NEW HAVEN, CT- Southern Connecticut scored 186.600, and Yale was unable to field a full lineup but put up numerous individual scores. Alina Liao of Yale had a 38.75 to win the All Around. She also won the Beam with a 9.7 and Floor with a 9.850. Justine Basley of SCSU scored a 9.525 to win the Vault, and Sarah Darst of SCSU had a 9.725 on the Bars.
For Yale, the Bulldogs put up four gymnasts on two events but still had five gymnasts on Bars and Beam. Allison Mak had 37.3 in the all around as well. Liao and Mak both had 9.5s on the Vault, for second place in the competition. Sherry Yang returned to competition and posted a 9.1 on the Vault, 9.15 on the beam, and a 9.0 on the Floor. With Lauren Tatsuno out of the lineup this week and Brigitte Kivisto on only one event, Yang’s contributions were specially critical in keeping the scores stable. Sarah Hughes continued to compete in the all around. She is generally a Floor and Bars specialist but has taken on the added roles and has posted an important 8.85 on the Beam, as well as another consistent 9.4 on the Floor. She added on her vault and bars score. Kivisto returned to the beam and put up a 9.3 tied for 2nd among her team with Mak, who also had a 9.425 on the Bars as well good for second among white and blue and a 9.075 on the Floor. Claude de Jocas and Margaret Greenberg continued to contribute on the Bars.
Yale’s Bars routines feature some unique moves. Mak does a maneuver where she pulls out of a handstand in a straddle and rolls around the high bar into a release to the low bar. de Jocas and Hughes both do Tkatchevs. Liao gets high scores but does not utilize any of the big three release moves in her routine to do so. The Beam is still the team’s highest scoring event, though the lineup has been broken up by injuries and illness throughout the year, but with Hughes and Yang as solid lead in, at their best Mak, Kivisto, Tatsuno, and Liao were the a high impact finishing four. On the Floor, despite being unable many nights to get all six of the gymnasts onto the floor, their lineup in the aggregate is a very solid one. Mak, Yang, and Hughes open things up with consistently their diverse music selections, choregraphy, and tumbling, which is followed by Kivisto’s big band impact routine, Tatsuno’s quirky performance, and Liao’s rock based anchor routine. All involve several twisting tumbling passes.
For SCSU, Stephanie Kuska was 2nd among the Owls with a 9.475, Briana DiPinto third with a 9.425, and Taylor Wierzba and Michelle Steel rounded out the counted scores not far behind. On the Bars, behind Darst and Basley, Samantha Laraway, and Kuska posted scores above 9 and Arianna Mallardi added in the fifth counted score. She would go on to add the second highest southern score of 9.425 on Beam which was good enough for third in the meet. Wierzba and Basley weren’t far behind either and Kiback added in the last counted score. On the Floor, Laraway had a 9.5 and Wierzba a 9.4 for the fourth and fifth best scores of the meet. Mallardi added the last counted score as well.
On Bars, Hollensworth and Laraway do Tkatchevs, and Kuska a Gienger. Basley and Darst both got the team’s highest scores without one of the three release moves. It’s easy to focus on the scores, but some of the routines earlier in the lineup have what look like the more spectacular elements for the fans so it’s a mix. On the Beam, there’s plenty of action going on, including a number of unique dismounts including a couple SCSU gymnasts doing a side split, and immediately upon landing back twisting off, others like Basley do a full flip to the side of the beam with nothing more than a gainer kick to get going. Briana Dipinto flies to one and a half twists on her way off the beam after a round off entry.
On the Floor, the Owls keep things interesting as usual putting out a group of solid scoring and choreographed routines with a lot of various music choices. Basley integrates her dance elements to the rock song “Black Betty” along with the various difficult tumbling elements including one and a half twists. DiPinto continues to use dramatic orchestral fanfares as a backdrop to her performance which has two twisting tumbling passes. Wierzba, Laraway, and Mallardi also included twisting passes as well and Darst has more direction changing passes in her efforts which have scored well.