On the tails of its season-high score of 194.000 two weekends ago during the “Big Red Goes Pink Invitational,” Cornell women’s gymnastics scored its second-highest score of 193.075 this past weekend in its competition against West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Utah State at West Virginia University.
While Cornell scored well, the Red was outperformed by its three rivals. Utah State, West Virginia and Pitt scored 196.075, 195.575 and 195.100, respectively.
“They’re all teams that have qualified [for] NCAA regionals in the past and that means they’re ranked in the top 36 teams in the country,” said Cornell senior Christina Luniewicz. “Every year, [head coach Paul Beckwith] makes sure we have at least one meet against one of these really good teams … so we can show face and represent the Ivy League and Cornell at these competitions, and show them that we are just as good as them.”
Cornell definitively held its own against these top-tier programs. One small part of the Red’s success may have been due to the recent addition of sophomore Izzy Herczeg to the lineup.
Back from a labrum tear in her hip from the beginning of last year, Herczeg rejoined the lineup last weekend at the Pink Invitational and scored 9.850 on floor at that meet. She improved to a 9.875 in the same event in West Virginia this weekend.
Herczeg competed with the labrum tear last year and competed on the floor for the first time last weekend since her surgery in June.
Herczeg has had to alter her training regimen to ensure her newly healed hip does not feel any undue strain. In her words, she had to “train smart” for the remainder of the season to ensure that her recent injury will not impede her ability to compete.
Freshman Donna Webster said Herczeg’s recovery has positively influenced the team.
“Having her come back from her injury has been uplifting for the team dynamic, because everyone recognizes how strong, clean and tight her gymnastics are,” Webster said. “It’s been a real motivator to meet that standard.”
The team, in lieu of its recent successes these past few weekends, hopes to continue achieving the same high scores this upcoming weekend at the Ivy Classic Championships.
“Going into Ivies, we’re pretty evenly matched,” Luniewicz said. “It’s going to be a great competition, a tight race.”
Beckwith’s strategy to compete against top teams this past weekend may pay off during the Ivy Championship.
“I think it’ll be helpful going into Ivies this next weekend,” Webster said. “We had the sense that we can pull through and we did have a few errors so knowing if we fix those errors this week … [we know we’ll be in good shape].”
Cornell will compete against Penn, Brown and Yale in the Ivy Classic Championships on Sunday.