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Women's Gymnastics Falls Short of Defeating Brown

Rich Domonkos--The Tech
Michelle Miles '98 shows her reverse planche move. Miles competed with the women's gymnastics team on Saturday and on Wednesday.

By Catherine Garrett
Team Coach

Another close meet for the MIT Women's Gymnastics Team unfolded before a packed DuPont Gymnasium Saturday evening as Brown University edged out the home team by a score of 168.8 points to 167.15.

With the loss of Allison Christenson '98 for a few weeks because of a knee injury, the team struggled to make up the difference by hitting every routine. On the vault, the team accomplished its goals, as Erica Carmel '96 and Sandy Dow '96 stuck handspring vaults for scores of 7.35 and 7.55 and Valentina Sequi '97 and Michelle Miles '98 completed their half-twist-on, full-twist-off vaults for scores of 7.8 and 8.4.

Team captain Janet Sollod '96 landed a handspring full-twist to take second place overall in the meet with an 8.7, and Sheila Rocchio '97 earned an 8.9 and first place on the event for her one-and-a-half forward somersaulting feat.

The team showed some of its best performances of the season on the uneven bars. Dow and Carmel swung cleanly without a miss, and Sollod stood up her front somersaulting dismount for a score of 7.65. Rocchio also nailed her "toe-on-front" dismount for an 8.25, and Miles had her top score of the season with an 8.6. Chiarenza, despite having problems with her full-pirouette-handstand on the high bar, earned an 8.45 for an otherwise clean routine.

With no falls or breaks in routines preceding the balance beam event, the pressure was on the team to stick five solid routines, as the Engineers trailed the Bears by only .5 point going into the event. Unfortunately, Carmel, Sollod, Miles, and Chiarenza all suffered one fall each.

Melissa Kaye '95 put the team back on track by nailing her entire routine, including an aerial cartwheel and difficult jumps, for her top score of the season, 8.5.

Rocchio following by turning in another stellar performance on the event and earned first place overall on the beam with an 8.9.

However, the damage was done and Brown led the meet by almost two points.

With the outcome of the meet fairly evident going into the final event, the floor exercise, the MIT women were determined to claim a win at least on this event despite it being Brown's strongest area.

The tenacity of this team prevailed as the Engineers' performances by Carmel and Dow earned 7.25 and 8.3, while Kaye had another personal best performance of an 8.65.

Miles turned in an 8.85 while Rocchio stuck her double back and earned second place overall on the event with a 9.15.

Sollod had her career highest score of 9.2 as she completed a graceful, energetic, and precise routine to take first place overall on the event. The Engineers won the event by .05 but could not make up the deficit in the overall team score.

The team will travel to Ithaca College to compete in the Eastern Collegiate Gymnastics Championships this weekend. There, they hope to place among the top three teams as a pre-cursor to the National Championships that will be held in St. Paul, Minn. in March.