After finishing last in each of its first two meets of the season, Cornell women’s gymnastics finally showed signs of mounting a turnaround this Saturday, edging out regional rival SUNY Cortland at home with the Red’s highest score of the season, 192.150 to 184.800.
Cornell clinched individual victories in all events except for the vault and individually gained four of the five top spots on the uneven bars and the balance beam.
Performances powering Cornell to its first victory of the season included junior Maci Prescott’s 9.550 score on vault, which earned her a spot in the top three vault scores. Senior Christina Luniewicz notched the team’s high score on bars with 9.825, and senior Malia Mackey did the same on beam, with a score of 9.775. Sophomore Claire Haklik earned the team’s highest floor score with 9.800.
Most impressive, perhaps, was freshman Sara Maughan’s incredibly high individual score on vault. Maughan outranked all but one gymnast from Cortland, as well as other more senior individuals on Cornell’s team.
The Farmingdale, New York native was a two-year Level 10 Junior Olympic national qualifier in high school, where she placed second in the region on vault and top five in floor in her junior and senior years.
Maughan is one of the five new freshmen on the team that have punched far above their weight.
“The freshman class is strong and have proven to be solid competitors,” senior Kelsey Kurfist said.
Despite a sluggish start to the season, gymnastics has nevertheless consistently improved from weekend to weekend as the squad works to gain momentum and find their stride.
“The first couple meets are always a bit of a learning process as we adjust to competing again and figure out each other’s competition styles,” Kurfist explained.
The team hopes to continue to build on Saturday’s victory and return to its previous championship-caliber form.
“Our goal as a team is to improve at every meet and compete with confidence and consistency,” Kurst said. “Last year at Nationals we broke our school record with a team score of 195, and we absolutely have the potential to do that again.”
The team will travel to face off against the University of Pennsylvania, their first Ivy League opponent of the season, this Saturday at 1 p.m.