For the past month, the gymnastics team has narrowly missed topping the 193.325 team score it set in early February, but Brown finally beat its season best with a 193.525 during a quad meet hosted by the University of New Hampshire Sunday. Though Bruno finished fourth behind the University of Kentucky, UNH and Yale, the season-high score helps the Bears as they work to qualify for the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships.
“In this final push, so much can happen, so continuing to improve now is what’s going to set us apart,” said Anne Christman ’20. “This is what we’re looking for, and … this is definitely going to put us in a better place (to qualify). It’s super important now, and we’re not done yet.”
The Bears began the competition on floor, where Christman and co-captain Maggie McAvoy ’18 received matching scores of 9.675. Julia Green ’19 supported with a 9.725, and Anya Barca-Hall ’18 earned a 9.750 in the anchor spot to cap off the first rotation.
A season-high 48.275 on vault put Bruno on track to break the 193.325 team score as three gymnasts notched a 9.700. The score was a season-best for Gabrielle Hechtman ’19 and a career-high for Christman, who debuted a new tucked full-twisting vault. Green matched her teammates’ marks while Rose Domonoske ’21 and Kate Nelson ’21 supported with 9.575 and 9.600, respectively.
After an explosive second rotation, the Bears settled in and took advantage of the quad meet’s exciting environment.
“We did a great job today staying calm but also feeding off the energy of the big arena,” Christman said. “After floor, we were pretty determined to make vault a good rotation, and after the success of vault, everyone felt the calm confidence that definitely helped for bars and beam.”
Bruno looked consistent on the uneven bars as five gymnasts scored above a 9.600. Anya Olson ’18 and co-captain Claire Ryan ’18 posted twin scores of 9.650 in the center of the lineup, and Erin Howell ’20 supported with a 9.652. Emma Hansen ’21 led the team on the event with a 9.800, putting the Bears in a solid position going into the last rotation.
Brown’s final event, the balance beam, was highlighted by powerful acro series and clutch performances by rookies in the middle of the lineup.
“Through the season, our beam has been pretty solid, so I know we all just gain confidence every meet,” Domonoske said. “We’re trying to go all out and just be as aggressive as possible.”
Domonoske left little room for deduction in her routine, sticking her full-twisting dismount en route to a career-high 9.800, while fellow first-year Hansen upped her own personal best to a 9.725. Ryan and Cassidy Jung ’19 contributed scores of 9.625 and 9.675 while the Bears’ “beam queen” Regan Butchness ’18 closed the competition with a 9.750.
With one remaining regular season meet left before the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships, Bruno is concentrating on fine-tuning performances and possibly upping the difficulty of some routines.
“(We’re) keeping our focus on doing what we can do and not letting what other people do affect us,” Christman said. “As far as gymnastics skills, getting all the little details like landings, any form that is potentially contributing to lower scores … those nitpicky things have been a focus … and just going big because we have nothing to lose.”
A quad meet at the University of Bridgeport Saturday and the ECAC Championships are Brown’s last chances to raise their regional qualifying score in order to receive a bid to Nationals and qualify individual athletes to the NCAA Regional Championships. The Bears have competed at Nationals for the last five seasons and hope to keep the streak alive this year.
Brown has another opportunity to increase its team score as the Bears face off against Bridgeport, Yale and the Centenary College of Louisiana Saturday at 6:30 p.m.