Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Junior Victoria DeMeo during her floor routine at the Big Red Invitational in Newman Arena on Feb. 13, 2022.

March 4, 2022

Gymnastics Trails Competition in Ivy Classic

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Gymnastics finished fourth in last weekend’s Ivy Classic hosted at Yale University.

The quad meet, featuring Brown, Cornell, Penn and Yale, showcased fierce competition between league rivals that resulted in the crowning of a new Ivy Classic champion. While Cornell finished last, it still managed to post impressive individual scores, but the team did not secure any individual titles.

Yale managed to steal the throne from Penn, the previous Ivy Classic champion, winning with an eye-popping 194.125. Penn fought ferociously to defend its title, ultimately falling short by less than a point.

Freshman Sydney Beers was the all-around runner up, beating out Yale’s Sarah Wilson by 25 thousandths of a point with a 38.675. Beers led the Red on floor with a 9.800 and finished fourth overall in the event.

Kate Michelini was back in the lineup this week after being rested in last week’s dual meet against Springfield. 

“It was so nice to have a break,” Michelini said.

Michelini remained on form, posting strong numbers in multiple events, and led the team on bars with a 9.775, good enough for fourth overall.

As a freshman, Michelini is still in a transition phase to college gymnastics, as are other young gymnasts on the roster. Michelini explained that the college schedule is more demanding compared to levels like the junior olympics.

“In JO, our season was made up of only six meets,” she said. “In college, we have twice as many.”

Having the meet off against Springfield came at a good time for Michelini, who had anxiously awaited competing in the Ivy Classic.

“I have watched the Ivy Classic as a young gymnast, so it was really exciting to be in it,” she said.

Having a brief break allowed her to go into the Classic with guns blazing and help inflate the team’s overall score to a 191.625.

Another Cornell standout in the Ivy Classic was sophomore Calista Brady, who also anticipated competing in the meet. However, Brady acknowledged the fact that there was something to be desired on the score sheet.

“Objectively, the meet did not go well, but that does not mean it was all bad,” Brady said. “For example, our last rotation was bars, and we had our highest bar score of the entire season.” 

Brady also explained that there were plenty of personal victories won in the event.

“One of our freshmen, Maddie Sakalosky, did the best bar routine she has ever done in a meet and stuck the landing, which she has been working very hard on in practice,” she said. “I will never forget the smile on her face and the electric reaction from the team when she finished her routine; I want to cry just thinking about it.”

Another example Brady mentioned was sophomore Regina Walton sticking a triple series on balance beam for the very first time in competition.

Even with the personal successes of the team, Brady admitted they haven’t been enough to win much this season.

“There was a lot to be happy about, but realistically, we have not been able to perform to the best of our ability in a meet from start to finish,” she said.

Still, she stated that the team remains motivated and on the cusp of a win at any moment.

Coming off of a knee injury last week, Brady had to walk the fine line of scoring high while not aggravating her condition. 

“I was pleased with the result, but to be honest I just wanted to get through it safely,” Brady said.

She posted a team leading 9.750, which placed her fourth overall.

This week’s meet will take the Red to State College, Pennsylvania for a quad meet hosted by Penn State University. The University of Denver and Southern Utah University will also travel for the event. These three formidable opponents pose as the Red’s most daunting challenge yet. 

“Penn State should be our toughest meet of the season,” Michelini said. “Unlike the Ivies, they offer 12 of their gymnasts full scholarships, which helps them attract great talent.”

Even so, Michelini maintains that while it may include tough opponents, it is still just another meet in the schedule.

“I am approaching this meet like any other because every meet is simply an opportunity for our team to do its best,” she said.

Brady agreed, noting that the team is making mental adjustments going into Penn State.

“Everyone handles pressure differently, so it is about finding the mental cues, self-talk, or pre-routine rituals that work for you,” Brady said. “It is an individual process, but we share our progress with each other and help each other work through it as much as possible.”

The quad meet at Penn State begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Recreation Building.