The past several years have certainly treated the gymnastics team well. The Bears captured a share of the Ivy Classic title on Feb. 28, marking the third time in four years they have been the victors of the competition.
“The past four years have been really exciting because it’s been a huge growing period for our program,” said co-captain Diana Walters ’16. “We are proud to represent Brown as a strong gymnastics school and hope to keep gaining more recognition for our program.”
Bruno was led by Jorden Mitchell ’17, who won the all-around for the second year in a row with a score of 38.550. Mitchell’s efforts marked the fourth consecutive year that a Bears gymnast has taken home the all-around title. Also turning in an impressive performance was Caroline Morant ’17, who placed fourth in the category.
It was a nerve-racking day in Ithaca, where the Bears and the Big Red traded leads throughout the competition. Brown took an early advantage after the first rotation, but Cornell jumped in front in the second and maintained its lead heading into the final event. With the title on the line and a deficit to overcome, Bruno was left with the most difficult event of the day.
“We were down by a few tenths to Cornell going into our last event, and we were on beam, which is probably the hardest event to end on in a tight competition like this one,” Walters said.
But the Bears were up for the challenge, overcoming the pressure to draw even with the Big Red and force the first tie in the history of the All-Ivy Classic.
“We knew going into the meet that it was going to be a tight competition between us and Cornell, especially considering they had the home team advantage,” Walters said. But “you could tell that everyone on the team was using this extra pressure to motivate them because there were no doubts that we deserved and could get the win.”
By the day’s end, the Bears had amounted 19 All-Ivy Classic Honors, including first-team recognitions in all four of the day’s events. Though it was a well-rounded effort, Walters credited the beam lineup for the team’s victory, pointing toward its impressive handling of such a nerve-inducing situation. Morant made first-team in the event to lead the Bears in their comeback bid.
Other notable efforts on the day came from Corey Holman ’16 and Mitchell in the vault, both registering first-team honors. Walters and Alexandra Chretien ’16 accomplished the same feat on bars. It was Walters’ third time garnering honors in the event and the fourth year in a row that Chretien has done so. In the floor routine, Mitchell once again paced the Bears and was joined by Gabrielle Hechtman ’19 as a first-team honoree.
“We all put our hearts out on the floor that day and it showed,” Morant said. “Everyone performed some of their best routines I’ve seen.”
Riding the momentum of the success at the Ivy Classic, the Bears then took their talents westward and faced off in meets against Sacramento State and San Jose State. The team finished in last place at both meets but set a new season-high team score of 194.075 at San Jose. Bruno will return home and host Temple, Southern Connecticut and Rhode Island next weekend.