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Men gymnasts fail to upset UMass Amherst

By Eric M. Reifschneider

The men's gymnastics team entered their meet with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as heavy underdogs against the Minutemen, a team ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA Division I. Although the Engineers started off well, in the end UMass proved too tough, and defeated MIT, 243.8-193.4, on Saturday at DuPont Gymnasium. The loss dropped MIT's season record to 2-2.

MIT got off to a good start on the floor exercise, one of the team's best events. Joe Fugaro '91 nailed a front handspring to a front flip to score 6.55. Eric Reifschneider '89 scored 7.65 with a clean routine including a front flip to a front flip and a half-twisting back flip.

Alan Nash '89 opened his floor routine with a back flip to a back flip and finished with a full-twisting back flip for a season-high score of 7.95. Mark Malonson '89 earned MIT's highest score of the season, 8.85, with his powerful tumbling; he did a back flip, back flip, front flip combination on his first tumbling pass, a front-front on his third pass, and a back-front on his last pass.

UMass led by only 3.9 points after floor but pulled away from MIT on pommel horse and rings. MIT's highest scores on these events were Reifschneider's 7.2 on pommel horse and Malonson's 7.15 on rings, where he held an iron cross and nailed a double back flip dismount.

Trailing by 26.2 points after rings, the Engineers decided to try some daring new tricks in the last half of the meet. Malonson attempted a difficult handspring front flip vault, and Reifschneider tried a double back flip dismount from high bar; unfortunately, neither landed on his feet.

Malonson did, however, land his over-the-bar double back flip high bar dismount, and Nash nailed a toe-on front flip dismount from high bar. Mark Abinante '89 did two blind changes (half turns during giant swings) and a flyaway dismount for season-high score of 5.65 on high bar.

John Eggers, Dave Dinucci, and Roberto Weil of UMass finished 1-2-3 in the all-around competition. Eggers won every event except vault and had three scores of 9.0 or better, including a meet-high 9.5 on rings. Dinucci won vault with a score of 8.7. Reifschneider had MIT's top all-around score, 43.25. Malonson totaled 41.65, and Nash scored 41.35.

MIT's last home meet of the season is Saturday at 4 pm in DuPont Gymnasium versus the City College of New York. It will be the last home meet in the careers of tri-captains Malonson, Nash, and Reifschneider.

(Editor's note: Eric M. Reifschneider '89 is a tri-captain of the men's gymnastics team.)