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Gymnastics Remains In Last, but by Less

By J.C. Olsson

The Engineers faced the formidable opponents of U-Mass and Southern Connecticut last Saturday. The showdown ended in victory -- MIT lost by less.

The better teams are indubitably feeling the pressure from MIT’s gain; a simple mathematical extrapolation promises that MIT will close the gap and finally defeat their U-Mass foes in 26 competitions, or slightly under 3 years.

The Engineers had a rough start to the competition, but pulled it together in the end. MIT spent a good part of their floor routines sitting on their behinds -- all except freshman Damian Engen, whose polished set earned him a respectable 8.1.

Pommel horse saw a good show from the injured stalwart David Hu, who broke the halfway mark with a 5.4. However, the Engineers weren't able to keep the momentum going until the vault event, on which Rafael Vazquez ’01 deftly sailed over the horse, literally inches from his crotch, to earn a 6.6. This was followed by Alex Raine G, who hit the best pike-through vault of the competition for a 6.95. These results put the sixth vaulting position into contention between Rafael and Josh Weaver ’04. It is questionable whether Josh’s most recent vaulting maneuver, a combination between a cannonball and the After Dark Flying Toasters module, will edge out Raf’s flying straddle.

After starting the season with three 6.0s from consecutive competitions, Max Fischer ’00 managed to break this streak by over half a point on a solid 6.65 ring set. Although John Tilly ’00 scored half a point lower, he earned it back in respect for putting his iron cross at the end of his routine. “The other gymnasts make it look too easy -- I prefer to make it look hard,” Tilly avowed.

Overall, a lack of stamina and tendency towards slovenliness limited the Engineer's ability to beat anybody. Halfway through the season, yet at the start of a havoc-wreaking term, the men’s gymnastics team has no choice but to shift gears and, as their motto goes, “suck less.”