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Gymnasts turn around in two days

Two days after an unsatisfactory performance at the University of New Hampshire, the gymnastics team revived themselves for Sunday's meet at the Pizzitola Sports Center.

After a long day in the classroom, the women traveled to UNH for a meet they soon wanted to forget. The Bears finished a disappointing fourth place at UNH, trailing the University of Alaska and the University of Bridgeport. Neither the girls nor the coaches were happy with the results at the end of the day.

"It was rough. We weren't focused, and we weren't pleased with our performance," said Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne.

She thought her team's lack of focus came from the transition to having classes. The team went from training together every day over intersession to having busy class schedules that forced the girls to practice separately.

Jen Sobuta '09 was the top finisher on the vault for the Bears in 12th (9.475) followed by Chelsey Binkley '11 and Stephanie Albert '10. Albert came into her element on the beam, finishing eighth (9.575). The top finisher in the floor exercise was Whitney Diederich '09, finishing in 14th (9.275). Binkley and Sobuta finished third (36.00) and fourth (35.525) respectively in the all-around.

The girls were given a day off from practice in exchange for a team meeting on Saturday. The team watched video and talked about their meet, reasserting that they knew they were capable of working harder and getting better, according to Carver-Milne.

After encouragement from Carver-Milne, Brown came into the next day, prepared to prove they were much better than Friday's disappointment would suggest.

The Bears pulled away with the victory (186.2) on Sunday afternoon to claim the Ocean State Challenge title over main rival University of Rhode Island (185.0) and Rhode Island College (168.8).

"We were a cohesive unit today. (We) never lost momentum. We fought through every routine," said Carver-Milne.

Sarah Durning '08 made a great showing on the vault leading the way for Brown with a third place finish (9.6).

Three Bears - Sobuta, Binkley and Albert - finished fourth through sixth following Durning, who had been nursing a nagging knee injury from a meet two weeks prior.

She had remained out of competitions since their meet against University of Cal-State Fullerton on Jan. 20, and it was still questionable if she would get to participate in one of her last home meets.

"It was very exciting being a senior and performing well," Durning said. "It was one of the best meets Brown has had in my four years here. We had very few falls."

Bruno swept second through fifth place on the uneven bars with Victoria Zanelli '11 securing second place (9.525) followed by Binkley, Rivera and Sobuta. Albert, Sobuta, Diederich and Vida Rivera '11 finished third through sixth in the floor exercise, which proved to be one of the best events for the Bears again this week.

For the second week in a row, Sobuta set a personal best on the beam (9.825), coming in first overall. Albert kept building her confidence on the beam, as she set a personal best, finishing third overall (9.55).

"We were all disappointed after Friday. It gave us a fire to show what we are capable of doing," Albert said. "We were determined to hit all routines." She said the team is gaining confidence for Ivy League competition with every meet.

Sobuta finished first (38.15) in the all-around, setting a new personal best, as she did the week before. Binkley finished behind her in third (36.8).

The women get a much-needed 10-day break before squaring up with URI in Kingstown on Feb. 13.

In case Super Bowl preparations kept you from venturing to the Pitz this weekend, there are still three more opportunities to catch them in action at home on Feb. 9, 14 and 21.

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