This past weekend, the Cornell gymnastics team traveled to Philadelphia to compete at the quad meet, going up against the squads from Penn, North Carolina St. and Bridgeport. In a close contest, the Red finished with an overall score of 193.575, good enough for third place.
Bridgeport came out on top with a score of 194.000, while N.C. St. narrowly edged Cornell, notching a 193.725. Despite the third place finish, the team was still able to take a lot of positives from the meet.
Many gymnasts placed well in their respective events, including sophomore Lyanda Dudley who won the vault with a score of 9.800 — eighth-best in program history — and finished tied for first in all around and tying for third on the floor. Fellow sophomore Kaitlin Green tied for second on both the bars and the beam while classmate Malia Mackey finished tied for third on the beam. Senior Elana Molotsky tied for fourth on floor and freshman Maci Prescott finished fourth on the vault.
“Our team’s performance at Penn was very solid,” said assistant coach Melanie Dilliplane. “It was our high score of the year, so far, but we still have yet to reach our potential.”
Freshman Payton Murphy echoed the sentiments of her coach, noting the improvements the women have made throughout the year.
“I’m really proud of our team this past weekend,” Murphy added. “This was the first meet that we didn’t have to count a fall in our final team score and we achieved the goal that we set for ourselves. At every meet we’ve had so far, we’ve improved.”
On Saturday, the team will host the Cornell Invitational quad meet at Teagle Hall, taking on three formidable opponents in Bridgeport, Brockport and Ithaca College. Bridgeport posts a strong 193.500 average score so far this season, while Brockport — one of the top Division III teams in the country — is averaging 188.400. Slightly lower, Ithaca College has managed only a 183.475, with a top score of 184.950.
Throughout the season, the team has looked to improve upon its scores at each meet, a task they will attempt to continue at the home invitational.
“This weekend, we will look to improve on our team score, aiming for a 194.000 or better,” Dilliplane said. “While our vault score came up and was the best of the year so far, we can still improve on that event.”
With a week of practice to prepare, Dilliplane said that the gymnasts have been putting in extra work to tighten up certain areas.
“We’ve been focusing on adding twists to our vaults and sticking the landings, making our bonus combinations on both beam and floor and being consistent with full routines on bars,” she said.
As a result, many of the girls are feeling confident going into the weekend.
“Last week’s goal for our meet was to practice like you compete and compete like you practice. We had such an exciting and positive atmosphere from the entire team … we’re really looking forward to the home meet this weekend,” an excited Murphy said.
Action gets underway for the women Saturday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m in Teagle Gymnasium.