NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The NCAA announced the 2018 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships regional selections last Monday at 4 p.m. First-year Jacey Baldovino, sophomore Jade Buford and junior Jessica Wang were named to compete in the all-around, uneven bars and the balance beam in the University Park Regional (NorthEast), hosted by Pennsylvania State University at Rec Hall. Yale gymnastics has not had a gymnast qualify for NCAA Regionals since 2005. All regional competitions will be held Apr. 7.
The NCAA Regional Competition will feature team competitors from Arizona State, Florida, New Hampshire Penn State, Washington and West Virginia. All-around competitors will feature Bridgeport, Rutgers and Yale. Individual event specialists will feature Bridgeport, Penn, Rutgers, Temple and Yale. The competition will showcase some of the top gymnasts in the country.
Baldovino has maintained a high level of performance throughout the entirety of her first year as a Bulldog. Her selection as an all-around regional competitor is added to her great success as a Yale gymnast. At the ECAC championships, she achieved another near-perfect balance beam score of 9.900, landing her an ECAC title.
Buford was awarded ECAC Athlete of Year, receiving another all-around over a 39.000. The Bulldog earned a massive 9.825 on balance beam, earning a third-place finish at the end of the competition. Making history, Buford posted a 9.925 floor set, taking the ECAC floor title.
Wang proved her excellence on uneven bars receiving a near-perfect 9.900 bar routine. She took home the ECAC title on this event. The Bulldog is looking forward to competing at NCAA Regionals after her major torn achilles injury last season. Prior to her sophomore season, she is the reigning USA Collegiate National Beam Champion. She is excited to be competing the balance beam this weekend as well.
The Regional competition consists of six teams, four all-around competitors and two individual specialists per event (all of whom are not on a qualifying team) and will be conducted in each of six regions to determine the participants in the national championships.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in St. Louis, Missouri, April 20-21, hosted by the University of Missouri, Columbia and the St. Louis Sports Commission. The top two teams from the Columbus, Raleigh and Tuscaloosa regionals will compete in the first semifinal, and the top two teams from the Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and University Park regionals will compete in the second semifinal.
In addition, the event winners at each regional site will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around
REGIONAL FORMAT AND SCHEDULE
There will be one session of six rotations with four events and two byes, beginning between 4 and 6 p.m. All-arounders will compete after the team in each event; individual event specialists also will compete after the team on their respective events.
The order of events will be as follows:
Vault — Bye before Bars — Bars — Beam — Bye before Floor — Floor
Friday, Apr. 6 will be held as a practice day for competitors. Saturday, Apr. 7 will be competition day.
Yale gymnastics is known for their camaraderie and support for one another. In light of this, each class has a word of encouragement for their teammates heading into NCAA Regionals.
"Jacey is a ray of sunshine in and out of the gym. Our team is incredibly lucky to have a gymnast so talented and uplifting like her. She works extremely hard to fight through injuries all with a smile on her face, while lifting people up every day with silly dancing, goofy jokes, and loud cheering. We are extremely grateful and proud to call her our teammate."
"Jade is one of the most resilient and hard working people on the team. She does not let injury slow her down, and her work-ethic is truly inspiring. She constantly lifts the team up with fun cheers and much needed laughter. We have loved watching and competing with her this year because she is so hard working and always ready to face the next challenge. We are proud of her and can't wait to watch her compete at regionals!"
"Watching Jess do gymnastics is so fun because of her beautiful lines and perfect form. After suffering from her Achilles injury last year, she was determined to get back into gymnastics. She leads by example every day and is a steady, confident, and a calming presence on the team. She is such a wonderful teammate and we are so grateful to have her on my team."
"Jacey has been on fire this year. She is such a joy to have around the gym and you can see her passion for gymnastics in every routine that she does. We are all impressed with how she's handled stress and injuries throughout the year, and we're all excited to see the amazing things that she'll do next!
"Jade was able to come off an amazing first year and keep the momentum going throughout her sophomore year. She thrives under adversity and hasn't let anything get in the way of her goals. She is such an important part of the team both in and out of the gym."
"Jess has been killing it at every meet and we don't see her momentum stopping at NCAAs this weekend. We're all so excited for her."
"We are excited for Jacey to have this opportunity to compete at regionals. It's not easy coming in as a freshman, but she has held her own and works so hard every single day at practice. She deserves everything she has been awarded this season and we can't wait to watch her rock it this weekend."
"We all know Jade's floor routine by heart and it's been awesome to watch her charm the judges time after time on every event this season. Jade works extremely hard in the gym and brings so much energy to practices and competitions. We're excited that she gets to finish season on a high note and represent Yale Gymnastics at NCAA regionals!"
"Jess's gymnastics is absolutely flawless. She comes into the gym ready to work everyday, no matter if she is tired from staying up late to study for exams or in pain from an injury. She made such a strong comeback this season and has been such a key player in this team's success."
"Jacey works so hard in the gym every day, trying to perfect every detail of her routines, so at each competition she is confident and ready. Her work ethic and dedication to this team makes all of us so happy that she has this opportunity to go to regionals."
"Jade has been extremely consistent for us this entire season. She is great at either keeping us at a high level or bringing us back up if a mistake has been made. She is so deserving of competing at regionals and we are so excited to see what she does!"
"Jess has been a solid competitor for our team and is amazing to have as our bar anchor. She does whatever she can to help our team, so it is great to see her success paying off individually as well!"
The meet will be streamed live on BTN2go.com for free and will have a link for each event, attached below.
report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity