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Women Gymnasts Lose 3 Meets

Catherine Rocchio

Team Coach

The MIT Women's Gymnastic Team has had an extremely full schedule of competition this semester, with three dual meets over the past two and one-half weeks. Meets were held at Brown University, Ithaca College, and Bridgeport University. MIT travelled to Brown on Jan 29 to compete in a tri-meet against the Division I women's team from Brown and frequent Division III rival team, Rhode Island College.

Brown won the meet with a team total of 171.3. The MIT women took second place with a 152.90 over Rhode Island College's total of 129.95. The MIT team then travelled to Ithaca, N.Y. on Feb. 1 to compete against Ithaca, one of Division III's strongest gymnastics teams. MIT had their hightest team score since December but still lost to Ithaca, 173.75 - 156.05.

On Saturday, Feb. 8th, the MIT women took to the road once again to compete against Bridgeport, a Division II power that gave MIT the hardest competition they will see all season. Bridgeport won the contest, scoring 182.00 to MIT's 154.15. Though the MIT women did not win the overall titles in each of the meets, the strength of MIT's individual competitors was evident.

The tri-meet at Brown University was a perfect showcase for the individual talent on the MIT team. MIT began the competition on the uneven bars where all five competitors had strong routines. Gretchen Martin `92 completed her full routine, including a free-straddle over mount directly connected into a cut-catch and free straddle-back over the low bar for a 6.6 while Karen Oda '93 performed a perfectly executed half-twisting mount airborne over the low bar for a score of 6.3. Julie Lyren '93, while still having a few problems with a handstand-half twist on the high bar, landed a half-twisting somersaulted dismount for a 7.75.

Co-Captains Kortney Leabourne `92 and Lisa Arel `92 finished off the event with consistent routines including a backward somersault from high bar to low bar for Leabourne and a full-twisting somersault dismount for Arel earning them scores of 7.85 and 8.40. Arel's score earned her third place on the event for the evening.

Vaulting was consistent with Sandra Tan `92, Martin, and Oda all completing front-handspring vaults for respective scores of 6.3, 7.05, and 7.05. Leabourne's handspring with a full-twist was landed with a few extra taken and earned a 7.70 while Lyren and Arel each earned 8.5's for their twisting vaults. Arel and Lyren both tied for third place on the vaulting event.

Arel was the shining star of the MIT beam team and performed her routine as beam routines should always be -- with style, power, and confidence. Her round-off, standing back tuck, and two incredibly flexible straddle jumps combined to earn a score of 9.0, a new record for MIT on the event, a personal best score for Arel, and the second highest score on the event for the evening.

Leabourne's and Lyren's all-arounds scores of 31.15 and 32.8 earned them 4th and fifth places overall in the meet while Arel's 34.8 earned second.

The meet at Ithaca college began on vaulting where MIT had a solid beginning. Tan, Martin, and Oda all improved their vaults from the last meet and earned scores of 6.6, 7.4, and 7.55 while Leabourne had one of her best days on vaulting of the year and earned an 8.2. Lyren and Arel finished up for MIT with scores of 8.3 and 8.65 with Arel taking second place overall on the event.

The emerging strength of the MIT beam team is without a doubt Chen, whose determination and aggressive style showcased a georgous routine including leaps, straddle jumps, and cartwheels and earned a season's high score of 7.75.