Sports

Gymnastics continues to raise bar in season-opening meets

Bruno highlights its depth during winter break after several all-around performers suffer injuries

By
Staff Writer
Monday, February 1, 2016

A Brown gymnast performs a flip on the balance beam. The Bears continued their hot start, winning a quad meet at Springfield College.

Last season’s impressive campaign by the gymnastics team was highlighted by seven gymnasts who achieved USA Gymnastics All-American honors and the highest regional qualifying score in program history. After narrowly missing out on some championship titles by mere tenths of points, the team is more motivated than ever.

“Everyone’s come back really hungry and ready to go this year,” said co-captain Diana Walters ’16.

So far, all is going according to plan, as the Bears began the season excellently by winning their first two competitions, including the home opener at the Pizzitola Center this past weekend.

“We had a strong first two performances, which was really exciting and a good way to start the season,” Walters said.

While most students were still on winter vacation, Brown was participating in the season’s first meet, hosted by Southern Connecticut State University. By the end of the quad meet — which also included Ithaca College and Springfield College — the Bears emerged victorious with a score of 188.950, edging the hosts by 1.2 points.

Some of the team’s top all-around competitors suffered minor knocks, during warm-ups which forced the team to change its lineup around. Luckily for Bruno, some first-years and sophomores stepped up and performed.

“As a team, everyone stayed calm, and it was not very chaotic. Given the circumstances, we pulled through very well,” said Brooke Williams ’17.

The Bears’ success despite initial obstacles was reflected in the team’s scores — Bruno finished with the top total score on vault, bars and floor. There were also four members of the team that emerged in first place individually: Jorden Mitchell ’17 in the all-around with a score of 37.150, Regan Butchness ’18 on beam with a 9.675, Walters on the uneven bars with a 9.625 and Williams on floor with a 9.700.

The following week, the Bears hosted their first home meet, a quad meet with rival University of Bridgeport, Rhode Island College and Southern Connecticut for the second straight meet. And for the second consecutive meet, Bruno finished with a win, this time upping the ante with a score of 191.175. But, it only eked out the victory by a slim 0.325-point margin over Bridgeport.

For a second straight week, Mitchell, Walters and Butchness all finished with titles in the all-around, uneven bars and beam, respectively. Alexandra Chretien ’16 tied with Walters atop the uneven bars standings, while Butchness and Caroline Morant ’17 ended up as the top two performers on beam.

Though the performances may not have been perfect, the team looks primed and ready to make a good run this season.

“We are looking to maintain consistency in every meet,” Williams said. “With that consistency comes higher scores.”

The following weekend, the Bears made it three-for-three by emerging victorious at Springfield College. In a meet that also featured State University of New York and the familiar opponent of Southern Connecticut, the team won with a season-high score of 192.575.

Bruno also posted a season-high score on bars, with a 48.650, and on beam, a 48.150.

Bears galore were scattered atop the results sheet. Mitchell claimed her third straight all-around triumph by posting a 38.550. Corey Holman ’16 won the vault with a score of 9.750, edging out Mitchell. Mitchell also tied for first on beam with a 9.800.

The Bears dominated the uneven bars by having the top six performers in the event, including eventual winner Morant, who had a 9.800.

“It’s exciting to see all our hard work pay off in competition,” Walters said. “It is a great confidence booster to be off to a 3-0 start so far.”

Moving forward, the entire team is striving to achieve the Ivy and ECAC titles that eluded it last year. With the team’s extraordinary depth,  this could be the season that it happens.

“Last season was really great, but this year, we should be able to do it,” Walters said.