MIT Gymnastics Falls to SCSUBy Ken Nesmith and David Hu
In their first home meet of the year, the MIT Mens’ Gymnastics team lost to Southern Connecticut State University, scoring 144.35 to SCSU’s 184.00.
The team fared well after working throughout the fall to strengthen their routines, but ultimately they were unable to defeat the able Connecticut team. However, individuals Damian M. Engen ’03 and Patrick R. Griffin ’05 scored 43.8 and 38.85 all-around scores respectively, the third and fifth highest all-around scores for that day.
After a slightly shaky start on floor, the team moved to pommel horse, one of the most difficult events. It appeared that both teams allowed apprehension to hinder their best work on the horse, as the routines were marked by falls and errors uncharacteristic of the athletes. Nonetheless, competitors from both teams did manage to deliver visually stunning routines.
Engen performed well on the rings, after which the team moved to parallel bars, where they managed respectable performances but could nonetheless not match the impressive physical strength of the Connecticut team.
The team did not hold high hopes for the vaulting horse event, given that they practice the event only once in a week or two. They managed to perform a basic set of flips and layouts before moving on to the final event, the high bar.
On the high bar, team members drew on years of precollegiate gymnastics experience to present routines that, for perhaps the first time, appeared to match those of their competitors in difficulty and even to overcome them in form and grace. Team members agreed that it was a good way to end the meet.
Coach Joah Riskin was pleased with the progression of improvement throughout the meet, despite a few rough moments throughout the day.
“We should start he next meet the way we finished this one,” Riskin said. “We’ll have a strong season.”
The team faces several opponents on the road before facing rival University of Vermont at home on Feb. 9.