Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

After a string of strong performances, the Red took a step backwards in Bridgeport.

March 12, 2019

Gymnastics Looks to Shake Low Score Ahead of Meet Promoting Mental Health Awareness

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When Cornell gymnastics traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut to face off against the University of Bridgeport, the Red was doubly disappointed.

While the loss to the high-scoring school — 190.225 to Bridgeport’s 194.750 — was less than ideal, more disheartening to the gymnasts was that this was the lowest score of the season for the Red.

After four weeks with scores consistently in the 193-194 range, the Red gymnasts performed the same strong routines at Bridgeport but say fell afoul of particularly picky judges.

“We put up [our] best routines,” said senior Morgan Chall, “But it’s [ultimately in] the hands of the judges. Different judges score differently.”

Despite the Red’s disappointing scoring early on, the team had to rebound to deal with adversity in subsequent events.

“Although there were really good performances on the first event on bars, there were challenges that the team had to overcome … on vault and floor,” Chall said.

The confidence and perseverance of the team are reflected in their high scores on bars, floor and vault. Beam, on the other hand, was a source of struggle for the Red, as it has been all season long.

Despite the unfavorable scoring and the technical challenges of last weekend, the team is looking ahead to next weekend, and is especially excited about its second-to-last home meet against Rutgers this Sunday, March 17.

It will be the first meet hosted in Newman Arena this season — all prior home meets have been in Teagle Gymnasium — and the team is looking forward to a big turnout.

Due to Cornell’s lack of a second set of equipment, the gymnasts have to move all their competition equipment from Teagle to Bartels when competing in Newman Arena. They have only taken on this laborious process for big championship meets in the past.

“[The senior] class is the only class on the current team who has ever competed in Bartels because we only host meets in Bartels if it’s a championship meet,” Chall said.

The 2016 Ivy Classic Championships, in which the Red tied for first place, was the last championship meet that Cornell hosted.

“It elevates our program and the vibe is just different from when you’re competing in your practice gym,” Chall said. “You can pack so many more people in there and…because it’s more spacious it feels better.”

Along with being the first regular season meet hosted in Bartels, the meet will carry additional importance as a “green meet” for mental health awareness, called Strength Beyond Muscles.

This meet was inspired by other gymnastics programs who have hosted similar meets, and is part of the larger “Don’t Bear It Alone” campaign that Cornell athletics began last year to promote mental health awareness, particularly within the athletic community.

Other teams have begun doing these “green meets” or “green games” this year. Chall, who has been spearheading the organization of this meet, summarized its primary purpose.
“There’s a donation jar if people want to donate,” said Chall, “but the primary reason for the meet is raising awareness and decreasing stigma especially within the athletic community.”

Cornell will hold its first ever “green meet” against Big Ten challenger Rutgers in Bartels Hall next Sunday at 1 p.m.