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The Latest: Cornell takes third consecutive Ivy Classic Title. Yale’s Kivisto wins All Around

by David F.P. [Photo Gallery] 2-28-10

PROVIDENCE, RI- The four members of the Ivy League who field Gymnastics team took to the floor this afternoon in the annual Ivy Classic. Coach John Ceralde’s Pennsylvania Quakers, Coach Barbara Tonry’s Yale Bulldogs, and Paul Beckwith’s Cornell Big Red, took on the host team, Sara Carver-Milne’s Brown Bears amidst a good crowd in Brown’s Pizzitola Center, including fans from all four schools, as well as some gentlemen clad in either USA or Canada colors reflecting the hockey game that was to take place after the meet. Even a small group from the Bridgeport gymnastics team (who shared the USAG title with Cornell last year) was in the house. Soon the four teams were marching in and Cornell set out to defend their title.

The Big Red would pull out to a good start in rotation 1 on Floor. They posted a 48.650 including a 9.775 from Brittany Howse, 9.825 from Maddie Pearsall, and a 9.850 from Emily Santoro. This gave the defending champs a lead which they were able to hold throughout the meet and win their third title in a row. Cornell posted a season high 192.550, Brown was second with a 189.675, which was also a season high, and Penn put up a score 3 points above their last highest score with a 189.550. Yale scored a 187.500 for fourth.

Two members of the Big Red also captured Vault titles, as Emily Santoro and Kerri Lavallee each scored a 9.725 edging Yale Freshman Tara Feld. Lavallee actually defended her title, and share it with her teammate this year.

On the Uneven Bars, Penn’s Dana Bonincontri tied with Cornell’s Bethany Neczypor as each scored a 9.675, with Brown’s Julia Meyer a close second. Last year’s champion, Vida Rivera of Brown is not competing this year due to injury.

On the Beam, Brown’s Victoria (Vicki) Zanelli worked her way back from an injury to take 1st with a 9.775. Last year’s co-Champion, Cornell’s Melanie Standridge was 2nd with a 9.725.

On the Floor although Cornell had a good run, it was Yale Bulldog Brigitte Kivisto’s multi-twisting routine that captured first with a 9.875.

The All Around race was a tight one as well, and Kivisto picked up the win with a 38.550 edging Brown’s Carli Wiesenfeld and her 38.225. Kivisto keeps the All Around title in Yale hands as Alina Liao won the title in 2009 and 2008, as well as 2006, (Brown’s Alicia Sacramone won in 2007), adding in that Yale’s Anne McPherson won the title in 2005, and Kathryn Fong did it in 2003, a Yale Gymnast has won the All Around in six out of the past eight Ivy Classics.

Other highlights included Carli Wiesenfeld’s personal best on the Vault when she scored a 9.675. She also put up a career best 9.525 on Floor. Zanelli’s score was also a personal best.

Brown set a new season high on Beam of 47.725. Cornell set a new high of 47.9 on the Bars, and 48.650 on the Floor which helped build the winning score. Penn tied their season high on Vault, set a new high of 47.625 on Beam, and on Floor of 47.825. Yale had to deal with an injury which left them with only 5 gymnasts in the Beam rotation.

Wiesenfeld was Brown’s top vaulter on the day (good enough for 3rd) as she scored a 9.675 and Laura DiPaolo was 4th for Penn with a 9.625. Kivisto, and Cornell’s McKenna Archer and Maddie Pearsall rounded out the top 6 scorers.

Cornell’s Molly Parker was in 3rd place on the Bars with a 9.625 tying Yale’s Lindsay Andsager. CU’s Sarah Hein and Kivisto put up 9.6s for 4th, DiPaolo was 5th with a 9.550, and Pearsall 6th right behind her.

On the Beam Meyer was Brown’s top scorer with a 9.7 tying Bonincontri and Cornell’s Brittany Howse for third. Wiesenfeld was 4th, Katie Graham of Penn and Kim O’Donnell of CU were 5th with 9.625’s and Megan Milavec of U of P was sixth.

As mentioned before Santoro and Pearsall did well on Floor, placing 2nd and 3rd, Kirsten Strausbaugh of Penn and Howse put up 9.775s for fourth, Chelsey Binkley put up a 9.7 to lead Brown, and Bonincontri and Big Red team member Emily Lenk put up a 9.650.

In the All Around it was Strausbaugh third, Brown’s Emily Lutfey was 4th, Yale’s Allison Mak 5th, and Binkley 6th.

For Brown which has had their issues on Beam, the trifecta of Zanelli, Meyer, and Wiesenfeld scoring well provided an added boost, and senior Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt’s 9.475 contributed heavily as well as a foundation. The Bears also opened the meet solidly on Bars hitting landings (easily measured by the home crowd reaction). Brown’s Floor lineup also was solid despite not having the services of Helen Segal one of their highest scorers on that event. Yale continues to operate with a basically smaller lineup than their Ivy League peers, but Seniors Kivisto and Mak are providing the veteran high scoring, with Junior Sherry Yang and Sophomore Talis Trevino in the middle of the lineup, and freshmen Lindsay Andsager, Tara Feld, and Stephanie Goldstein all making impacts quickly in their first year. That trend continued in this meet.

Cornell started especially strong and finished strong despite being on the dangerous Beam in the fourth rotation they scored their 2nd highest event score of the meet. Cornell’s new season high is perhaps only eclipsed by Penn’s scoring jump, as the Quakers had a more low scoring start to the season, but are now scoring on par with the rest of the Ivy League.

Brown also honored former Gymnastics coach Jackie Court at the end of the meet for her long years of service.

There’s plenty of season left and all of these teams will meet again March 27th at ECAC Championships along with Towson, Temple, and William & Mary, plenty of meets before then.

The video coverage will be available soon.