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Men's Gymnastics Breaks Team Record

By David Golombek
Team Member

Last weekend's Eastern College Athletic Conference Men's Gymnastics Championship saw the MIT men's team continuing to break team and personal records.

The meet showcased most of the best teams on the East Coast, including Temple University and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, ranked sixth and 14th respectively in last week's national standings.

While MIT did not come close to beating such powerhouses, it once again came close to beating Division I ranked University of Vermont. With nationals still to come this year, MIT has one more chance to beat this close rival.

The Engineers brought the team score up to a new record. Now at 181.50 points, this team record is up over 10 points from the first meet of the season. And though only the top four scores count for every event, MIT would have set a record for a five-man team with 215.7, as scores were recorded in previous years. Rob Cooper '97 had a strong meet, once again coming close to breaking the Institute individual record.

MIT started off the meet in its strongest event, the still rings. Geoff Phillipe '95 started off the round, performing his best routine of the season, as did Andrew Lobban '97 who followed him. The two scored a 7.45 and 8.4 respectively. They were followed by Rob Cooper and Scott Lazerwith '95. Chris Ellefson '95 finished off the event with an excellent routine, scoring a 9.0 to tie his personal best in the event.

Pommel Horse, next on the rotation, also went well for the team. Andy McCraith '98 and Van Van '97 started off the event with good routines. Ellefson, Lobban, and Cooper followed, all posting excellent individual scores. MIT's strong showing in these first two events put them over a point ahead of Vermont at this point in the meet.

David Golombek '98 started off floor exercise for the team, followed by Van, Art Shectman '95, and Ellefson. All four threw clean routines to help get the event started.

Cooper finished off the round, setting a personal best with his 9.0 scoring routine. Unfortunately, UVM regained the lead slightly by this mid-point of the meet and held on to it till the end.

Golombek and Van led the parallel bars team, followed by Lazerwith who scored a personal best of 7.50. Cooper, Lobban, and Ellefson finished off the event in good form.

High bar followed, with Van, Shectman, Ellefson, Cooper, and Lobban all swinging very clean routines. Cooper set a personal best of 7.9 on the event.

MIT finished meet on a high note on the vault, with Shectman, Phillippe and Golombek all throwing handsprings for good scores. McCraith and Ellefson also threw excellent handsprings, scoring 8.4 and 8.45 respectively, approaching perfect scores for that trick. Cooper finished off the event with a handspring front, scoring a 8.55.

This was the final regular season meet of the year for the men's gymnastics team, but still to come are nationals in Texas. The championships will be held after spring break.