An injury early on in the year caused Yao to sit out for most of her junior season, but she came back to compete on vault in the last three meets. She put up a pair of 8.9s at the Penn State quad meet and at the ECAC Championships.
As a sophomore, Yao competed on vault in five meets, including the Ivy Classic. Her best performances were at Penn State and at home against URI, where she scored an 8.975.
During her rookie season, Yao competed on beam in three meets. In her first collegiate appearance, she won the ECAC Coaches' Choice Award. At a quad meet at Towson, she scored a 9.375 on beam.
Yao joined the Bulldogs from Northeast Gymnastics Center. As a level 9, she was State champion in the all-around, and qualified to both Regionals and the Eastern Championships. Yao graduated from Andover High School.