Gymnasts Vying for Nationals Slot After Upsetting SUNY BrockportBy Caitlin P. Dwyer-McNally and Lindsey L. Wolf
The Women’s 2002-03 Gymnastics team has exhibited marked improvement over last year’s performance, partly due to a talented crop of freshmen. Newcomers Francesca E. Demeo, Chandler E. Hatton, and Jennifer E. Sauchuk bring a wealth of experience gained from their previous successes at the Junior Olympic level.
The squad got off to a strong start during IAP, opening the season with a team score of 173.45, compared to last year’s first meet score of 169.125. The team has shown even greater improvement over the course of the season. They have already shattered the team overall school record three times, most recently at SUNY Brockport on Feb. 15 (180.775). High scores on vault (9.35) and floor (9.65) came from Cindy Chung ’04, who earned first place on both events. Merritt S. Tam ’05 won beam (9.5) and the all-around (36.775).
But most impressive was the improvement displayed by the entire team on vault and beam, events that had been preventing the team from doing as well during previous competitions.
MIT vying for bid to Nationals
The SUNY Brockport meet was a strategic win for the Engineers as the race for the one remaining spot at the National Championships heats up. Only the top four teams from each conference automatically qualify for the National Championships in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on March 28-29. MIT is in good shape after upsetting SUNY (ranked fourth in Division III.) The Engineers are currently ranked fifth in the nation and have held the first place ranking on the floor exercise for the last three weeks.
There will certainly be a battle between four teams at this year’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Regional Championships. MIT, Brockport, Springfield and Rhode Island College all have deep, talented squads this year. One of these four teams will beat the others out for the fourth qualifying spot to the National Championships.
MIT’s next regular season meet will be their last. In a combined meet with the men on March 1, MIT will host a number of teams including Springfield, a team they have never beaten. This meet will provide MIT with one more chance to increase their Season Average Score, which counts for 40 percent towards qualifying to the National Championships. Their performance at the Regional Championships will account for the other 60 percent.