Gymnastics ends regular season with an Ivy loss

Monday, March 31, 2008

The gymnastics team ended its regular season with a loss on the scoreboard, but had some solid performances from young and old alike on March 21. The Bears (181.825) finished second to Yale (189.925) in their final home meet of the year.

Because of nagging injuries keeping many on the team sidelined, Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne was excited to showcase some other girls in events in which they normally do not compete. It was also a great opportunity to highlight the three seniors who ended their careers at Brown – Sarah Durning ’08, Hannah Goldstein ’08 and Jessica Pestronk ’08.

On the vault, Durning finished in fifth place (9.40). Victoria Zanelli ’11 finished with a personal best in second place (9.55). Chelsey Binkley ’11 rounded out the top performances in fourth (9.325).

The beam did not prove as kind to the Brown team. Four of the six Bears competing on the beam fell, resulting in point deductions and lower scores. But Zanelli finished well to lead the team in fourth place (9.35), followed by Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt ’10 in fifth (9.225). Pestronk, who has competed in few competitions this season because of injury, finished out her career on the beam with a solid performance (8.75).

The floor exercise was a great event for the Bears, with each competitor scoring higher than 9.0. Binkley finished in the top spot for Bruno in fourth place (9.525). Goldstein finished out her career at the Pizzitola Center with a 9.425. Whitney Diederich ’09 (9.35), Vida Rivera ’11 (9.275) and Zanelli (9.25) also performed well.

“Floor felt great,” Goldstein said. “It has really come together this year for me. It’s (scary) to think it is my last home meet.”

Rivera placed the Bears on the bars in third place (9.425), while Binkley followed right behind her (9.40). Zanelli was the top finisher for the Bears in the all-around with a personal best, finishing in third (37.3). Binkley came in fourth (37.15), as they both narrowly missed top finishes by less than one point behind Yale’s Brigitte Kivisto and Alina Liao.

Two all-around performers, Stephanie Albert ’10 and Jen Sobuta ’09, have been sidelined because of injury. So in recent weeks, both Binkley and Zanelli have stepped up their performances and have been gaining momentum for the postseason.

“I feel like we can pull it together,” Binkley said. “We need to keep each other up – that’s what makes us strong. We’re confident, all in the same mind-set.”

The overall team score for the night was lower than other meets in the season. New faces were given the opportunity to compete because of injuries. Albert fractured her ankle in the previous week’s home meet. Sobuta severely sprained her ankle well over a month ago and has competed on occasion.

When asked about the lower score, Carver-Milne said, “The team score is not made up by one person. It’s not what we don’t have, but how we can improve our score.”

The Bears placed eighth at the ECAC Championships last Saturday, and they are waiting to see if anyone qualified for the NCAA Regionals on April 12. Among Brown’s top finishers was Binkley, who earned a 9.575 on the floor, good for 25th in that exercise, while she also finished 12th in the all-around. Diederich put up a 9.525 on the floor as well. Sobuta placed 16th on the beam with a 9.65 and Zanelli earned 32nd on the vault at 9.35.

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