On Friday, the gymnastics team travels to the Gold Dome in Shreveport, La., where it will participate in the USAG Nationals against seven other teams in a three-day event.“USAG Nationals is the national gymnastics championships for the Top-8 teams in the country with seven scholarships or less,” senior McKenna Archer said. “Qualification is based on each team’s [regional qualifying score,] which is essentially their average team score for the season.”Cornell was the sixth to qualify among a field of 13 hopeful teams competing for a spot in the championships. With a regional qualifying score of 192.240, the Red joined the ranks of Bridgeport, Texas Woman’s, Air Force, Seattle Pacific, Penn, Brown and host school Centenary.Leading the pack for Cornell is junior all-around Melanie Jorgensen, a two-time USAG All-American. Jorgensen, who was named USAG national champion for bars as a freshman, scored a RQS of 9.795, which ranked her fifth on bars. Archer, senior Sarah Hein and junior Elise Kerner will also look to give a strong showing for the Red, as all three were 2012 USAG All-Americans.Having missed qualifying for the USAG Collegiate nationals as a team in 2012 for the first time since 2000, the Red is focused on performing well as a team and advancing to the final round, according to Archer.“Our goal is to have everyone hit during prelims and qualify to team finals,” she said. “We have a strong team and huge potential, so I’m excited to see how far we can go this weekend.”Not going to USAG nationals as a team last year ended a string of 11 consecutive seasons in the Top-8 for Cornell. The Red has finished in at least sixth place every year, and placed Top-4 every year from 2006-10. The Red captured a share of its first USAG national title during the 2009 season.On Friday, the eight teams will be broken down into two sessions of four team each, where teams will compete head to head to see who will progress to the final round. The top two finishers in each session will advance to Saturday’s team finals. Also competing on an individual level are gymnasts from Lindenwood, Southern Connecticut, Temple, West Chester and Yale. One Sunday afternoon, the highest qualifiers from Friday will compete for individual USAG National titles.
Original Author: Lauren Ritter