Aubrey Akers | Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell now sets its sights on next season after a fourth place at nationals.

April 11, 2017

Green Secures Titles as Gymnastics Sets Team Record En Route to 4th Place Finish at Nationals

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This past weekend, the Cornell gymnastics team wrapped up its season at Collegiate Nationals at Seattle Pacific University. On Friday, the Red performed well against tough competition in the semifinal, finishing second overall with a 194.200 to qualify for the team final on Saturday night. Bridgeport finished the day first with a 195.575, while West Chester (193.525) and Air Force (192.800) were eliminated.

But despite setting a new team record for its highest all-around score with a 194.950 — the fifth time this season the gymnasts have broken the previous record — Cornell ended fourth out of four teams in the finals. Sophomore Kaitlin Green posted a 9.900 on the bars, tying her own team record and finishing tied for first with Kierstin Sokolowski of Lindenwood, and classmate Lyanda Dudley finished third with a 9.825. Additionally, Green scored a 9.875 to taking fourth on the beam. It was a close field, as national champion Texas had a team score of 196.125, followed by Bridgeport (195.500) and Lindenwood (195.375).

On Sunday, Green won first overall in both the individual balance beam and uneven bars. She became the seventh Cornell gymnast to win a national title and the first ever to win multiple. In each event, she tied her own team record by scoring 9.900.

“I’m really glad I was able to do some of my best routines of the season this weekend when it counted,” Green said. “I also switched up my bar routine in event finals with a new skill so I’m really excited that taking that risk worked out.”

Having competed individually with Dudley the previous weekend at regionals in West Virginia, Green was happy to be back with the rest of the squad.

“Having my teammates there made the whole weekend so much more exciting,” she said. “I’m really proud of the team for ending the season on a high note by making it to team finals and then breaking our team all around record again. Our last event on floor during team finals was definitely a highlight of the season with all three of our seniors finishing out their gymnastics careers with some of their best performances ever.”

Seniors Alexandria Bourgeois, Krystin Chiellini and Elana Molotsky all posted strong scores in their final meet. Bourgeois scored a 9.825 on floor, Chiellini a 9.750 and 9.775 on the beam and floor, respectively, and Molotsky a 9.775 on bars and 9.850 on the beam.

An emotional Molotsky was incredibly proud of the team this season.

“When Kaitlin finished her beam routine, I knew we had made team finals and the overwhelming joy and pride I have in this team brought me to tears,” she said. “Every person on this team has put in so much hard work to feel as confident as possible going into this final weekend of competition, and to see it all come together was a dream come true. As a senior and captain, I feel as though the accomplishments of the team this year will propel them to even greater success next year and I can’t wait to watch them dominate. I couldn’t have asked to share my senior season with a more passionate and dedicated group of women.”

Having just completed her first season, freshman Payton Murphy agreed.

“It’s incredible to come on to a team that did great things last year so we had high expectations of ourselves to do even better this year,” she said. “We definitely achieved that goal and I just felt really lucky to contribute what I could to the team. Everyone really put their all into everything they did this season and that made it such a great experience.”

But while this record-setting weekend signals positive things to come for the program, it also brings about the end of a collegiate career for several Cornellians.

“Being a part of this team in my final year at Cornell is an indescribable feeling,” the senior Chiellini said. “It’s hard to keep a team of 23 girls all on the same page, but this year we’ve been the most cohesive and unified since all my time at Cornell. I’ve always envisioned ending my final season ending on a high but this year blew my expectations out of the water.

“It’s sad to be leaving a sport I’ve done for 15 years but this was quite the way to go out.”