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Back-to-back Weekend Exhausts Gymnastics

By Eduardo Ovalle

By all accounts, this was the toughest weekend of the year for the women’s gymnastics team. Last Saturday, the team lost at duel meet a duel meet against University of Vermont at Montpielier. The next day after returning home from a eight hour round-trip drive, the team hopped in another van on Sunday to face the number one ranked Division-III team, Springfield where they again were defeated.

MIT drops meet to UVM

MIT lost the UVM meet 176 to 183.50, but posted it’s highest total of the season and nearly broke the team’s NCGA record.

First year student Lindsey Wolf started the meet off on bars for MIT on Saturday with a clean routine for a 7.25. The rest of the line-up followed with well swung bar routines capped off by Amy Shui’s ’02 8.75 and Sonja Ellefson’s ’01 9.55 which netted a team total of 41.55.

The momentum continued on the vault as the team nearly equaled its highest total of the year by posting a 44.45 aided by Wolf’s 9.075 handspring front tuck. At the half-way mark, MIT was trailing UVM, 86.00 to 89.85 points.

MIT moved to the floor routines where some shined and some struggled. Shinning brightest was junior Liz Ellingson’s ’01 9.5 effort along with Lindsey Wolf’s 9.3 and Amy Shui’s 9.05. Captain Stephanie Cheng ’00 had to sit out with a throat infection, and fellow senior Robin Chiu filled in admirably with a career best 8.55. The struggles came to sophomore Cecile LeCocq and junior Sonja Ellefson who each had to count a fall in their routine. Nevertheless the team managed a 45.65 total. In narrow plank beam event, the team posted it’s highest team total of the year led by Liz Ellingson’s 9.375 and Amy Shui’s 9.175 as the MIT beam squad is finally starting to find its rhythm.

MIT drops meet to Springfield

Sunday’s meet versus Springfield was a tale of two halves. MIT started slowly on the bars followed by vault. Captain Stephanie Cheng stayed home sick and freshman Caitlin Dwyer-McNally ’03 was rushed into the lineup to replace her on bars. The entire bars lineup struggled with their routines and netted a 40.425 total, while Springfield scored 45.3 on the vault.

On vault for MIT, the woes continued as the vaulters seemed to be in slow motion approach down the runway. This would mark MIT’s fourth back-to-back meet scenario in the past two years and each time, the team responded with a better meet the second day. MIT’s vault total was a 42.125 while Springfield once again performed up their par with a strong 45.85 effort.

Bad start turns around

The team seemed to reach deep inside for whatever energy they had left and put on a very strong floor performance led again by Ellingson (9.4), Wolf (9.0) and LeCocq (9.175).

On beam, Robin Chiu led off with her best routine of the year followed by first year students Caitlin Dwyer-McNally and Wolf who also put together great sets. Shui, Ellefson and Ellingson finished out the meet with clean beam routines rewarded with an 8.65, 9.5 and 9.3 respectively. In the meantime, Springfield displayed reasons why they will be at the top of the upcoming ECAC Championships at MIT on March 11th. Springfield won the meet 182.45 to 171.425 points

Obstacles for gymnasts

In addition to school work, there are more than a few nagging aches and pains in the gym holding back the Tech gymnasts. This season of injuries continues at MIT, as during the week of practice, the team lost junior Karla Maguire’s services to a dislocated toe due to an unforgiving encounter with the low bar. Maguire was not be able to participate in either meet, and is questionable for the final home meet against U-Mass on March 4th.

The last dual meet of the year will be this Saturday, March 4th when MIT hosts U-Mass. U-Mass has a former national team member on their squad in Katie Teft who is currently ranked third in the country on bars. It will be an exciting event to watch.