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Men’s Gymnastics Starts Anew

Teams Sets Sights on Earning Respect, Hopes Wins Will Follow

By John C. Olsson

The MIT men’s gymnastics team was narrowly defeated by Springfield College and Navy -- narrowly in terms of effort, that is. As far as the scoring went, the Engineers held a dead tie with their opposing forces throughout the entire warmup session, but began to slip behind once the actual judging commenced. Although this pattern has typified their prior competitive seasons, there are reasons to hope for change.

MIT was set back off the bat with the absence of Dave Hu ’01 due to an requisite CAT scan coincident with the meet. Although this partially affected the team by forcing them to compete with an incomplete roster, the debilitating effect was the missing motivation gained from watching Hu pertinaciously exhaust and injure himself during warmups.

A handful of remarkable performances out of the numerous, unrelenting attempts characterized MIT’s aptitude to balance luck with ability.

Rookie Damien Engen ’03 rocked the floor exercise with a routine including his newly-acquired ‘D’-valued double-front salto. Another fortunate happenstance was the pommel horse routine nailed by co-captain J.C. Olsson ’00. Olsson is currently tied for first place on MIT’s all time standings on the horse.

The vault event was one of MIT’s most consistent this Saturday. Luke Massery ’02 launched his career highest pike tsukahara for an 8.55. However, one insurmountable obstacle, as Massery’s vault and Olsson’s horse assuredly demonstrated, is that the judges deduct pitilessly for the 3-initial embroidery on the front of the team’s uniforms.

Tanabe overcame a surgery-pending shoulder injury, to throw a clean and commendable floor set scoring a 6.1.

Engineers savor small victories

Other triumphs of the Engineer’s newly-coined “suck less” campaign included an undaunted and aggressive high bar routine by Reuben “Benji” Sterling ’03 and a brute strength rings set by Rafael Vazquez ’01.

Also back in full force from years prior is the ex-high-school- wrestling duo of Max Fischer ’00 and John Tilly ’00. Determined to characterize all gymnastics events as nautilus equipment, Tilly edged out Fischer on the rings with about twenty “iron” crosses and a 6.05, while Fischer pulled out all the stops on a parallel bars routine that earned him a 7.3.

For the second meet of the seasons, things look quite good. The men most notably have gained the appearance of a real, honest-to-god gymnastics team (which may partially be due to the new team warm-ups). This year there is unbridled determination to win some respect for themselves, not as scientists or engineers, but as gymnasts.