MIT Gymnastics Club gymnasts won national medals and landed its place in U.S. gymnastics history at the 2014 National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) Nationals in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Almost 1,000 athletes across 76 collegiate gymnastics club programs and hundreds of fans packed the Chattanooga Convention Center April 2–5 for the largest NAIGC championships in the organization’s 25-year history.
The MIT women’s team hit routines in preliminaries, setting up Lindsay M. Sanneman ’14 to shine. Sanneman put her aerospace engineering degree to work in the All-Around Women’s Finals competition. Sanneman flipped two high-flying Yurchenko layout vaults in a row and performed her signature double-back tuck salto on floor exercise. While she had one fall on the uneven bars, she orbited back to near-flawless beam routine to bring home four medals, including second place on balance beam and floor exercise, fourth place on the vault, and fifth in the All-Around from a field of more than 470 competitors.
Six gymnasts on the MIT Men’s team got their first taste of national competition in the men’s preliminary session. There was never a silent moment as the dozens of college club teams competing shouted school battle cries, each one trying to drown out the others. But it was 2 MIT gymnasts, William L. White ’17 and Julia C. Sharpe ’09, who secured spots in Saturday afternoon’s Men’s All-Around Finals by taking second and third places on Thursday afternoon’s All-Around session, respectively. The Men’s All-Around combines all six event scores — floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.
In a historic moment for NAIGC and the U.S. gymnastics community, Sharpe became the first woman — presumably, ever in U.S. gymnastics history — to qualify and compete in a national Men’s All-Around Finals competition. Sharpe also won high bar in the preliminary session and placed tenth in the High Bar Finals competition where she received a standing ovation from a crowd of over 1,000 athletes and guests at Saturday evening’s awards banquet.