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Gymnasts strong in loss

By Catherine Rocchio

The MIT women's gymnastics team opened its season Saturday in Dupont Gymnasium against Springfield College. The MIT women, who scored 151.25, performed strongly against a nationally-ranked Division II Springfield squad, but were beaten by Springfield's score of 166.05.

MIT opened the meet with six strong vaulting performances. Co-captains Rachel McCarthy '90, Allison Arnold '90 , and Rose Rocchio '90 led off with clean front handsprings and twisting vaults for respective scores of 7.8, 8.05, and 8.05. Newcomer Julie Lyren '93 landed a powerful twisting vault for a score of 8.45, while Lisa Arel '92 opened her season with the highest scoring vault for MIT, earning an 8.7 for a handspring full-twist. Kortney Leabourne '93 also performed a handspring full-twist and earned 7.85.

The uneven bars event debuted a new bar routine for Arel and included a giant swing to handstand and a full-twisting dismount for a score of 8.2. Arnold showed championship form as she completed two free-hip circles to a handstand on the high bar, earning an 8.1. Leabourne also added her solid score of 7.4 to the team as she completed her routine in clean form.

Paula Aqui '89 showed off her competitive experience as she finished a routine full of original acrobatic combinations while the solid dance of Rocchio earned a score of 7.1. Arel and Arnold had the best routines for MIT -- each performed back handspring tumbling series, difficult leaps and dance combinations for respective scores of 8.2 and 8.1.

MIT rounded out the meet on the floor exercise where Aqui, Andy Pease '89, and Gretchen Martin '90 led off their routines with back somi tumbling passes. Arnold showed her usual graceful style for a score of 7.75, while Rocchio's dynamic tumbling, including a high Arabian front somersault, scored 8.3. Arel gave the last performance of the meet with a routine beginning with a full twisting back somersault and ending with an Arabian half twisting front somersault; she garnered an 8.75, the highest score of the meet on the floor exercise.

Overall, Rocchio, Arnold, and Arel had competitive all-around total scores of 30.30, 31.90, and 33.85 for respective overall places of 5th, 3rd, and 2nd in the meet.

MIT will meet Division I's Yale team this Saturday in New Haven where they will look to improve their overall team score before they face their Division III rivals in the coming season.

(Catherine Rocchio '89 is the assistant coach of the women's gymnastics team.)