In a competitive meet Sunday afternoon at Towson, the Cornell gymnastics team finished in second place, right between the hosts and SUNY Brockport. The Red finished with a strong team score of 193.500 and set a new team record on floor with a 49.075, but it was not enough to fend off Towson, who posted a team score of 194.625, including an incredible 49.275 on the bars to finish out, while Brockport ended up with a 192.425.
“The team did an excellent job,” said assistant coach Melanie Dilliplane. “We had a few mistakes, but overall, it was a solid performance by everyone and a great warm up for this weekend’s ECAC Championship. The second place finish was a little bit of a downer, but we gave it our all so we can’t be too disappointed. Towson is a tough team and while we have the potential to beat them, it just wasn’t in the cards for yesterday.”
Sophomore Kaitlin Green scored a 9.800 on bars, and freshman Payton Murphy had a 9.725, leading the way to a narrow 48.100-48.000 edge over Towson in that category. Sophomore Lyanda Dudley tied for first on the beam with a career high matching 9.875, and second overall on the all-around with a 38.750.
Going into ECAC championships this weekend, the team is keeping the same mentality as they would for any other competition.
“I think we’re feeling pretty good going into ECACs,” said junior Joy Gage. “As focused students and athletes who had to learn to keep our perspectives in competitive environments, we’ve been practicing pretty much our whole lives to filter out what is outside of our control. We know that we cannot change judges, equipment, or how the other teams perform. While we know that the stakes are a little higher this weekend, we also know that we’ve got to just focus on ourselves just like any other meet.”
With the team score this past weekend, the Red’s regional qualifying score on the year is up to 193.660, easily surpassing the former school record of 193.010 set last year. Regional Qualifying Score — which is used for post season qualification — is determined by a team’s top six scores from the season, and no more than three of those scores can be from home competitions. The high score is then dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged to determine the RQS.
The team’s cumulative RQS was good enough to secure one of the eight team spots for the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships at Seattle Pacific University in April, and there is still potential for the team to increase its RQS with a good score this weekend.
“We will focus on all of the little details: pointed toes, straight legs, sticking dismounts, etc. to make sure we get the best score we can at ECAC’s,” Dilliplane added. “If we do that, we most certainly have the ability to win this championship.”
The championships get underway at Brown University at noon Saturday.