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MIT Gymnasts Hit Season High

By Damian Engen

TEAM MEMBER

This past Sunday, the men’s gymnastics team had a strong meet to earn their best team score of the year, but the team still lost to Springfield College and UMass.

MIT’s score of 160.65 was the team’s best all season, despite competing without freshman star Oliver Delacruz ’05 and David L. Hu G. UMass won the meet with a score of 210.60, topping Springfield’s 201.85.

All four MIT competitors ended up in the top eight all-around at the meet, the first time this has ever happened when competing against Division I and II teams. David Yin ’03 managed to break the 31 point ceiling which had been holding him down. Captain Damian M. Engen ’03 scored 48.85, the second highest all-around score by an MIT gymnast ever.

MIT competes with thin lineup

In men’s gymnastics, the top four scores per event count toward the total team score. Since there were only four gymnasts for MIT, every score was going to count and there was no room for error. Fortunately for the Engineers, Yin started the team off on rings with a near-perfect routine. Reuben M. Sterling ’03 and Patrick R. Griffin ’04 followed with equally solid performances. Engen rounded out rings by landing his newly acquired full-twisting double-back dismount.

On the floor exercises, Yin managed to land his full-twisting front pike and cleaned up his transitions to earn a respectable 6.3. Griffin competed one of the highest double-backs at the meet but landed short.

Sterling leads on pommel horse

Pommel horse was probably the most phenomenal event of the day for the Engineers, with Sterling setting the tone. He managed to compete circles into flairs, back into circles, and then directly into a stockli dismount without even breaking a sweat. Griffin followed with another hit routine which included a buck-eye and a full-twisting scissor.

Running off of the momentum created by the team, Engen hit his double walk-around, the most difficult move of his routine. Griffin and Engen scored 7.95 and 8.1, respectively, putting them in eighth and fifth, respectively, on MIT’s top ten.

Engineers finish meet strong

The team, inspired by their incredible performance on pommel horse, managed to land four great vaults, including a stuck front-handspring by Sterling and a piked tskukahara by Griffin.

The highlights on high bar were, without a doubt, Yin’s giants and Griffin’s gienger. It was Yin’s first time competing giants -- a skill that every Olympian includes in his high bar routine -- and this helped him score a 4.55 even with an intentional fall. Griffin caught his gienger, a back flip with a half twist, with ease despite not having competed it in over two years.

Parallel bars was the last event, and although tired, the team managed to throw great routines. To the astonishment of the judges, Engen finished off the meet with a skillfully executed double-pike dismount.

While the Engineers ended the meet many points behind their Division I and II competitors, they left the with high hopes for the rest of the season. Since the beginning of the season, the team score has risen from 125 to 160.