Men Garner Second Victory of SeasonBy David Hu
Last Sunday, the MIT men’s gymnastics team beat the University of Vermont (UVM), recovering a long-missed part of their sport: winning.
The team now seems to be on a winning streak after a dry spell of three years.
MIT trailed the Catamounts slightly in four out of six events. However, the Beavers trounced the Catamounts in parallel bars and high bar, scoring several points higher than UVM on each event. By the end of the meet, MIT had a substantial lead of 160.1 over UVM’s 157.6.
A UVM mom even called the MIT men “a real pleasure to watch.” While Coach Noah Riskin tried to “tell her she was confused,” she promised to travel the four hours to MIT on February 24 to “root for both [MIT and UVM].”
Last year’s MVP, Damian Engen ’03, scored an 8.25 on the floor exercise, the highest score in the meet, and went on to get first place in the all-around. Patrick Griffin ’04 managed to get second in the all-around despite forgetting his grips. Griffin also attempted a triple back salto off of rings but landed a little short. Mammy G. Sterling ’00 successfully competed the flaired pirouettes he has been working on for high bar.
Unfortunately, all-arounder David Yin was not able to compete due to illness.
The team also suffered a serious setback when James T. Tanabe tore five out of six ligaments in his knee when dismounting from the high bar, abruptly ending his athletic career.
Earlier, Tanabe had entertained his teammates with his new “dynamic cross,” in which he performed the famous iron cross as quickly as he could. Unfortunately the skill earned no points for the team.
Next Saturday, February 24, at 2 p.m. in Du Pont, MIT will clash with UVM for the last time. Co-Captain Luke Massery ’02 is strongly advertising this meet as “the only home meet where spectators are welcome.” This meet will be most crucial to MIT, as winning means that MIT will qualify for the NCAA Gymnastics national competition for the first time ever.
These next two weeks will be an endurance test for the MIT team. They will need to imitate the past meets, remembering that gymnastics is an art, requiring “support of one another, a level of concentration, and attention to detail,” said Riskin. The team must learn new skills and control to continue its improvement. Most importantly, the team must cultivate the maturity to cope with winning that it will again need to succeed.