The women’s gymnastics team had a rough time kicking off the 2019 season at George Washington University, and finishing last place in their first two meets. The Red also competed against Ball State University and the University of North Carolina, earning a comprehensive score of 190.750.
The Red’s senior Kelsy Kurfirst earned the best score on vault, averaging 9.55, while senior co-captain Lyanda Dudley prevailed on bars and on beam (9.75 and 9.575 averages, respectively). Sophomore Claire Haklik did best on floor (9.825 average).
Dudley is recovering from an ACL surgery which kept her out of competition last season. However, “she is healthy and back to competing this year! In her first meet back she competed three events and hit every routine,” junior Payton Murphy said. Dudley’s performance on bars and beam indicate her recovery process is going well.
Murphy herself recently recovered from an injury on bars last September and said, “I’m slowly gaining my skills and confidence back on the event.”
The second meet of this season took place this last Thursday, Jan. 18 at Towson University where the Red also competed against North Carolina State University and the College of William and Mary, but only managed a score of 191.725 — falling once again to last place.
Senior Malia Mackey had the highest vault score from Cornell, averaging a 9.75. Senior Kelsy Kurfirst triumphed on bars with a 9.75 average, and freshman Miranda Lund succeeded on beam with a 9.75 average. Junior Samantha Henry did best on floor, averaging 9.825.
Mackey spoke a bit about the team’s goals for the season, saying that “we’d love to send some girls to NCAA regionals, and have Ivy and ECAC titles.” Mackey was named to the ECAC All-Academic team last season.
The five new freshman are a large asset to the team, as is shown by Lund’s impressive beam score. Murphy said, “All of our freshman are very talented. They’re all working so hard in the gym and are great competitors at meets. They help make the team the most talented one we have had yet.”
However, the team had a tough start to the season given the amount of injuries sustained during the fall semester. “Unfortunately, we lost sophomore Amy Shen, our top all-arounder, to an injury so she will be out for this season,” said Associate Head Coach Melanie Hall.
Despite the injuries, the return of individuals like Dudley and Murphy as well as the added freshmen have improved the team as a whole. However, this has resulted in some juggling of the lineup and has encouraged each team member to become comfortable in different events.
While the team may not have huge overall scores thus far, both Hall and some individuals on the team noted that they did particularly well in certain events during each meet, but will need to combine these strengths for better overall scores.
“In our first meet we had strong showings on vault, bars and floor but needed to improve on beam. This weekend at Towson, we had excellent results on vault and floor again, but we swapped off bars for beam in this meet,” Hall said.
Judging from past seasons, the team has often begun with scores in the low 190’s before finding their stride. The team’s goal is to have a greater overall average than last year, which makes 192.7375 the score to beat. Both Hall and various players are confident that they can achieve this.