Want to see a meet in New England? Maybe this will help out a bit.
by David F.P.
Obviously for detailed driving directions and maps you can seek out internet sites with that information, but maybe this will help a bit.
I’m covering the teams in order from North to South.
Visiting a University of New Hampshire (UNH) Meet.
UNH is located in Durham, New Hampshire which is fairly close to Portsmouth. As far as I can tell it is reachable by a combination of highways and some smaller roads (much like my alma mater UConn is.) UNH can also be reached by other methods, though the most prominent is the train which stops literally next to the UNH athletic complexes. There is a large parking lot open to visitors next to the Whittemore Center which sits right across the street from Lundholm Gymnasium.
Almost all UNH meets are in Lundholm though one a year is in the Whittemore Center, which is a giant hockey arena that can be converted into a gymnastics venue, as it has been in the past.
Lundholm Gymnasium Diagram (Not to scale.)
Lundholm’s seats are exclusively bleachers which are available in great quantity’s stretching up to the ceiling. One half of the arena’s basketball seating is made available. The vault runs from right to left with the scorer’s table seperating the stands from it. Beyond the Vault the Floor and Beam sit next to each other. The Floor is on the right, the beam on the left, and behind the Beam is the Bars.
Unlike many meets in the northeast, there is an admission charge to attend a UNH meet, but it is a small one.
Visiting a Brown University meet.
Brown University, one of the four Ivy League teams in collegiate gymnastics sits in Providence, Rhode Island. There are highways that approach Providence from the north, south, and west. Once in Providence it is a bit tricky to get around city roads, but not awful. Though I must warn any driver that the roads on the Brown campus get narrowed considerably by cars parked along the street, and there is also a lot of one way roads to keep track of. Once you make it to the Pizzitola Center on the edge of the main campus there is generally plenty of parking. There are spaces in front of the arena as well as behind it by the football practice fields. You can also get to Brown from downtown Providence, or the suburbs via trolley, bus, or taxi.
Once at the Pizzitola center you walk in the main doors, and entrances to the gym are on the left and right. There are always bleacher seats on one wall, and quite a lot of them. There is also an extra section on a side wall available as well at times. In my experience it is not as packed as smaller venues like MIT, however at Ivies last year with four groups of fans and other visitors there it was a fairly filled competition. It is possible to see all the events from any seat for the most part, though the gym is very spread out so one event may be off in the distance. Seat selection is a bit more important at Brown than at other New England venues since it’s a bit harder to move and find another seat should you need to.
Pizzitola Center (Not to scale)
The competition floor is level with where the bleachers begin, though obviously if you’re up high you’re well off the floor so you’ll be looking down on the event. It depends on one’s preference whether they want a higher view or a view level with the athletes themselves. The Vault runs along the back, the floor sits front and center. The beam is to the right, and the bars to the left. Each apparatus is farther away from the others as compared to other venues.
Meets have been free as long as I have attended them.
Visiting a Yale University meet.
Yale University, also of Ivy League fame is located in New Haven, Connecticut. Getting to Yale normally involves some sort of highway or route, and then driving through part of downtown New Haven or the Yale Campus itself. It’s just a few blocks however. Just keep an eye out for one way roads. There is a parking lot behind the gym which fills up quickly as well as pay parking lot very nearby on Broadway. Yale attracts a lot of visitors so parking theoretically shouldn’t be a problem. There appears to be plenty of parking nearby.
Yale’s venue, Payne Whitney Gym, sits on the edge of campus in an immaculate building that blends in with the older regal buildings that make up the old campus. The architecture inside also matches the outside still resembling a library or church rather than an athletics venue. It is truly a unique visit. When you enter Paine Whitney, I believe the only entrance is from the front, you’ll be in a large lobby in front of you are workers which handle the gate into the recreational facility. You don’t
need to worry about them as the venue is not beyond the gate but instead to the right.
The arena itself is also a unique setup. There are wooden chair back seats on the left and right walls of the gym. The competition floor sits below offering all fans balcony type sitting. The entrance area and the opposite site offer balconies useful to photographers or visitors just looking to get a different view. From most seats all four competition events can be seen fairly clearly as well.
Lee Ampitheater in Payne Whitney Gymnasium. (Not to scale)
If one is looking at the gym from the entrance the Floor is in the back basically in the center. The beam sits to its right, the vault sits to it left. The bars are closer to the entrance basically below the floor and beam. All the seats are located in balcony style seating above the venue.
Yale regular season meets have always been free as long as I have gone there.
Visiting a Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) meet.
SCSU is right over the New Haven-Hamden border in New Haven, Connecticut.
Getting to SCSU generally involves I-91 or I-95 depending on where you’re coming from. Either way, one has to get off the highway and work their way through Hamden or New Haven to get to the campus, though it generally looks to be close to each highway exit. I only am familiar with one of the routes though that route seemed straightforward enough.
Parking is in my experience easy, there’s plenty of room outside of the field house, and there is no charge for parking. The venue is also right across from the SCSU police station.
SCSU’s arena sits in the main sports complex at the edge of the campus. A walk inside the arena past symbols of past athletics events brings one up to the second floor of the building and into the arena. SCSU also has a balcony setup of bleacher seats lining two sides of the gym. The apparatus are spread across the spacious gym, which means it is harder to get a view of all four events from one seat. However, there are so many seats that it is generally easier to move to a different seat to get a different view.
Moore Fieldhouse (Not to scale)
As one enters the floor is directly ahead, behind it is the uneven bars to the right and the vault to the left, the beam is beyond the uneven bars on the right. The events are spaced out quite a bit so seating is an issue. Many fans will change seats depending on who is on what event.
There has been no charge so far to attend SCSU meets.
Visiting a Bridgeport Meet
Admittedly I’ve only been to one meet at UB, as they’ve had very few home meets recently, and I didn’t drive, though I had trouble parking on my last visit to Bridgeport (though that was on a weekday.) Here’s the layout as of 2007.
Wheeler Recreation Center (Not to scale)
The seats are actually folding chairs at floor level but there are many of them. A lot of people do stand however, at least they did at ECACs. The bars are in front, the beam is on the left, the floor sits in the back and the vault behind it.
The Wheeler Recreation Center is tucked along one of UB’s streets. The last time I visited for a meet I took a Taxi so I’m not the best at directions this time around.