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Bears take Ivy League crown for first time in 23 years

Michelle Shnayder ’14 was named individual all-around champion in Ivy Classic this weekend

The Brown gymnastics team captured the annual Ivy Classic at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday afternoon. The Bears’ score of 193.925 points out of 200 beat out Cornell’s 193.025, Penn’s 191.600 and the Bulldogs’ 191.100 to win the team the Ivy title for the first time since 1990.

The Bear’s score was the highest total they have put up this year and marked the first time the squad finished in first place in a competition this season.

“It’s probably one of the biggest competitions of the season,” said Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne. “To be able to be on top of the Ivy League gives us a lot of pride.”

Co-captain Lauren Hall ’13 said the Ivy Classic is one of the team’s two conference championships, the other being the ECAC Championship in late March.

“Winning was a huge accomplishment,” Hall said. “We’ve known we could win for so long, but were never able to put it all together until this year.”

Bruno was bolstered by Michelle Shnayder ’14, who won the all-around competition with a score of 38.850 points out of a possible 40 points. Shnayder said winning the individual title felt “surreal.”

“After all the events, I was thinking, ‘I’m sure it must have been close,’” she said. “When they called out my name, I couldn’t really believe it.”

Shnayder started out her winning performance by tying a career high of 9.825 points on the vault, the second-highest score in the competition. She followed it up by finishing sixth on the beam with a 9.750, seventh on the floor with a 9.675 and 13th on the bars with a 9.600.

The team took the lead early on vault, the first event of the competition. Shnayder’s second-place score was topped only by that of her teammate Emily Lutfey ’13, who scored a career-high of 9.850 points by successfully landing a new vault of increased difficulty.

“(Lutfey) upgraded her vault and completed it successfully for the first time,” Carver-Milne said. “It paid off and was ultimately really rewarding for our team’s score.”

Rebecca Freedman ’14, Diana Walters ’16 and Katie Rogers ’14 also contributed to the strong opening vault performance with scores of 9.725, 9.650 and 9.525, respectively.

“The vault team has been doing awesome, and they started the meet off great,” Hall said. “We had the lead from the start and didn’t back down.”

On the uneven parallel bars, the Bears were led by Alexandra Chretien ’16, who finished fifth with a career-high 9.750, and Nicole Abdo ’13, whose score of 9.700 earned her seventh overall. Abdo also led Bruno in the floor exercise, finishing second with 9.800 points, a personal best for the senior in the event.

Allison Rubenstein ’15 and Julia Meyer ’13 tied for second place on the balance beam, both scoring 9.825 points.

The win came a week after a trip to California, during which the team finished third in two separate competitions.

“We had two rough meets and used our disappointment to fire us up for this meet,” Hall said.

Shnayder attributed the team’s success to its tight-knit culture.

“We have each other’s backs,” she said. “To feel this support makes you want to do better.”

“What was so special about this win,” Carver-Milne said, “was that the girls were just so proud of the team’s performance that they didn’t even realize their individual achievements.”

The Bears return to competition Saturday at the University of New Hampshire, where they will face Yale and Towson University in addition to the home team.


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