The gymnastics team beat the University of Bridgeport at the Pizzitola Sports Center with a season-high team score of 194.600 in a dual meet Sunday.
The team’s score was also the second highest in program history, falling short of the program record of 195.175 set in 2016.
The team saw multiple individual season highs during the meet, including a score of 9.975 from co-captain Mei Li Costa ’22 on bars. Costa received a perfect 10.000 from one of two judges on bars, the first perfect score awarded to a Bear in any event in program history.
“We knew that they had this in them, and it just all came together today,” Head Coach Sarah Carver-Milne said. “They had the right mindset. They were united as a team. They really were calm and confident throughout the entire competition and kept the energy up, and the results showed.”
The Sunday meet followed a quad meet on Friday at Rutgers University, where the team posted a score of 192.825 and finished third behind North Carolina State University and Rutgers University.
The team recovered well from Friday’s quad meet in the matchup against Bridgeport, finishing strong on all four events. The team earned its season best on floor and tied its season bests on both bars and beam.
“We understand that everybody's so exhausted at this point in the season, especially with this weekend’s double meet,” Julia Bedell ’25 said. “But we just went in truly as a united team, and I really do think that helped us … pull out that amazing team score.”
Starting on vault, the team recovered quickly from an early fall, hitting five vaults in a row. Alyssa Gardner ’22 tied her season best of 9.725, Bedell received her season best of 9.825 and Costa rounded out the vault lineup with a 9.775.
On bars, Paige Richter ’24 posted a 9.775 to tie her career high, and Taylor Schulze ’25 and Abby Contello ’23 both received season-high scores with a 9.850 and a 9.825, respectively. Costa anchored the lineup, nailing her routine through her dismount. Her performance prompted enthusiastic response from her teammates, who rushed around her once she finished her routine, buzzing and chanting “ten, ten, ten.”
Costa’s combined score of 9.975 breaks the bars record of 9.925 she set earlier in the season on Feb. 5. Altogether, Bruno received a score of 48.975 on bars.
“I’m super excited,” Costa said. “I was really trying to just stay present and leave expectations behind, to just do the best that I could today, and luckily it worked out.”
On beam, despite a fall midway through the lineup, the Bears tied their season high with a score of 48.150. Lauren Lazaro ’23 kicked off with a 9.650, and Contello and Shulze finished up the event with scores of 9.675 and 9.700, respectively.
“We really just want to stay behind each other as best we can,” Costa said. “We’re cheering as loud as we can for every single person that’s going, whether they make a mistake or not … Our biggest asset is that we really know how to support each other, and that’s how we have a day like today.”
The team finished strong on floor with a season best of 48.925. Lazaro kicked off the event with a 9.650, and each gymnast that followed received a higher score than the last. Lauren Kramer ’24 and Angela Xing ’24 received career high scores of 9.700 and 9.825, respectively, and Bedell finished off the event with a 9.875, another season high.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident now than even how I felt a week or two ago,” Bedell said. “I’ve just had so many opportunities to safely compete these routines and this specific vault … and at this point I feel like I’m just perfecting really small details.”
“Even at this meet we had places that we could spot that we needed to fix up on, so there is a lot of room for improvement,” Bedell added. “But this meet was a huge confidence boost for our team because it kind of proves to ourselves that we are capable of doing this.”
With Sunday’s score of 194.600, the Bears rank fourth out of the eight teams in the Gymnastics East Conference by National Qualifying Score, a statistic based on previous meet scores. NQS is used to determine which teams qualify for the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships in April. According to Carver-Milne, the team’s goal is to win the conference meet March 19 and qualify as a team for nationals.
“We’re fighting for a spot at nationals right now as a team, and this is what we needed to do,” Carver-Milne said. “Instead of getting nervous about it, (the team) is fighting for it.”
Brown will compete at home against the University of Bridgeport again on Friday, followed by a Sunday quad meet at the University of New Hampshire. The following weekend Brown will compete in the GEC Championships on familiar territory in the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying English and French.