In perhaps the most critical meet of its season thus far, women’s gymnastics managed to turn in another solid performance, this time finishing well enough to advance on to the next, and final, round of postseason play.
Last weekend, Cornell travelled to Philadelphia to compete in the ECAC Championships, which included Yale, William and Mary, Brown, Penn and Temple. The Red, which earned a score of 193.200 — the fifth time it has surpassed 193.00 this season — tied with the Quakers to win fourth place, just good enough to earn a spot at the USAG Collegiate National Championships.
As has been the case for much of the year, Cornell’s success was driven by a diverse group of competitors, ranging from rookie to veteran.
Freshman Amy Shen claimed second place on vault with a score of 9.800, while freshman Izzy Herczeg earned fifth in the same event. Freshman Madison Smith and sophomore Samantha Henry tied for second on floor with 9.850 points.
“At our last home meet I scored a 9.925, tying the school floor score record. This week I’ve been focusing on improving the little things in my routines like straightening my legs and emphasizing my dance to earn back tenths on my score,” Smith said.
Adding to the contributions of the squad’s younger athletes, senior Lauren Wong placed seventh on bars with a score of 9.850.
“I really focused on quality over quantity in my routines and tried to balance doing numbers and staying healthy for the weekend,” she said.
Despite qualifying for nationals, the Red performed slightly worse this meet than it had in the previous two weekends. But some players attributed this decline to issues limited to one event.
“We had a rough start to the meet on beam with two falls…but I think the team did really well in keeping the positive energy and motivation up, and did really well on the rest of the events,” Wong said.
Others, instead, pointed out the ECAC Championships’ unique caliber of competition.
“The other teams had a really good showing during the weekend’s competition,” Chen noted. “Yale, in particular, has been having their best season ever, probably in program history.”
In either case, Cornell remains optimistic heading into the USAG Collegiate National Championships, its last official meet of the season. The team hopes to continue building on what has proved to be a year generally defined by an upward trend, and aims to do so by fostering individual growth and maintaining consistency.
“We are a really strong team and definitely capable of accomplishing way more than we have this year, but we definitely have things we need to work on,” Wong said. Throughout the season we have done really well in all four events, but have struggled in doing well on all four in one competition. If we can improve our consistency in practice, we have a really good chance of performing well at nationals.”
Action next starts for the gymnasts when they travel to Denton, Texas, April 14th to compete in the USAG Championships.