It was Senior Day, and parents of graduating Cornell gymnasts had flown, driven and bussed into Ithaca to see their daughters compete. Families of gymnasts from nearby Ithaca College and The College at Brockport also came to cheer on their own teams, adding to the crowd.
The air felt electric.
Whether it was the added energy of Senior Day, the support of so many fans or the home advantage, the Red scored a season-high 194.000 at the Big Red Goes Pink Invitational.
Brockport followed closely with a tally of 192.575 and Ithaca College came in third with 189.375. Cornell only scored above 194.000 twice last year — at the Ivy League Championship and at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships, both of which take place later in the season.
The seniors were incredibly successful and had individual top scorers in two of the four events.
“The seniors this year carry the team a lot,” said sophomore Amy Shen. “They all compete a lot and contribute to the team scores … This current senior class is such a powerhouse.”
Senior Malia Mackey had the best individual performance on beam and the second-best performance on vault this weekend.
“What helps me is I smile and I kind of have fun with it,” Mackey said. “Having fun and really focusing on every skill.”
In addition to the strong performances put on by the seniors, another encouraging development was sophomore Izzy Herczeg’s return to the lineup after recovering from a hip injury that had kept her out from the season’s onset.
“Izzy had an injury over the summer … and she had to make sure her hip would be okay to handle it,” Shen said.
Herczeg came back strong, scoring a 9.850 on the floor, good for the third-best individual performance of the meet.
The season may be less than halfway through, but Senior Day prompted members of the Class of 2019 to reflect on their time on the Cornell squad. The Red will only compete at Teagle Gymnasium once more in the regular season.
“All the seniors are going to miss the sport … we’ll definitely miss the team aspect and performance aspect,” Mackey said.
On the heels of this victory, the Red will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia next weekend and try to keep its momentum going. Cornell will compete at West Virginia University on Sunday at 1 p.m.