Do a backflip. Do it gracefully and with a smile on your face. Do it on a four-inch-wide, leather-bound steel beam, four feet off the ground. And you'd better stick the dismount.
That was beam standout Julia Meyer's '13 task on Sunday. And that's exactly what she did.
Though neither Meyer nor the team as a whole could secure a first-place finish in Sunday's meet, both posted season-high scores and kept the defending national champion Bridgeport within two points at all stages of competition. The Bears finished second, behind Bridgeport and ahead of Penn and URI.
Though thrilled with their teams' performances, Bridgeport Head Coach Byron Knox and Brown Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne, said they were less than satisfied with the officiating.
"The issues with scoring took my attention from the athletes to the officials," Knox said.
"You just can't control the scores," Carver-Milne added.
All four teams brought strong competition, including a URI club team that held its own in an arena of dominant varsity programs. URI Head Coach Chelle Kassabian commended her team on "a huge improvement from last week."
"We had a lot of falls on floor and beam at our last meet," she said. "I think we showed a lot of progress on all four events."
Sunday was Senior Day for the Bears, but only one of two seniors could compete. Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt '10 earned 18.45 combined points for the team on the beam and uneven bars. But Helen Segal '10 was sidelined with a knee injury she suffered during last Friday's meet.
The two seniors thanked their teammates for a great day of competition.
"We really came together, cleaned up our moves and hit hard," said Kirkham-Lewitt.
"We're doing all that can be expected of us."
Expectations rise as the team heads to Alaska this week and to the Ivy Classic next week. The Bears are counting on performances like Meyer's to pull the team through a tough two weeks of competition.