In New Haven, the Cornell gymnastics team came away with its second straight Ivy League championship, the 12th in team history. In the win, the Cornell women finished with a team score of 193.325, good enough to fend off a strong Penn team, which posted a 192.925.
Host Yale came in third with a 192.875, followed by Brown with a 192.400. While Cornell was not able to set a new scoring record for what would have been the third straight week, the team walked away satisfied with yet another coronation atop the Ancient Eight.
Sophomore Kaitlin Green finished tied for first with two other gymnasts on the bars with a 9.850, and also won on beam with another 9.850. Fellow sophomore Lyanda Dudley finished second on the all-around with a 39.000.
“To be back-to-back Ivy League champions feels amazing because it proves not just to the other schools, but to ourselves, that we continue to excel as a team from season to season in addition to improving at each competition,” Dudley said. “Even though our team total was lower than last weekend, I thought we definitely improved and had a stellar meet Saturday … I am very proud of what we accomplished this weekend.”
Assistant coach Melanie Dilliplane was especially proud of her team’s accomplishment, especially given the injuries that have presented numerous hardships throughout the year. Part of the team’s ability, she said, was by making necessary changes within the large team and “having people step up to the plate and put it all out there.”
“We had some setbacks over the past few weeks with injuries or illness that kept key people out, but the team really worked hard to get ready for this meet,” she added. “We have a lot of depth on beam and floor so those events aren’t much of an issue, but we are not as deep on vault or bars. The people who don’t normally compete those events stepped up their game and it made the difference.”
As is true of any gymnastics squad, team success is built on individual production. Dilliplane lauded her team for their united endeavors despite the individuality of the sport.
“One of the main things that this team has focused on this year is that this is a group effort in a sport that is usually very individualized,” she said. “They have made sure to put the team first and they know that if everyone does their part, they will be successful. This has always been our goal, but with a team that is the largest we’ve had in awhile, it takes on significant meaning. At Saturday’s meet, we put forth a strong effort and were rewarded for that.”
The team will take on Temple this Saturday at Teagle in what is sure to be a close meet. Cornell has been posting impressive results all season long, but Temple leads the ECAC as the highest scoring team.
“They are a solid team who is scoring about what we are,” Dilliplane said of Temple. “Our goal is to be consistent. Already this year we have a higher NCAA average than we’ve ever had and it can still go up more with three competitions to go. We are in a great position to qualify for postseason and we still have room for more improvements.”
Saturday’s meet, as the last home competition of the year, also serves as senior day, and Alexandria Bourgeois, Krystin Chiellini and Elana Molotsky will be recognized for their years of service to the program. Action gets underway Friday at 3:30 p.m.