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Men's Gymnastics Sets Team Record

By David Golombek
Team Member

In their final dual home meet of the season, the Men's Gymnastic Team set new records in five categories and came close to beating Division 1-ranked University of Vermont. With an overall score of 180.5 to UVM's 182.55, MIT broke an eight-year-old team record and topped its season high by more than 7 points. With two more meets against UVM to go, MIT still has a strong chance to beat its adversary later this season.

Leading the MIT team, Rob Cooper '97 set a new all-around school record with an impressive 48.35 points, and Chris Ellefson '95 had a personal best all-around score of 47.00. The performances helped set team records on rings, high bar, and parallel bars.

Floor exercise, usually a weaker event for the MIT team, went very well and got the meet off to an excellent beginning. David Golombek '98, Van Van '97, and Art Shectman '95 all completed clean routines to help get the event started. Ellefson and Cooper finished off the round, both making impromptu changes to their routines that helped them earn an 8.05 and 8.95 respectively. UVM led by only a slim margin after this first event, 33.35 to 30.95.

Pommel horse, next in Olympic order, similarly went well for MIT. Andy McCraith '98 started off the event with a well-executed routine. Van, Ellefson, Andy Lobban '97, and Cooper followed, all posting excellent individual scores. MIT pulled closer to UVM with these scores, but still trailed by a point-and-a-half.

Brian Clarkson '97 and Geof Phillipe '95 led off the rings competition. Both performed very strong routines. The top four scores, contributed by Lobban, Cooper, Scott Lazerwith '95, and Ellefson, summed to 33.8, braking the four-man rings record and also placing MIT ahead of UVM.

Vault continued MIT's streak of good performances, with Shectman, Phillippe, Golombek, McCraith, and Ellefson all throwing handsprings for good scores. Cooper finished off the event with a perfectly landed front handspring. While MIT remained in the lead through this event, UVM managed to catch up a bit.

Golombek and Van had led the parallel bars team, followed by Lazerwith, Cooper, Lobban, and Ellefson, who collectively set yet another team record. Despite the continued high scores, however, UVM was able to jump back into the lead by a one point margin.

MIT was unable to overcome this gap in the final event, high bar, despite a final record-setting attempt. Van, Shectman, Ellefson, Cooper, and Lobban all swung very cleanly in this attempt to even up the scores. Still, UVM managed to extend it's lead slightly, ending with a final score 1.95 points above that of MIT.

This Saturday, MIT will be hosting the final regular season competition of the year, the New Englands, which features highly ranked teams such as the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and Springfield College. The meet will begin at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Du Pont Gymnasium.