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Men’s Gymnastics Falls to Rival Vermont

By David Hu

TEAM MEMBER

Last Saturday, the MIT men’s gymnastics team lost to their old adversary the University of Vermont (UVM) 147.95 to 163.05. However, team captain Damian M. Engen ’03 took first place in the all-around competition.

MIT began the meet on pommel horse, which for years has been their toughest event, both in scoring and difficulty. Since the meet started earlier than anticipated, the team was not able to warm up for the event.

Still, Reuben M. Sterling ’03 performed a Stockli, a spin from the pommels to the leather, and, on high bar, a blind change. Engen included a double walk-around on pommel horse, in which he circled his entire body around two complete turns. David L. Hu G mounted his pommel horse routing with a Thomas Moore, a 180 degree turn on a single pommel.

The Engineers started out with three hit routines, had a few falls, but then quickly dusted themselves off for the next event, floor exercise. The floor at UVM was stiffer than expected, which provided greater power and height in tumbling, but greater difficulty in sticking landings.

The result was falls by several members of the team on their first pass. Patrick R. Griffin ’04 demonstrated a high double back salto on floor exercise which had so much power he was not quite able to land it. However, each member of the team was able to compensate to the new floor by their next passes, as shown by their flawless landings.

Oliver Delacruz ’05 competed for the first time, representing MIT on the floor exercise where his break dancing skills helped him perform near flawless flairs.

Engen tops on parallel bars, rings

MIT performed strongly on still rings, vault, and parallel bars. Engen scored the highest for both teams on parallel bars and still rings with an 8.0 and 8.1, respectively. These scores helped him take first all-around by a two-point margin.

David Yin ’03 dismounted on parallel bars with a back salto for the first time. Yin and Hu fell on their front handspring vaults, partially due to warming up their vaults on a thicker mat. On high bar, Engen fell on his release move, but still decided to perform the entire skill again for the judges, this time successfully.

If the team can land some new skills and polish the rest of their routines, they should be able to compete with UVM for a qualifying spot in nationals.

“The result of transforming our routines will be a much higher level of difficulty and much more elegant gymnastics,” said Coach Noah Riskin.

In the next few weeks, the team faces their most important competitions, which will decide their qualification for nationals.