The gymnastics team finished in fourth place at the Ivy Classic at Cornell on Sunday, but the Bears achieved a goal they had been shooting for all season, turning in their best performance of the year. For the second time in two years, Cornell took top honors, finishing with 191.8 points, and Yale (189.060) and Penn (188.025) finished just ahead of Brown (186.725).
The meet started off well for Brown on the floor exercise, and their momentum continued throughout the day. Captain Hannah Goldstein '08 began the meet with a personal best, 9.475 points, and finished in 14th place. Chelsey Binkley '11 tied Goldstein on the floor exercise.
"It was a great way to start the meet off," Goldstein said. "I went into the routine in hopes of setting the tone for the rest of the day."
The rest of the team stepped up and handled the pressure at this crucial meet of conference foes as well.
Despite an ankle sprain earlier in the week, Jen Sobuta '09 fought through the pain and finished first on the uneven bars with a personal best of 9.775, far surpassing her previous record. This was the Bears' only first-place finish of the day. Vida Rivera '11 also turned in a strong performance on the bars, an impressive 9.65 that earned a second-place finish.
The Bears have struggled on bars throughout the season but put forth a great effort - the five Bears who finished in the top 16 were the most from any school. Binkley, Stephanie Albert '10, and Victoria Zanelli '11 rounded out the final three spots in the select group.
"Good things happened," Rivera said. "We came together as a team and stayed strong with lots of energy."
Albert finished in seventh on the beam with 9.475 points, followed by Sobuta and Zanelli at 15th and 16th, respectively. Sobuta added a ninth-place finish on vault, a 9.475-point effort that made her the Bears' top finisher in that event.
"We came out strong and carried momentum throughout the entire meet," said Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne. "Coming out of Ivies with the best finish of the season was a goal of ours." Brown scored more points in the meet than it had in any meet up to that point.
Sobuta's 37.95 brought her second place the all-around. Albert came in seventh overall with 37.60 points, while Binkley and Zanelli followed in ninth and 10th.
Though the Bears came out of the weekend with a fourth-place finish, they're anxious for the rest of the season. The hard work they've put in is paying off and the scores for both the team and individuals are improving.
"The score didn't reflect how well we did," Goldstein said. "We're gaining confidence for the rest of the season."
The Bears' positive momentum will be tested this weekend when they take on rival Bridgeport on March 9 at 1 p.m. at the Pizzitola Center; Bruno has finished behind Bridgeport twice this season. This is one of Brown's last three home meets.