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Gymnastics team finishes second in Ivy

Carli Wiesenfeld '12 didn't know she had to compete on the beam — in addition to bars, vault and floor — until she was in the locker room pre-meet, donning her leotard.

No matter. She took second in the all-around competition.

And then there was Victoria Zanelli '11. She sat out four meets with stitches in her foot, the result of accidentally stepping on broken glass.

Not a problem. She won the beam title with a career-high 9.775.

The resilience of the Brown gymnastics team left few fans doubting that the women could win the 33rd annual Ivy Classic last Sunday afternoon.

But an extraordinary performance by an experienced Cornell squad stole the title from the Bears.

"In the end, the Cornell team was incredible today. They hit when it counted," said Brown

Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne. "We'd been scoring similarly the past few weeks, but they came out and earned a season-high by two points. We didn't expect that."

"Today," she added, "they deserved to win."

That's not to say that either the coach or team was unhappy with the performance.

"This was the best Ivies in my four years," said Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt '10.

Wiesenfeld agreed.  "The team really pulled together. For the first time in four years, we only had to count one fall into our team score," she said.

Standouts of the day included Julia Meyer '13, second on beam and bars; Brigitte Kivisto of Yale, the all-around and floor champion; and Cornell's Emily Santoro, first on vault and second on floor.

"Consistency won the meet for us today," Santoro said. "That, and we didn't count a single fall."

The teams, including Penn, which finished third, and Yale, which finished fourth, will meet again in four weeks at the ECAC championship at Towson University. The Bears will look to qualify for nationals, which will take place on April 15. The top eight teams qualify, and with Brown currently sitting in seventh nationally, its prospects are good.

But despite this high national rank and setting team-high scores at every meet this season, the Bears have yet to win a competition.

"We have amazing potential," Carver-Milne said. "We want to be champions."

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