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Engineers Fall to Fifth Ranked Springfield in Final Home Meet

By Eduardo Ovalle

TEAM COACH

It was Senior Night at Du Pont Gymnasium as the host Engineers welcomed the Springfield College Pride.

A rowdy crowd of about 300 people gathered with signs and cheers in support of the MIT seniors who competed in their last meet at MIT. Unfortunately MIT lost to fifth-ranked Springfield College, 180.325-163.15.

Seniors Sonja J. Ellefson ’01, Elizabeth A. Ellingson ’01 and Karla E. Maguire ’01 were recognized by head coach Eduardo Ovalle for their contributions to the team and program. It was evident from the coach’s comments that the three will be sorely missed.

As is tradition at MIT, the seniors would have the privilege of competing last on their events. Vault was a good start for the Engineers as all six competitors vaulted better than they had at the previous home meets during the season.

High scores for Carrie Garceau ’03 (8.7) and Ellefson (9.3) highlighted the event as the team posted a 42.8 team total. Cindy Chung ’04 sat out the meet because of an injury.

Springfield showed why they are currently ranked fifth in the country as they swung solid bar routines totaling 43.8, highlighted by senior Shanna Larocque’s 9.25.

MIT would have to compete with only five bar routines as Deborah J. Dryer ’03 sat out because of a re-injury to her knee during the previous meet. Although the five competitors swung bars very well, the event was highlighted by the seniors. Ellefson racked up a 9.5 with her high flying release moves and dismount while Maguire scored a personal best 8.35 as the anchor in the line-up.

In the meantime, the Pride was putting together a 44.10 vault set led by Gina Gutierrez’s meet high 9.375 for her clean layout tsuk. At the halfway mark, Springfield led 87.90 to 82.75

MIT visited beam next and Springfield moved to floor. Springfield has two of the top three floor performers in the conference with Larocque and Gina Gutierrez. Larocque and Gutierrez displayed why they are ranked number one and three respectively as they helped their team to a 46.125 total on the event.

Caitlin P. Dwyer-McNally ’03, highly regarded as the hardest worker in MIT’s gym, led beam off with a solid routine for an 8.45. Garceau followed, competing her gainer layout salto for the first time at home. Amy M. Shui ’02 was rock solid for a 9.1 and she was followed by Maguire, who competed on beam for the first time all season. Ellefson missed one of her feet in her back handspring-layout combination and had to settle for a 9.05 with a fall. To wrap things up, Ellingson hit a clean routine for an 8.85 and a 44.05 team total.

Springfield moved to beam where they absolutely nailed their routines and racked up a 46.30 team total. The nation’s current leader on beam, Larocque received a 9.7 for her routine.

On floor, MIT would have to compete with only four routines. Nevertheless, the crowd was cheering and the gymnasts were excited. Shui led off with a clean 8.8 and was followed by Cecile E. LeCocq ’02 who garnered a 9.1. Garceau danced her way to a 9.0 and a solid 34.80 score in the all-around.

The stage was set for Ellefson’s last performance at MIT. The ‘SONY’ signs were out in full force in the stands, and helped by the cheers, Ellefson performed her double-back somersault better than she had all year. Her dance was strong and she finished with a 9.45 score from the judges. Her all-around score of 37.30 was the second highest of the season, and tops in the meet.

MIT will wrap up the season at the ECAC Championships held at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. on March 10th at 1:00 pm. Due to the injuries, the team score will suffer, but there is a great opportunity for individuals placing on all events at this meet.