NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale gymnastics team made history during its performance at UC Davis, and now this record-breaking team hits the peak of the season Saturday as the Bulldogs travel to Cornell to compete at the ECAC Championships inside the Newman Center. Competitors include Brown, Cornell, Penn, Temple, William & Mary and Yale. Yale gymnastics has taken home the title for two years running. 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.
"Confidence is key this weekend. These women have been incredibly successful in practice and previous competitions. Their team score will meet all expectations if they show up and do what they know how to do. I believe they are ready for this competition," said head coach Barbara Tonry.
To take a look back to 2018, the Bulldogs compiled a team-winning score of 195.325. They won three of the four events (floor, beam, bars) out of all six ECAC teams and hit 24 for 24 routines. Additionally, they captured the ECAC Rookie of the Year for the second consecutive year in a row as well the ECAC Athlete of the Year.
1. Yale: 195.325
2. William & Mary: 194.575
3. Brown: 194.025
4. Penn: 193.200
5. Cornell: 193.150
6. Temple: 192.675
Brown gymnastics comes off a third-place finish with a 194.075 in a tri-meet at home with Bridgeport and Temple inside the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Cornell gymnastics team hosted a dual meet at Newman Arena against Big 10 opponent Rutgers. The Big Red fell short, 194.825–193.000 on Sunday afternoon. Penn gymnastics fell to William & Mary in Williamsburg on Friday night, closing out the regular season with a score of 191.900. Temple gymnastics closed out the regular season with a tri-meet win against Bridgeport and Brown, posting a 195.075 team score. William & Mary concluded its regular season slate with a win against Penn, earning a 192.450.
As for NCAA rankings, the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) placing heading into the competition this weekend is:
1. Temple (194.755)
2. Yale (194.390)
3. Pennsylvania (193.350)
4. Cornell (193.350)
5. Brown (192.605)
6. William & Mary (192.520)
In the NCAA rankings, Brown is ranked 61st, Cornell 58th, Penn 59th, Temple 47th, William & Mary 62nd and Yale 51st. Not only has Yale never been ranked this high in the NCAA, Yale's team RQS at 194.390 marks the highest in program history, increasing Yale's regional qualifying score to above a 194 for the second year in a row.
A number of Yale gymnasts go in among the favorites on their specialized events. Sophomore Alyssa Firth has the highest floor and vault average on the team (9.707 and 9.765). Senior Jessica Wang holds the highest bar average with a 9.848. First year Lindsay Chia takes the top average on the balance beam with a 9.808.
Yale gymnastics has broken 31 program records this 2019 season, individually and as a team combined. This comes close to the 32 broken last year. The Bulldogs look forward to what is in store for post-season competitions.
"We've had the entire season to make history and decide what kind of legacy we want to leave. Conference championships is such an important part of this legacy and I'm so excited for all of the team's hard work and preparation to pay off. We are going to leave it all on the floor and hopefully come back with another championship title," said senior captain Kiarra Alleyne.
Yale's rotation schedule for the competition will be:
Rotation 1 – Bye
Rotation 2 – Bars
Rotation 3 – Beam
Rotation 4 – Bye
Rotation 5 – Floor
Rotation 6 – Vault
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. Junior Jade Buford is in contention for Gymnast of the Year, while senior Jessica Wang has a chance for Specialist of the Year on uneven bars. Additionally, the ECAC all-academic team will be announced.
The competition is set to begin at 12:00 p.m. EST, Saturday. The meet will be broadcast on ESPN+ with Kevin Copp and Jamie Jett on the call.
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report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity