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Gymnastics rests up for the tougher Ivy hurdles

After pulling off a solid win last meet versus in-state rival University of Rhode Island, the gymnastics team traveled to Kingstown Wednesday night, where the Bears came up short in their rematch. URI (189.850) outlasted the Bears (183.55). Each team has defeated its in-state foe when in its own facilities so far this season.

The Bears' overall score was lower than normal because some of the team was resting up for future meets. Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne said she felt it would be important for her team to be healthy and at its best for the Ivy Classic at Cornell on Feb. 24. In anticipation of the upcoming competition she chose not to field a few of her strongest gymnasts.

"With such a small team, the gymnasts rarely get a change to rest their bodies during competition season," Carver-Milne wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. "We count on them every meet."

Jen Sobuta '09 earned a first place finish (9.60) on the beam for the second week in a row. She also finished third (9.525) on the vault while Victoria Zanelli '11 (9.45) and Chelsey Binkley '11 (9.375) finished right behind her.

Zanelli came out strong for the Bears on the uneven bars, coming away with a fifth place finish (9.50) and leading the team overall on the bars. Stephanie Albert '10 and Sobuta tied for third place (9.475) on the floor exercise. The next best finish for the team came from Binkley (9.050).

Sobuta finished very well in the all-around, pulling off a second place finish (37.65) - the Bears' top finisher. She has continued to score well for the team by consistently finishing in the top three in the all-around and on the beam throughout the season.

Although Bruno did not come away with a win, the mistakes it made are very fixable, Sobuta said.

"There was a lot of over-rotating of skills," Sobuta wrote in an e-mail. "Everyone showed that they were more than capable of hitting the routines that they have been practicing all year."

The meet proved to be a valuable indicator of what needs to be the focus of each gymnast before Ivy League competition begins next weekend. The team has been preparing for the upcoming meet all season and is looking to make an impact on the rest of the league. The Ivy League Classic is one of just three meets in which the team faces off with Ivy League foes.

Every time the team steps out onto the floor, its confidence grows and has been building with every meet. The coaches and gymnasts are excited and confident about their potential to win the Ivy Classic.

"I feel great about it. I can't say that I've ever been this excited going into Ivies," Sobuta said. "Our team now has the most potential that I've seen during my career at Brown. For the first time, I can honestly say that this team of girls has a shot at winning."

With healthy and rested bodies, the team is fully aware that it has the opportunity to finish out the season strong. The Bears pointed to the fact that they have been building momentum with every meet, and that should translate into a great weekend at Cornell.

After the team competes at Cornell, there are three more opportunities to see the team in action on Mar. 9, 14 and 21 at the Pizzitola Center.

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