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Lyren Breaks Two MIT Records

By Catherine Rocchio
Team Coach

Julie Lyren '93 broke two MIT records at the first home meet of the women's gymnastics team's 1993 competitive season, against Division I Yale University. Lyren, the team's captain, set an all-around score record of 36.1, breaking the previous mark of 35.65, set last year by Lisa Arel '92. Lyren also set a record in the balance beam event.

Though Yale won the meet with a score of 176.1 to MIT's 154.95, the match-up was an excellent showcase for the individual talents of MIT's gymnasts.

The meet began on the vault, where Kim Cornwell '94, Gwen Gray '93, Karen Oda '93, and newcomer Melissa Kaye '95 all performed front handspring vaults.

Janet Sollod '96 earned an 8.2 for her home meet debut vault, a handspring 1/1 twist, while team captain Julie Lyren unveiled her new vault for the first time this year. A 1/2 on, 1 1/2 twist off earned her an impressive score of 8.85 and third place overall in the event.

Uneven bars brought some new team members to the competitive arena at MIT as Jean Wong '93 and Erica Carmel '96 competed in their first meet at DuPont Gymnasium. Their routines, as well as Kaye's, included an impressive straddle back release move that provided a solid beginning for the rest of the MIT bar squad.

Oda was next, completing her routine for a consistent score of 7.55. Sollod followed with a score of 7.95 after performing an impressive 1 1/2 front somersaulting dismount. Lyren brought the home crowd to its feet by landing her Comaneci 1/2 twist back somersaulting dismount for a score of 8.7, giving her second place overall on the event.

The challenges of the balance beam proved to be an excellent showcase of the strengths of the MIT team. Carmel stuck her back walkover and cartwheel back somersault dismount. Oda nailed a back handspring and chalked up a "no falls" routine for her collegiate personal best score of 7.45. Beth Chen '94 followed with yet another "no falls" performance of solid leaps and difficult jumps for a 7.6.

Kaye debuted her beam routine with some of the most difficult beam acrobatics of the competition. She stuck a cartwheel back handspring series and an aerial (no hands) cartwheel. Despite a slip before her full-twisting dismount, she scored an 8.45 for the event. Sollod had a few problems with her twisting jumps and leaps but stuck her two back handsprings for a score of 7.05.

The star of this event was Lyren, who broke the MIT balance beam record of 9.1 with her routine of powerful leaps, back handsprings, a somersaulting dismount, and a score of 9.2.

The final event of the afternoon, the floor exercise, proved to be the best overall event for the MIT women. Cornwell, Gray, and Stephanie DeWeese '95 all worked through brand new routines for respective scores of 6.35, 7.15, and 7.2, while Oda again earned a personal best score of 7.85 for her fluid performance.

Sollod's full-twisting first tumbling pass and graceful dance scored an impressive 8.6, while Lyren confidently finished off the afternoon with a personal best score of 9.35 for a dynamic and enthusiastic exercise.

Overall, Oda and Sollod both had their collegiate personal best all-around scores. Oda tallied a 30.45 and Sollod a 31.80.

The women's final home meet is on Saturday, Jan. 23, when they will host Division III rival Rhode Island College in DuPont Gymnasium at 1 p.m.