On leap day, the Cornell women’s gymnastics team traveled to State College, Pa., to face off host Pennsylvania State University, and two other competitive southern teams, Towson University and North Carolina State University.
The Red unfortunately came in fourth of the four teams, with a score of 190.750. Penn State finished in first place with a score of 196.575. North Carolina State finished second with a respectable 195.850, and Towson University finished third with a 193.750.
Although Cornell’s loss may indicate poor performance in comparison to the other teams, its score was actually the team’s third highest score of its eight meets this season.
The Red did particularly well on bars, with junior Madison Smith earning a 9.8 — a personal record for the gymnast.
Associate head coach Melanie Hall noted Smith’s impressive bar performance came in spite of an injury that took her out of competing in bars last season.
Back from her injury, Smith’s current routine is almost identical to her freshman year routine, but features a new dismount and combination leading up to the dismount. Hall said that all of these new components came together nicely in the quad-meet last weekend.
Freshman Darby Kent also performed well on bars, scoring a 9.7, adding to the team’s second personal record of the day.
Sophomore Donna Webster also finished with a 9.7 score on vault, earning her 11th place. She has faced several injuries this season, recovering from a concussion suffered in November and a toe injury.
“Last year, I did three events and this year I’m only doing vault and bars…I had been struggling earlier in the season [and] I focused on knuckling down on what the issues were and focusing on quality over quantity,”Webster said.
More success came for Cornell with junior Izzy Herczeg scored a 9.75 on beam, and both Herczeg and Smith achieved 9.75 scores on floor.
With important meets such as the ECAC Championships, NCAA Regionals and USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals coming up, Hall has altered practices to stimulate meets.
“One of the things we really need to focus on is trying to put things together all at the same time,”Hall said. “In practice, we’ve been starting to do surprise practice/meet situations…While it doesn’t totally simulate a competition, it’s helpful in comparing.”
Webster also emphasized what the team will work on over the next few weeks.
“[I]t’s important to focus on what we can control. We can’t always control the scoring and the judges,”Webster said. “We need to focus on keeping our energy up in the gym and being there for each other.”
The Red will now head to New Brunswick, N.J. on Friday to face off against Rutgers University, West Chester University and Southern Connecticut State University.