by David F.P.
(All scores from Troester unless otherwise noted, the actual results come from me being there. I do my best with the moves, but I use very few technical names at this juncture. I apologize for any mistakes in terminology or identifications and urge any corrections to be sent to me. This pursuit has been a learning process for me. I also don’t count the number twists and flips, it’s taking me some time to develop an eye for just how many times the gymnasts are flipping or twisting. I realize this leads to less detail than perhaps readers might want but it’s all I can manage right now. )
URI at Yale (2-17-07)
As I walked across the New Haven green and made my way across the Yale campus, a mix of courtyards and buildings from another era, I wondered what I would find when the URI Rams and the Yale Bulldogs met in a rematch from both team’s season openers. Since that time Yale has maintained a relatively stable lineup, URI however has had to deal with a variety of injuries which have hit some of their top veterans and up and coming rookies.
I made my way into Lee Ampitheatre on the wing of Payne Whitney Gymnasium about a half hour before the meet and began to worry as the gym was nearly empty. The warm ups wrapped up and more spectators began to fill in, and around the time the meet itself started, the crowd had swollen swell and Yale’s student section would largely be filled with Bulldog fans from end to end. On the other side the URI fan had formed a cluster of support, in a separate section, the familiar massive Yale banner supplied by some fans was spread across railing. Dotted throughout the arena are signs in support of various athletes, appearing and disappearing depending on what even the team was on at one time.
Into this arena would enter a variety of potential regional attendees. While both teams are currently not in a position to make it as a team, the All Around and Individual qualifying is a different story assuming that Michigan, Penn, Rutgers, UNH, and Pitt are likely going to be the team qualifiers. According to the Troester scores, Rhode Island’s Kelly Gurney lead all the All Arounders not on the aforementioned teams going into the meet. Alina Liao sits at third and there’s a lot of potential athletes trying to get those five spots. On the individual event side, where only one competitor from a non qualifying team can make it, there are a lot of people in the hunt. URI’s Ananda Fraser and Yale’s Miki Seltzer are among a large group of gymnasts in the rankings on Vault. I don’t know how the math would work out, but Lauren Tatsuno of Yale and Gurney aren’t that far behind the others. Gurney is second in the Uneven Bars among potentially non-qualifying teams. On the Beam, it’s a bit murkier, but Liao and Gurney could be in the running. Finally on the Floor, Miki Seltzer leads everyone among teams who probably won’t make it as of now. Gurney would have some work to do to get to the top of vault. Liao might be in the running as well.
And the season is by no means over either, there’s a lot of time before the season closes. The ECAC Championships isn’t until late March, so there’s a lot of gymnastics left. Both crowds, though Yale obviously outnumbered URI, made themselves heard. The gymnasts themselves seemed very upbeat, to the point it was noticeable over other meets, including last year’s meeting between the two. The Yale crowd often let loose a barrage of chants in support of specific athletes, which was a new experience. There was also something, that I had rarely seen at gymnastics meets, though it might just have been I had noticed it this week. There was a greater degree of clapping with the beam routines. The Yale gymnasts got quite an ovation when they hit their difficult sequences especially. Rarely have I seen much clapping for individual elements before.
URI began on the Bars and Jamie Reyell went first. Her routine included a gienger, a flying high to low transition and a back tuck dismount that was stuck. Alex Tirado followed with a routine including an release high to low transition as well as a back tuck dismount. Ananda Fraser would follow with a routine with a lot of grip changes. She did a low to high transition straddled and a high to low transition. She back tucked off and stuck the landing.
Erica Heaney mounted the bars leaping over the low bar to the high bar. She did a tkatchev and also did a back high to low aerial transition to a handstand and immediately followed it by traveling back aerial from the low to high bar. Her dismount was a back tuck and she scored a 9.625 for her efforts. Kelly Gurney has a jaeger, a high to low aerial transition, and a back layout dismount which she stuck to net her a 9.7. Kerry Cutler did a high to low transition and a low to high transition with jumps. She does a back tuck dismount and she stuck it today.
Over on the Vault Laura Lombardi lead of with her front entry back pike vault for a 9.25. Alina Liao rounded off onto the apparatus, and did her back layout off, hopping slightly, and scored a 9.55. Jessica Tai’s vault is still indescribable as it involves a twist across the table, with some steps on the landing for a 9.4. Lauren Tatsuno did a round off on and a back layout off with steps on the landing to acquire a 9.525. She seems to have a lot of power behind this vault. Miki Seltzer, did her round off on, and back twisted off, with a step. She would score a 9.65.
URI moved to Vault. Bridget Hild lead off on and was followed by Erica Heaney. Heaney’s vault was a Round off on, followed by a front tuck on. Her score was a 9.45. Lauren Wasilewski did a front tuck off the vault and stepped, but still notched a 9.35. Kara Machado followed up with a front entry, back layout that was stuck and also brought the team a 9.35. Kelly Gurney followed and won herself a 9.6 by sticking a round off on, back layout off. Ananda Fraser topped her teammate with a 9.725 with a stuck front pike vault that had a great deal of height and power attached to it.
