NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale gymnastics team made history during their performance at Bridgeport, and now this record-breaking team hits the peak of their season Saturday, as they travel to Penn to compete at the ECAC Championships. Competitors include the host school, Brown, Cornell, Temple, Yale and William & Mary. The Bulldogs have rewritten the record books this season, entering into this competition with great confidence, without a doubt in contention for the team title.
"Our success is due to the positivity and close bonds we have created throughout the year. Going into ECACs, I hope we will continue to focus on enjoying ourselves and giving our best for that day. Whether or not we win, I am so proud of each member of this team and everything that we have overcome throughout preseason and season," said senior captain Allison Bushman.
Brown gymnastics is coming off of a third-place finish with a 192.600 in a quad meet at Bridgeport with Yale and Centenary on Saturday at the Wheeler Recreation Center. In one of the strongest fields it will see all year, the Cornell gymnastics team placed fourth among five teams at the Towson Invitational on Sunday afternoon. The Big Red's team score of 193.500 was its third-highest of the season. Penn gymnastics fell to William and Mary in Williamsburg on Friday night, closing out the regular season with a score of 191.975. Temple gymnastics closed out the regular season posting a 195.075 at Kent State's Tri-Meet, placing third. William & Mary gymnastics team concluded its regular season slate with a fifth-place finish at a five-team meet hosted by Towson on Sunday afternoon. West Virginia claimed the team title with a 196.775 and was followed by No. 23 NC State (196.550), Towson (196.400), Cornell (193.475) and W&M (192.825).
The Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) rankings heading into the competition this weekend include:
1. Temple (195.015)
2. Yale (194.240)
3. William & Mary (193.385)
4. Cornell (193.155)
5. Brown (192.900)
6. Pennsylvania (192.885)
Overall, in the NCAA rankings, Brown is ranked 61st, Cornell (59th), Penn (62nd), Temple (45th), William & Mary (58th) and Yale (55th). Not only has Yale never been ranked this high in the NCAA, Yale's team score at Bridgeport marks the sixth-highest in program history, increasing Yale's regional qualifying score to above a 194 for the first time in history.
"I feel the team is ready for the conference competition. They have worked hard and I know their attitude and perseverance will be rewarded," said head coach Barbara Tonry.
In 2017, the Bulldogs posted a team score of 194.600, resulting in Yale's first-ever ECAC Championship team title. The Bulldogs edged out the host school, Brown (194.125) and the 2016 champion, Cornell (194.450). Yale earned a team score of 48.800 on the uneven bars, placing them seventh in the school history books. ECAC recognized Jade Buford by awarding her the Rookie of the Year award following completion of competition. Head coach Barbara Tonry was honored with the ECAC Coach of the Year award, for leading the 2017 team to one of the most successful seasons in school history.
ECAC Honors and Awards will be given at the conclusion of competition: Rookie of the Year, Gymnast of the Year, Specialist of the Year and Coach of the Year. Multiple Yale gymnasts are in contention for those annual awards. First-year Jacey Baldovino is in the running for Rookie of the Year, while sophomore Jade Buford is in contention for Gymnast of the Year. Junior Jessica Wang has a chance for Specialist of the Year on uneven bars. Additionally, the ECAC all-academic team will be announced.
Yale gymnastics has broken 32 program records this 2018 season, individually and as a team combined. This is the most records a team has ever broken in one season. They look forward to what is in store for post-season competitions.
"In my first season, I couldn't be more proud of the work YGT 46 has done, and the progress we have made since January. We have worked hard to continue to fine tune the details, and I'm looking forward to see it all come together," said assistant coach James Williams.
Yale's rotation schedule for the competition will be:
Rotation 1 – Bye
Rotation 2 – Floor
Rotation 3 – Vault
Rotation 4 – Bye
Rotation 5 – Bars
Rotation 6 – Beam
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report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity