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Lyren Wins 2 All-American Titles

By Catherine Rocchio
Team Coach

Women's varsity gymnastics team Captain Julie Lyren '93 and Janet Sollod '96 both competed last weekend at the Division III National Gymnastics Championships held at the University of Wisconsin. Lyren took home two All-American titles as she placed fourth overall in the meet with a score of 35.0 points and placed fifth on the Balance Beam with a 9.05 average score. Sollod had an excellent showing in her first national meet and placed 13th overall with a total of 33.25.

At the closing ceremonies of the meet, Lyren was named the Outstanding Senior Gymnast for 1993, an award voted on by the 16 Division III Coaches in attendance at the meet. Lyren's competitive gymnastic days are not necessarily over yet as she may have qualified into the Division II National Championships to be held at Springfield College in April.

Both Lyren and Sollod had rotations that started the meet on the floor exercise. Sollod had her best routine and highest score of the season as she scored an 8.9 for an energetic and graceful performance. Lyren too, had one of her best scores as she solidly landed a full-twisting back somersault in the layout position in her final tumbling run and scored a 9.2, just missing qualification for the floor exercise finals by only five hundredths of a point.

Vaulting was the next event. Competition on this event was fierce because judges were deducting for the slightest faltering on landings and breaks in form. Sollod performed two tightly twisted handspring full-twists and scored 8.3. Lyren had an extra large step on her half twist on -- one-and-a-half twist off vault, but still earned an 8.65 for the vault's height and distance.

Officiating on the uneven bars was a Breve level judge, fresh from judging the World Gymnastic Championships. As a result, bar scores throughout the meet were much lower than usually seen at a National Collegiate Championship. In spite of this critical audience, Sollod had the best routine of her season and solidly landed her one-and-a-half forward somersaulting dismount for a score of 7.9. Lyren nailed her Comaneci dismount (one-and-a-half backwards twisting), had a smooth routine with only one form break on the low bar and earned an 8.15.

Balance beam, the toughest event to stay focused on mentally, came at the end of the night for both gymnasts. Past 9 p.m., Sollod worked confidently through handstands, straddle jumps, and a difficult switch-leap combination, only to be the slightest edge off center on the landing of a back-handspring. Despite the fall, Sollod wrapped up the night with a solid score of 8.15. Lyren was as she has been all season -- solid as a rock on the balance beam with a tuck-jump to immediate back handspring, forwards, sidewards, and twisting leaps and jumps, and finally tumbling into a round-off back-somersault dismount. Her score of 9.05 qualified her for the event finals which were held the next afternoon.

Saturday's finals competition did not hold any disappointments for Lyren. Overcoming the unlucky draw of performing last, Lyren repeated the performance of the day before and signed off on a "no falls all season" career on the balance beam with another excellent routine and score of 9.05. Her combined score of 18.1 from both day's meets earned her the second All-American spot and fifth place overall nationally.