Back on the Bars, Yale’s Cynthia Leung lead off with a 9.25. She began with a mount from the back to the high bar, and a high to low and low to high aerial transition. She back tucked off and stuck the landing. Brigitte Kivisto followed, she has one high to low release transition. She also does a back layout dismount off and stuck it that afternoon. Suchitra Paul was next, and she also entered the Bars from the back and leapt to the high bar. She does a gienger and has one high to low release transition. Her dismount was a back tuck maneuver. Laura Lombardi would follow her in the lineup. Specialist Jessica Blick does a twist while changing grip before releasing high to low. On the low bar she swings in a straddled move under the bar right to a low to high straddled transition. She did a back pike off and basically stuck it scoring a 9.4. Alina Liao leaps onto the bars from the back like many of her teammates. She does a high to low and low to high aerial transition. She back layouts off the bars and landed this routine with a step. She topped Yale’s bars performances with a 9.5
URI moved to the Floor, and Yale to the Beam with the team scores close. At the time, URI had come away with a 47.475 on Vault and Yale had a 47.375 on that event. URI had a 46.575 on Bars, and Yale had a 46.15 on Bars. URI entered Rotation 3 with a .5 lead.
Reyell opened the Floor for URI with a rock based routine. Her tumbling passes consisted of a twisting move for the opener, followed by a twisting and front flipping 2nd pass. Her final pass some a snapping layout and front flip. Bridget Hild’s routine had a background music I find hard to classify, but it really fit a sports performance. She does a back pike in the opener, front layouts for pass 2, and twists on pass 3. Kara Machado has a drum danceish beat piece based routine. She opens with twists and a front flip. The second pass has a twist then a layout. She finishes with twists and a front layout. Drums in her music fit well with her dancing prior to the 3rd pass which is built up to by the mood set the beat. She scored a 9.35 for the routine
Jade Bundra’s routine has a drum background, though unlike any of her other teammates. She opens with twists and a front flip. Pass two has twists and a front layout. The drum beat then speeds up and pass 3 has twists and a front flip. She scored a 9.375. Casey Pereira has an exotic background music which builds into a fast based dance beat. She opens with twists on her first pass. More twists follow on pass 2, and finally pass 3 has twists and a front flip. Between pass 2 and 3 the music slows for dancing, but builds back up for the finale pass. This meet she had a 9.375 as well.
Kelly Gurney closed out the rotation. Her performance opens with “I just died in your arms tonight” before getting fast paced. She does a powerful back pike. Her second pass has twists. Eventually her music slips into a contemporary song for the last pass, which involves twists and flips. She hit a 9.725 this meet.
Over on Beam it was a bit harder to follow. Sarah Campbell, Allison Mak, and Laura Lombardi put solid scores up. Suchitra Paul then scored a 9 .4, and Lauren Tatsuno and Alina Liao followed that up with a 9.725 and 9.775 respectively. From what I could catch between URI’s floor exercises, Lombardi does a variety of jump combos. Paul has a triple element back tumbling pass. She also follows a split type leap before leaping down and catching the beam amidst her routine. Tatsuno has a powerful tumbling pass during her routine as well. Liao has an element where it basically looks like she takes off from one foot and does a side flip on the beam. She also turns on one bent leg while holding the other out in a dance move that looks quite precarious.
After 3 rotations, the scores were very tight with URI at 140.775 and Yale at 140.525.
On the Beam URI counted a 9.25 from Periera, 9.15 from Bundra, 9.425 from Hild, 9.525 from Ginsburg, and a 9.7 from Gurney.
On Floor, Yale lead off with Sarah Hughes. Her music seemed to be reminiscent of ballroom dancing, but worked very well for a floor routine. She began with twists in her opening pass and her second pass had a front layout and front flip. Finally she wrapped up with some twists. Jessica Tai has a mix of orchestral and slow dance music. She opens with a front flip and tumbling twists. Her last two passes also involved twists as well. Lauren Tatsuno begins her floor performance with a rock song, which is also the opening to a Japanese television show, and front flips into a tumbling pass which ends with a back tuck. In the 2nd pass she has a layout and twists. The music slows to a slower rock piece, and becomes almost orchestral before building up into the original piece for the twisting tumbling finale.
Suchitra Paul’s new music has a dance beat. Pass number 1 has a powerful back tuck. Her second pass has 2 layouts. Finally she wraps up with some twists. Alina Liao’s routine opens with “Wherever I may Roam” by Metallica and she twists and does a really fast front flip immediately afterward. The music slows and builds into “Enter the Sandman” before pass two which has a back pike. The music slows again and dips back into the first piece before “Sandman” takes over for the final twisting pass. Miki Seltzer’s new routine uses a song from the Matrix Soundtrack. Her first pass is a twist, the second has a powerful back pike move. Finally she ends with twists and a layout. The music slows in the middle of the routine but she keeps flying around during the dance with several aerial moves. For their efforts, Tatsuno notched a 9.6, Paul a 9.6, Liao a 9.675, and Seltzer a 9.575.
In the end the team scores were razor thin close, so close the scores were checked several times. with Yale scoring a 187.8 to URI’s 187.775. Gurney would win the All Around with a 38.725, inching out Liao who had a 38.5. Fraser took the Vault, with Seltzer coming in second, and Gurney third. Gurney would win the Bars, with teammate Erica Heaney coming in second, and Liao third. Liao would capture the Beam title for herself, with teammate Lauren Tatsuno right behind, and Gurney third. On the Floor, Gurney would capture her second event title of the night, with Liao and Yale’s Suchitra Paul following.
Both teams are in action this week, as URI is at Rutgers and Yale is at the Ivy League Classic.