NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale gymnastics team delivered its best performance of the 2018 season Saturday, as a team score of 194.275 resulted in the Don Tonry Invitational title. The score is fifth in the school record books. The 2018 team will go down in Yale history as the first to win a Don Tonry championship title. The Bulldogs edged out Bridgeport Purple Knights (194.225), SCSU (191.825) and Springfield (186.000).
Yale started off the competition on vault where first-year Jacey Baldovino earned the top spot for the Bulldogs. The rookie took fourth-place on the event, scoring 9.700. Sophomore Emma Firmstone started off the competition strong earning a 9.475. First-year Alyssa Firth performed a yurchenko full receiving a 9.700, giving her a new career high and placing her fourth. Junior Roxanne Trachtenberg finished top 10, scoring 9.625, tying her season high score. Sophomore Jade Buford performed a solid front vault for the Bulldogs, scoring a 9.650. Fellow Sophomore Rebecca Chong stuck her vault earning an impressive score of 9.700, earning her a fourth-place spot. Sophomore Anna Jennings rounded out this event for the bulldogs earning a 9.425.
The Bulldogs then rotated to the uneven bars, where junior Jessica Wang was the top scorer. Her score of 9.800 landed her in first place. Senior Meg Ryan made her first appearance of the day on bars, finishing closely behind Wang in fourth (9.725). Baldovino and Buford continued their all-around competitions with scores of 9.750 and 9.400. Firmstone also received a score of 9.400, continuing her all-around competition. This is a career high for Firmstone. Trachtenberg also competed on the uneven bars, scoring 9.675, placing her in the top 10. To finish off the lineup, Firth gave a solid performance to round out this event for the Bulldogs.
Balance beam was the best rotation of the day for the Bulldogs. The team's score of 49.050 is the first-highest score in school history. Baldovino was the top scorer; she earned an impressive career high of 9.925 and finished in first place. This is not only a career high for Baldovino, but places her first in Yale history. Close behind was Buford, with a score of 9.875, landing her in second-place with a new career high. Wang put up a spectacular score of 9.750, landing her in the top 10 with a new season high. Fellow junior Kiarra Alleyne made her debut of the day sticking her routine earning a new career high 9.750. First-year Charlotte Cooperman is back in action sticking her routine with a new career high of 9.750. Firth rounded out this rotation for the Bulldogs, scoring 9.500.
The final event for the Bulldogs proved to be the best (48.500). The team score on floor exercise is a season high for Yale. Buford finished her last event with a huge season-best performance. Her score of 9.775 landed her in a tie for second-place with Baldovino (9.775) This was another career high for Baldovino. Underclassmen continued to have strong performances, with Firmstone and Firth scoring 9.700 and 9.675. Alleyne and senior Sloane Smith received impressive scores of 9.575 and 9.500. Sophomore Sofia Menemenlis rounded out the lineup for Yale, scoring 9.525.
Baldovino, Buford and Firth were the three all-arounders for the Bulldogs. Baldovino took the title with a score of 39.150, which is not only a career high, but places her fifth in the Yale record books. Buford put up an impressive 38.700, securing her a third-place spot. Firth ended with a 37.575, placing her fifth.
The Bulldogs will once again compete in front of a home crowd Feb. 17, as William and Mary come to New Haven for a dual meet.
report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity