February 10, 2007

Gymnasts Win by Large Margin

Feb. 10, 2007

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs had their best performance yet this year on Saturday afternoon as Yale easily topped Southern Connecticut State University, 189.775 to 180.7. Led by Alina Liao's 38.475 all-around score, Yale ended the first rotation with a three point lead and never looked back.

Laura Lombardi opened on vault with a 9.225. It was the beginning of a stretch of solid landings, including Jessica Tai's unusual full twist on, 1 ½ twist off, which scored her a 9.425. Miki Seltzer, who has already been ECAC Co-Specialist of the Week twice this season, ended the line-up with an extra twist on her vault. Her score of 9.6 placed first, while sophomores Lauren Tatsuno (9.55) and Alina Liao (9.45) placed second and third, respectively.

Yale moved to the uneven bars, an event that has been giving them trouble for some time. However, Cynthia Leung (9.15) and Brigitte Kivisto (9.35) stepped up and hit their routines. Suchitra Paul added a beautiful routine that included an impressively high release move. Liao anchored the event, swinging naturally and gracefully to a 9.575, winning the event. Kivisto placed second.

"We showed a big improvement on bars today, which is pretty noteworthy," said team captain Sarah Peterson, who did not compete due to an injury.

On beam, Kristen Campbell competed her first routine of the season, scoring a 9.425. Freshman Allison Mak (8.9) wowed the crowd with her repertoire of skills that aren't seen very often. Beam was another sweep for Yale, with Liao's (9.775) win, Tatsuno's 9.625 second place finish, and Lombardi (9.55) receiving third.

Tai came out on the floor and coaxed a 9.6 out of the judges with her sharp routine and tight twisting. Tatsuno, Kivisto, and Paul encouraged the audience, each flipping high and sticking their tumbling passes solidly. Liao continued to impress the fans with her series of passes containing more than one salto. Seltzer ended the meet with her characteristic powerful tumbling and high score of the meet: 9.8. Liao and Kivisto placed second and third, respectively.

"I'm very impressed with the way the kids handled themselves today. They looked classy and they're a delight to work with," said Head Coach Barbara Tonry.

Peterson added, "We've got the skills now. It's just a matter of doing them over and over. We seem to be on our way to peak at Ivies."

The Ivy Classic takes place in two weeks. Next Saturday, the Bulldogs are at home again, facing the University of Rhode Island. Competition starts at 1 pm in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Report filed by Cathy Jan '09, Yale Sports Publicity

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