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Women's Gymnastics Loses Against UMass-Amherst

By Catherine Rocchio
Women's Gymnastics Coach

The MIT women's gymnastics team competed for the first time in MIT history against the UMass-Amherst, a nationally-ranked Division I team. Considering that the Engineers were missing the support of their top all-rounder Tasi Chiarenza '97 due to a hand injury, the team did well against such a formidable opponent. UMass-Amherst won the overall meet with a score of 187.6 points, to MIT's 152.425.

Vaulting went very well for the MIT team as Kim Cornwell '94 and Erica Carmel '96 stuck their handspring vaults for scores of 7.25 and 7.5, respectively. Competing for the first time in 1994 after returning from an extended home stay in Rome, Valentina Sequi '97 landed a beautiful half-twist on, half-twist off for a score of 7.75. Janet Sollod '96 stuck a gorgeous handspring full-twist and received an 8.5, while Sheila Rocchio '97 performed a handspring double front that she just missed landing, to end up with a score of 8.65.

Despite the absence of Chiarenza's amazing uneven bars routine, the event went well. Co-captains Stephanie DeWeese '95 and Beth Chen '94 had their season's best performances for scores of 6.2 and 6.75, respectively, while Carmel had a few problems with her half-twisting mount yet finished up strongly for a score of 6.55. Sollod and Rocchio both faltered on landing their one-and-a-half somersault dismounts but received solid scores of 7.55 and 8.15, respectively.

The performance on the balance beam was the highlight for Chen, who missed a three-quarter twisting jump but landed everything else perfectly for a score of 7.45. Sollod and Rocchio both turned in amazing no-fall routines, with Rocchio landing her backhandspring back-layout solidly, for scores of 8.45 and 8.675, respectively.

The floor exercise was MIT's best showing of the evening, as Cornwell danced her way energetically to a 7.35, and Carmel had her season's best routine with high tumbling for a 7.7. DeWeese combined excellent poise with grace and power for a score of 8.25, while Sollod showed off her layout full-twist and flexibility for a score of 8.7. Rocchio over-rotated her double back in her first tumbling run but finished up radiantly for a score of 8.85.

Sollod's and Rocchio's all-around scores of 33.3 and 34.325, respectively, put them in an excellent position, along with teammate Chiarenza, to qualify for the Division III National Championships in March. In the meantime, MIT will host Brown University tomorrow in Du Pont Gymnasium at 1:00 p.m.