is in a solid position as it heads into this weekend’s home meet against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons will travel to Teagle Gymnasium Saturday at 1 p.m., where they will attempt to dominate the Red for the first time in recent history. Cornell currently holds the series lead, 40-7, dating back to the 1974-75 season when the two New York rivals first competed. When the two teams met up last year, Archer earned the top vault and overall score on any event with a 9.825. Cornell emerged with a 188.675 victory, as well as top scores in three of the four events.

Looking to maintain control of the series, the Red will look to maximize its success by competing at home in its familiar practice space.

“I think against Cortland this week we are having our first home week and we can be comfortable and go as hard as we can,” Archer said. “It’s nice to be at home and have friends come support us.”

Original Author: Lauren Ritter