PHILADELPHIA – For the first time this season the Yale gymnastics team eclipsed the 195 threshold, earning a 195.100 at Sunday's Ivy Classic championship at The Palestra in Philadelphia. That effort earned the Bulldogs their 16th Ivy Classic title, going back-to-back with last year's title. Cornell (193.25) was second, followed by Penn (193.100) and Brown (192.200).
The emotions of Sunday's historic performance were captured perfectly in the words of head coach Barbara Tonry: "I'm so very proud of each and every one of these girls for doing their best and earning our 16th Ivy Classic title. Though they started out on a rough note, the team knew they needed to come together to stay ahead of Cornell. Our vault line-up was consistent across the board as well as our bar team, where their effort and energy truly shined. They went into the last event knowing they needed to have a near-perfect beam rotation and that they did. The resilience and leadership of our upperclassmen took charge today and rallied the team where they needed to be. Receiving compliments from our alumni as well as other universitys' alumni was incredible."
Yale hit its fifth-consecutive mark of 48.450 or higher on the floor exercise to start off the meet strong. Junior Emma Firmstone led the event, cracking the 9.700 threshold and setting the bar for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Charlotte Cooperman added her hit routine to keep up the consistency for the floor line-up. Picking up a score of 9.675, junior Jade Buford performed her high-amplitude floor passes. Fellow junior Rebecca Chong brought Yale home with a 9.475, rallying the team with her dance moves. Sophomore Alyssa Firth unleashed one of her best performance of the season with a 9.800, landing her on the fourth-place podium overall. Senior anchor Kiarra Alleyne closed the first event for Yale, putting on a show for the fans while earning a 9.825 for her hit routine. Her score landed her on the third-place podium overall. As a squad, Yale finished the rotation with a 48.775.
Opening on the vault, lead-off junior Anna Jennings kept the momentum from floor exercise, landing her twisting vault, posting a new season-high score of 9.750. Not only was her score a season-high, but the vaulter tied her career-high, placing her on the third-place podium overall. Following Jennings, Buford registered a 9.700 to continue her all-around competition. Her score earned her sixth overall. Senior Jessica Wang competed a full-twisting yurchenko, which paced Yale to a 48.750 team score. Chong secured a 9.750 with a yurchenko half, also placing third overall. Cooperman gave a promising performance, tying her career-high score of 9.775. Teammate and fellow sophomore Firth continued her impressive meet with a gorgeous full-twisting yurchenko, tying Cooperman with a 9.775. Her score was a new season high as well as a tie of her career high. Cooperman and Firth earned second place overall. Firth closing out the rotation proved successful when the vault lineup broke yet another team record for the season, landing second in the history books. The team score was also good enough to tie for first place among the other Ivies with rival Cornell.
On bars the Bulldogs tallied a 48.750 team event score to place first amongst the Ivy League teams and also land in 10th place on the school record list. Buford continued her strong evening with a 9.600, demonstrating a gorgeous release move and stunning dismount. Close in scoring, first year Kendal Toy performed a confident bar set, posting a 9.67. Swinging big release moves, first-year Lindsay Chia earned an enormous 9.800 to place on third-place podium overall. Completing her bar set with a stuck double-tuck dismount, sophomore Jacey Baldovino did her job and posted a 9.850, leaving her with the Ivy Classic bar title and a new season-high score. Senior Roxanne Trachtenberg showed amplitude on her release move and double-layout dismount, posting a 9.175. Wang cracked the 9.8 threshold for the fifth time this season, tallying a 9.825 This score set her second place overall alongside teammate Baldovino.
Heading to the final rotation, Yale held a five-tenth lead. That advantage grew when Cooperman laid down a massive 9.775 to start the rotation. Behind her, Firmstone turned in a score of 9.750 to have the crowd on its feet. Buford kept up the consistency, matching fellow junior Firmstone with a 9.750. Wang notched a score of a 9.875 to take the Ivy Classic beam title and also tie her career high. Teammate Chia's matching 9.875 sparked the Bulldogs to a 49.125 beam score, the highest beam team score in Yale gymnastics history. The team score placed first among the Ivies. Chia's score is a new season- and career-high score. Two Bulldogs shared the first-place podium. To cement the Ivy Classic victory, anchor Baldovino threw up a massive beam set, sticking every skill and earning a huge season-high of 9.850. Her score places 10th highest in the record books.
"This team has an insane amount of talent and passion. Today, every single person stepped up and lived up to our potential. I could not be prouder of this team and I am ecstatic that we were able to add another championship win to this team's legacy," said team captain Alleyne.
In the all-around, Buford took home first place. This marks the junior's third Ivy Classic all-around title as a Bulldog.
Overall, the Bulldogs broke four team records and three individual records in Sunday's competition. Additionally, the team accumulated 10 career- and season-highs. This season, the Ivy Classic championship team has broken 16 total records.
"These ladies moved beyond the score board today. They became a collective unit and did so from their hearts. I am proud to be a part of Yale gymnastics and see these girls earn what they have worked incredible hard for," said assistant coach Jason Collins.
The Bulldogs will hit the road to Penn State next weekend for a quad meet as they take on nationally-ranked Arizona State, Cornell and the host team on Saturday at 4 p.m.
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report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity