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Injured, Ill Women’s Gymnastics Team Places Last

By Travis Johnson


MIT Women’s Gymnastics struggled against illness and injury to a last place finish in a quad meet Saturday.

Head Coach Jennifer Miller-McEachern wasn’t at all disappointed after- wards. “I am so proud of how this team has come together and focused on being a unit. It is the key to the success they keep having despite the obstacles of injuries and illness,” she said.

With regular contributors Francesca D. DeMeo ‘06 out of town and Sarah N. Trowbridge ‘08 only able to compete in one of the four events, the Engineers still registered a respectable 181.6, with an average score of 9.08.

The Engineers started on the beam, which is always challenging but particularly tough without a few events to warm up. Jennifer E. Sauchuk ‘06 was unfazed and turned in a meet best 9.6.

The rest of the team wasn’t quite as successful, as four out of six gymnasts fell off at least once. As Assistant Coach Eduardo Ovalle said, “We still need to do more work to get comfortable with beam as a first event. We are a very capable team on beam, but not having Francesca and Sarah this meet was a big loss.”

MIT moved on to the floor exercise with a running score of 45.15, as compared to then-leader SUNY-Rockport, who had 47.4. With four of the five team members above a 9.0, the Engineers moved up to third place in the meet, bucking for second with Ithaca College.

Next was the vault, an event that MIT has been a bit inconsistent with all season. A major highlight of the event was when Chandler E. Hatton ‘06 stuck the landing on a very difficult and elegant vault, good for 9.375 and a big reaction from both the crowd and her teammates.

Four out of five team members had excellent vaults, which netted the third highest score on the vault for the team all season. Unfortunately for MIT Lara L Hershcovitch ‘07, who isn’t a regular on the vault, completed a relatively simple jump that was only good for an 8.15 and put MIT in last place for good.

Finally, the Engineers went to the bars, where Merrit S. Tam ‘05 earned a 9.375 when she “did a Higgins roll to a Jaeger (which is a front flip, re-grasp the bar) followed by a Pak Salto (which is a flip from high bar to low bar),” as described by Ovalle.

Tam was honored before the meet along with fellow senior Whitney E. Watson ‘05 by a train of appreciators including coaches, assistants, teammates, and members of the men’s team.

Some fans from opposing teams felt the tribute went on a bit long, to which Miller said, “I say that person hasn’t had the pleasure of working with Merritt Tam or Whitney Watson.”

The final tally for the afternoon was SUNY-Brockport 184.650, Ithaca 184.525, West Chester University 182.825, and MIT 181.6.