Coming off an unexpected fourth-place finish at the Ivy Classics last weekend, the gymnastics team bounced back with a second-place finish in its final home meet of the season Sunday. The Bears tallied a 193.150 team score to beat Southern Connecticut State University and the College at Brockport but fall to the University of Bridgeport.
“This was a complete 180 from Ivies,” said co-captain Maggie McAvoy ’18. “We came in with the mindset of having fun because at Ivies we got a little nervous, got a little ahead of ourselves and rushed everything, but this time we were just taking it slow, having fun and enjoying ourselves. We were on for all four events.”
For the team’s five seniors, the quad meet was their last time performing in the Pizzitola Sports Center. After the competition, the veterans were recognized for their dedication and contributions to the program.
“It’s very bittersweet,” said co-captain Claire Ryan ’18. “I remember my freshman year Senior Day and thinking it was forever away, but now it’s here. It’s been such a special experience the last four years, and I couldn’t have asked for a more positive time here.”
Brown kicked off the meet on vault, where the Bears made some lineup changes from their last showing. Kate Nelson ’21 made her first appearance on the event, notching a 9.500 in the leadoff spot while Gabrielle Hechtman ’19 and Anne Christman ’20 followed with matching scores of 9.575. In the anchor position, Julia Green ’19 earned a 9.725 for her front handspring front pike to close the first rotation.
Bruno was trailing all three visiting teams going into uneven bars, but the team put up big numbers on its second event to make up some ground. Alyssa Gardner ’21 got the momentum swinging with a stuck double back tuck dismount, earning a 9.575. Erin Howell ’20 came off a shoulder injury to make her season debut with a solid 9.675, and Ryan matched her career-high 9.800. Anya Olson ’18 contributed a 9.750, and Emma Hansen ’21 nailed her double back tuck dismount to receive a 9.825.
Halfway through the meet, Brown sat in second behind Bridgeport.
A fall early in the balance beam lineup added pressure on the remaining gymnasts, but the Bears pulled off five hit routines to stay on pace with the Knights.
“If somebody falls, we’ve kind of got to hit that reset button and just pick it back up,” Ryan said. “We’ve gotten really, really good at doing that … and it definitely showed in the meet today.”
In the leadoff spot, Ryan posted a 9.550, and freshman Rose Domonoske ’21 showed veteran composure in the middle of the lineup, earning a 9.675 for a bobble-free routine. Hansen hit a perfect back handspring step-out layout step-out series for a 9.525, and beam specialist Regan Butchness ’18 capped off the rotation with a stuck dismount and a 9.725.
A 47.925 on balance beam secured Bruno’s second-place standing going into the final rotation. Still chasing Bridgeport, the Bears had a slate of strong performances on floor exercise to notch a 48.750.
“I don’t think there was (pressure),” McAvoy said of the team’s mentality going into the last event. “We did amazing on floor last week, and we were just going to repeat the same thing.”
McAvoy overcame an elbow injury to return to the lineup, giving her team a 9.725 to build on. Christman and Green added twin 9.775s to tie their personal bests, and Anya Barca-Hall ’18 notched a 9.825 in the final performance of the meet.
The 193.150 is Bruno’s second-highest mark this season and puts the team in a good position as it tries to qualify for the USAG Collegiate National Championships.
“This (score) helps so much,” McAvoy said. “(Regional qualifying scores) can still change drastically. We have three meets left, and I just got word that we finished at the top of the Ivies for this weekend. It’s only going to help us.”
As the Bears turn their attention to a quad meet against Yale, the University of Kentucky and the University of New Hampshire, Ryan added that she felt the team’s performance on Sunday was a good indicator of how the rest of the season will pan out.
“It is really, really going to help us with our confidence going forward,” Ryan said. “Obviously Ivies didn’t go exactly how we wanted it, and we needed a meet like this to pick it up. We still have a lot of our season left and a lot of ground to make, and we definitely still can.”
Brown will take to the floor at 1 p.m. in New Hampshire Sunday.