by David F.P.
(Scores are from my notes, verified from Troester. As usual I try to be as informative as possible despite my limited knowledge of move names at this time. I also describe the moves as I see them. Please let me know of any errors.)
URI’s Senior Night would take place in the smaller venue of Mackal Field House as opposed to the larger spacious Keaney Gymnasium, but the smaller size of the arena only intensified the noise and enthusiasm from those in the stands. URI marched in to a cheer and then both teams took their places to be introduced. Among them five URI seniors, Jade Bundra, Kelly Gurney, Erica Heaney, Emily Rinaldo, and Kylie Tanner. While Rinaldo would sit out this meet dealing with an injury, Tanner would return to competition and the other three would continue in their usual events. For the Bridgeport Purple, this would be their last meet before hosting the Division 2 ECAC Championships. The Rhode Island Rams have a pair of road meets before closing out the season at the ECAC Division 1 Championships.
The announcer for URI opened the event by thanking the fans for attending, even as the URI basketball team played elsewhere for the Atlantic 10 Championship. He also admonished NOT to be quiet during the meet. It set an upbeat and downright loose tone, somewhat reminiscent of the mood at the cozy MIT events, and nonetheless I think an appropriate one. The stands were quite filled with fans and more arrived throughout the night.
The meet started out well for the Rams as they went to vault. Alex Tirado opened by tumbling onto the springboard and doing a back layout dismount off the vaulting horse 9.525, Kara Machado followed right behind with a 9.4 back layout vault, Lauren Wasilewski picked up a 9.425 with a front tuck. Erica Heaney tumbled into her entry and twisted and flipped off on her way to a 9.6. Kelly Gurney did a round off, twisting tuck off to a 9.65, and Ananda Fraser’s scored a season high 9.75 with a front pike that has so much distance on it, it looks like she’ll land in Connecticut by the end of it. URI wasn’t done as it put up three gymnasts in exhibition as well. Melanie Mauro hit a 9.2 by tumbling in and back tucking off, Jade Bundra made a rare Vault appearance doing a round off in and back pike off for a 9.35, and Jamie Reyell scored a 9.35 tumbling in and leaving the horse with a back pike. It’s one thing to go 6 for 6, but URI would have appeared to go 9 for 9 this time.
Bridgeport opened up on Bars. Amidst some back tuck dismounts and a twist or two, was Leila Behbahani’s several grip changes amidst her routine, Carissa Huggin’s Jaeger release and later a, front tuck dismount, and Brandi Embrey’s 9.5 routine that included a Geinger and a back tuck.
URI’s turn came on the Bars, and with Fraser and Tirado starting things solidly. Fraser uses a wide variety of grip changes amidst her effort, and she and Tirado do back tucks off. Next came Reyell who put up a 9.6 with a routine including a Geinger release and a stuck back tuck dismount. Kylie Tanner would follow and hit a 9.625 in what I believe was her first meet in long while. Her routine included a straddled Jaeger release and back layouts on the dismount. Reyell and Tanner both followed up their releases with a high to low bar transition. Fellow Senior Heaney scored a 9.525 with a Tkatchev release and back tuck dismount, and Gurney closed things out with a season high 9.775 after a Jaeger and back layout dismount. Kerry Cutler exhibitioned as well on the event as well.
Bridgeport did pretty well on Vault including Niki Faye Calderon’s round off on, back pike off to 9.25, Carissa Huggins’ tumble on and back layout off to a 9.425, Tori Aarts 9.425, and Katherine Reitz’s tumble on, back layout off 9.45.
Then came the Beam where URI would have 3 falls, 2 of which would need to be counted unfortunately. Off the gymnasts who didn’t fall was Bridget Hild who lead things off with a 9.2, Erica Heaney picked up a 9.425, and Kelly Gurney a 9.65. Hild does a twisting dismount, Heaney front flips onto the beam, has a back tumbling pass, and front twists to dismount from the apparatus. Gurney front flips onto the beam as well, does a back tumbling pass, and tumbles into a twist flip off the side of the beam. Jade Bundra also uses a front flip to mount the beam, and Casey Pereira has a unique balancing move on her entry on. Jordana Ginsburg’s routine has more than one instance of two jumps in a row, and ends with a tumble into a twisting dismount.
Over on Floor, the event that was the hardest to see, UB had picked up some good scores including Carissa Huggins’ 9.3, Kelsey Fox’s 9.35, Victoria Aarts’ 9.5 and Katherine Reitz’s 9.55.
URI would finish on the Floor and I unfortunately didn’t get to see much of it due to the architecture of the gym and my attempt to get some Beam vids. The rotation went very well though as Kara Machado opened with a 9.525, Bridget Hild followed with a 9.425, Jade Bundra had 9.375, and Casey Pereira a 9.45, Ananda Fraser than blasted up the scoreboard with a season high 9.8 and was only topped by Kelly Gurney’s season high 9.825. Jamie Reyell also exhibitioned and scored a 9.475.
On beam Bridgeport had no falls among its six competitors. Kelsey Fox had a 9.075, Katherine Reitz 9.375 and Carissa Huggins lead her team with a 9.425. Fox’s routine has an interesting tumbling sequence, a pair of jump combos, and a front twist flip dismount. Reitz back pikes off to the side of the beam. Huggins has a back tumbling pass, and tumbles to a twisting flip off of the beam for a dismount.
In the All Around, Rhody’s Kelly Gurney would end up with a season high 38.9, followed by Bridgeport’s Carissa Huggins with a 37.15, Katherine Reitz’s 36.975, and Shannon Cain’s 34.6. Final scores URI 189.75- Bridgeport 183.65 (These scores from Troester.)
The meet was followed by a ceremony saluting the URI Senior class, though I was unable to stay to witness it. I have seen a lot of URI in the past and I hope to continue in the future. The team will have to change a next year with the departure of so many seniors, but tonight’s meet gave not only a chance for those who are graduating to perform once more for the home crowd, but also give a large glimpse of those who will take their place possibly in the lineup and those who will continue to wear the Rhody colors next season.