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Men's Gymnastics Ends Season with Strong Win

By Raymond Szeto
team member

The men's gymnastics team finished their regular season Saturday against the University of Vermont with a strong win. The meet closed the team's regular season record at 82.

This year's practices and competitions started off to a very shaky start. In September, when the team returned, practice started with much of the team injured, including all-arounders Rob Cooper '97 and Rob Spina '99. Both cases were serious enough to require surgery and put them out of serious competition for most of the year.

Even Coach Molesso got injured at the beginning of last semester when he tore his bicep spotting a gymnast practicing dismounts. With the coach and two of four all-arounders on the team injured, it is surprising the team has been able to perform as well as it has this season.

Saturday's meet started with the floor exercises. The Engineers gave their strongest floor this season, as every gymnast's performance was very clean. The supportive MIT audience gave enthusiastic cheers as each gymnast successfully executed a pass on the floor.

All the competing gymnasts gave above 7.0 performances, including an 8.05 from J. C. Olsson '00. The Engineers finished the event with 31.40, a 0.35 lead over Vermont's 31.05.

The second event was the pommel horse. Most of the gymnasts were able to execute their routines without any major deductions. The highest pommel score of the day was by Olsson, helping the Engineers secure their lead over Vermont by more two points, with a 59.75 compared to Vermont's 57.30.

The Engineers lost 0.05 of their lead on the still rings. Despite the clean routines of co-captain Cooper, Jason Miller '99, and Andy Lobban '97, Vermont's consistent scores on the event made a comeback very plausible. Lobban's 8.5, his highest for the event, cushioned MIT's lead.

The next two events - the vault and the parallel bars - further secured the Engineers' lead over Vermont. With an all-time team total record of 32.75 on the parallel bars, the team increased their lead to 5.00 points and put them in a very good position to win the meet.

Olsson's clean parallel bar performance moved just behind Lobban and Jason Miller '99. Olsson also finished a strong vault with an 8.85.

The final event of the exhausting two-hour meet was the high bar. The Engineers just had to keep their final event clean of major faults to take home an 82 record, instead of a 73 one. Lobban, the final athlete to compete, set a new MIT record on the event by beating his old record with an 8.6.

Like the parallel bars, the team pulled together and set another team event record of 30.15. This more than secured them a victory. The final score for the meet was 184.00 to 176.50.

This outstanding final victory was a nice ending to an obstacle filled season. New gymnastic rules were implemented this year which made the scoring much more difficult than in the past. In addition the team started off with many early injuries. Despite these odds, the men's team still managed to give a very good performance.

The meet marks the end of the team's regular season, and leaves it with two postseason competitions, the New England Championships and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.

After the postseason, the team will be losing three very vital members because of graduation that have helped bring the team to where it is today. They are team co-captain Cooper, the MIT record holder for the MIT all-around, team co-captain Lobban, the MIT record holder for the high bar and parallel bars, and team member Van C. Van '97, all integral members of the team.