NEW HAVEN, Conn - First-year Jacey Baldovino is a four-event all-around gymnast for the Yale Bulldogs gymnastics team. She joins Yale gymnastics after her successful reign during her time as a USAG gymnast at San Mateo Gymnastics in California's Bay Area.
Baldovino represented her Region at the Junior Olympic National Championships three times, placing fifth and seventh on uneven bars and balance beam in 2016, and placing second on beam in 2017. During her time as a level 10, the rookie won first-place at both State and Regional Championships on beam for two consecutive years and has over five State and Regional first-place titles on uneven bars, floor exercise and the all-around. She came into her first season fully prepared to contribute to this record-breaking team.
Out of 44 opportunities to compete (11 competitions; four events), Baldovino has competed in 42 of them as a first-year. She holds seven individual records in program history out of the 17 made this season. The Rookie of the Year has contributed to all six team records broken as well as 14 of the 16 event team program records.
Baldovino's Top 10 School Records:
Seventh highest score in vault history
First-, second- and third-highest beam score in program history
Third, fourth and tenth spot in all-around history
As for her individual events of the 2018 season, the California native has many accomplishments. On the vault, she has placed top five in five competitions throughout the season. Baldovino matched this same record on the uneven bars. Her event speciality, the balance beam, proves to be her greatest record thus far, placing top 10 at nine competitions, four of those being first-place finishes. At seven meets, the Bulldog placed top 10 on floor exercise. Overall, this student-athlete has placed top four in the all-around at nine meets, four of those being first-place titles.
Season High Scores:
Vault - 9.800
Bars - 9.850
Beam - 9.925
Floor - 9.825
All-Around - 39.250
Q & A with Rookie of the Year:
What is your favorite gymnastics memory?
"My favorite gymnastics memory was when I caught my first jaeger! I was so surprised when I caught the bar and my coaches were so proud of me. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of practice."
"I chose Yale because of its driven community. I thrive in an environment that pushes me to my limit and beyond because I know it will allow me to reach my full potential. I saw this not only in the academics but also the gymnastic team at Yale."
What were your first thoughts competing as a Division One, Ivy League gymnast?
"I was so excited to be a Division One Ivy League Gymnast. I knew it would be a lot of work because grades and schoolwork are just as big of a commitment as training, but it was a challenge I was ready to take on."
Did Yale gymnastics exceed your expectations?
"This team has exceeded all my expectations in every aspect. The amount of energy and support this team provides is more than I could ever imagine."
How is your first season going?
"This season has been such an incredible experience so far. Not only has it been so much fun competing with the team, Ive also seen myself grow as a gymnast and a person in the gym and on the competition floor."
Do you have a pre-meet ritual?
"I don't have a pre-meet ritual but I listen to music before every meet. I have a "meet day" Spotify playlist that I always listen to."
What team you most look forward to competing against at Nationals?
"I'm looking forward to competing against all of the teams who aren't in the ECAC, since i've never seen their gymnastics before."
What is your top skill? What skill do you need to improve?
"I would say my top skill is my piked jaeger. I definitely need to improve my vault."
How did it feel winning the Ivy Classic team title?
"Winning as a team was the most exhilarating competition of my life. The energy was insane, especially after our floor rotation. We achieved three of our team goals, it was amazing."
What were your goals heading into ECAC's?
"My goal was to compete every event with the same amount of confidence I had at the beginning of season. I definitely held back these past few meets, so it's something I would like to improve on going into our conference championship.
What are your goals for USA Collegiate Nationals?
"My goal for Nationals is similar to my goal for ECACs, to compete to the best of my ability, being confident in all that I have worked for and to have fun while doing it."
report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity