Gymnasts beaming after strong finish

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The gymnastics team took second place (186.55) at its four-team meet on Friday at the Pizzitola Center. With many strong contributors, the Bears recorded their second best team total of the season. Bruno finished behind the University of Rhode Island (189.12) and ahead of Southern Connecticut State (186.375) and Bridgeport (178.025).

Three Bears finished the day with personal bests, and after these performances, Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne is optimistic about upcoming postseason meets.

Chelsey Binkley ’11, Vida Rivera ’11 and Victoria Zanelli ’11 have been improving and putting up impressive numbers for the team. Coming back from two weeks rest after an ankle injury, Jen Sobuta ’09 paced the Bears, scoring first in the all-around (38.20) and the beam (9.75). Zanelli also finished the meet with a personal best in the all-around, placing third (37.825).

“Our goal is to get everyone on the same page on the same day,” Carver-Milne said.

The team began on the vault, on which Sobuta, Brown’s top finisher, came in fifth place (9.55). Binkley was second-best for the team, coming in ninth (9.425). But Stephanie Albert ’10 injured her ankle in the event and could not compete in the rest of the meet.

On the bars, Sobuta narrowly finished second (9.625), behind URI’s Emily Rinaldo (9.65). Zanelli was the next-best finisher for the Bears (9.475).

Sobuta rose above her competition once again, finishing first (9.75) on the beam, while her nearest competitor scored 9.65. Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt ’10 recorded a personal best for the second week in a row, finishing in fifth place (9.50). Zanelli continued to improve her point total in the all-around with a solid finish (9.375) on the beam.

“At practice I can hit everything,” Zanelli said. “I lack confidence in myself sometimes. I stepped it up a notch this weekend proving that all of my hard work up to now has not been wasted.”

In the final event, Zanelli represented the Bears as an elite all-around performer, finishing off the meet with a fifth-place finish (9.625) on the floor exercise, setting another personal best on the day. Binkley tied Zanelli on the floor for fifth and Whitney Diederich ’09 (9.475) and Hannah Goldstein ’08 (9.425) were the next-best finishers for the Bears.

“It was incredible having Vicki hit 4-for-4,” Carver-Milne said. “She’s an incredibly talented kid. It was awesome for her to put a (complete) meet together.”

Because of injuries and recovery, the lineup has changed periodically throughout the season. But despite the inconsistency, new leaders have emerged and it seems as if anyone can be counted upon at any given meet. The Bears are peaking as they head into the postseason.

“We have great timing for ECAC’s and all of us are stepping up,” Sobuta said. “The freshmen are starting to realize that (they) have an important role on the team. Right now, everyone is feeling comfortable out there, and we’re all willing to push through the pain.”

Brown has had a rough season filled with injuries. Kirkham-Lewitt wasn’t even working on beam three months ago, but earned the ECAC Coaches Choice Award last week after an excellent beam performance. Sobuta returned this week after a short rest period and will save herself for the ECAC Championships, forgoing the matchup with Yale on Friday night. This is the last home meet of the season and will take place at the Pizzitola Center at 6 p.m.

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