MIT's Julia C. Zimmerman '09 continued her stellar season by breaking her own Institute record in the all-around competition with an incredible score of 38.250 on Saturday afternoon in the duPont Gymnasium, helping the Engineers defeat Div. II West Chester University in the campaign's final home meet.
The Cardinal and Gray finished the afternoon with a score of 180.575, enough to top the Golden Rams (174.375), but not enough to overcome Div. III powerhouse SUNY-Brockport, which totaled 187.600 points.
With the split, Tech concluded the season with a dual-meet record of 3-14. Brockport finished out its regular season schedule at 15-7 following the win, while West Chester fell to 3-13 with the loss.
Zimmerman's winning all-around score of 38.250 was good enough to top the previous MIT mark of 38.175 that she had set herself a mere three weeks ago. The point-tally also propelled Zimmerman past two-time Div. III National Champion Sarah Bulka (38.150) of Brockport for the second time this season. Bulka's teammate, Lauren Gildemeyer, placed third with a score of 38.025.
The Engineers began on the vault, with Laura E. Kelly '09 setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon by performing a solid pike tsuk, (short for Tsukaharas, a kind of twisting vault), good for a 8.950. Sarah N. Trowbridge '08 (9.100), Katie M. Mingo '10 (9.150), and Sophia L. Harrison '08 (9.375) all followed with impressive performances, while Zimmerman was Tech's top scorer with a 9.600.
MIT then moved on to the uneven bars, where it broke the 45.000 point-barrier for the first time this season en route to a score of 45.150 — a full two points higher than the team's season average in the event. Alison M. Barnard '09 (8.550) and Ashley T. Tran '07 (8.525) put on strong showings to lead the Engineers off, while Trowbridge (9.050), Kelly (8.850), and Harrison (9.075) continued the squad's balanced performance. Zimmerman closed out the event for the Cardinal and Gray with a season-high score of 9.625, good enough for first-place.
MIT struggled uncharacteristically on the beam, as only Kelly (8.725) and Zimmerman (9.450) conquered the event without a fall.
Lara L. Hershcovitch '07 led off for the Engineers with a score of 8.700 on the floor exercise, which served as the final event of the afternoon. Zimmerman was impressive, notching a 9.575, while Harrison proved that she had finally returned to full capacity following a back injury with a 9.300.
Head Coach Jen Miller McEachern singled out her two graduating seniors, Hershcovitch and Tran, for specific praise following the final home meet of their collegiate careers.
"These two women were a breath of fresh air when they came to MIT four years ago," she said. "They have played a huge role in fostering the team spirit that exists on this team today. We experienced a small dose of reality in realizing that these two incredible captains won't be returning next year, and we thank them tremendously for their contributions."
The two captains' leadership will be essential for the Engineers next week, as they travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to participate in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships, hosted by Ithaca College on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. MIT hopes to secure a spot at nationals with a solid performance.