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Yale Gymnastics Adds Five Records to History Books

Sophomore Jacey Baldovino. Photo by Christopher Shannon. Christopher Shannon Photography.
Sophomore Jacey Baldovino. Photo by Christopher Shannon. Christopher Shannon Photography.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yale gymnastics broke five records and earned its 194.050 Friday night behind team scores of 48.350 on vault, 48.200 on bars, 49.025 on beam and 48.475 on floor. Host George Washington took home the title at the quad meet with a 195.400 and New Hampshire closely followed with a 194.925. William and Mary took fourth with a 189.925. Six Bulldogs finished the day on the podium as well as matched or surpassed their season highs.

"This weekend was a real stride in showing who we are - a team of artists. There is an invigorating spirit in the competition atmosphere and it is building an enormous trust and renewed belief in the team's story. We are ready to put it all together next weekend at home," said assistant coach Jason Collins

The Bulldogs started the night on floor, totaling a team score of 48.475. Sophomore Alyssa Firth highlighted the floor lineup with a 9.750 along with senior captain Kiarra Alleyne who followed close behind, earning a 9.725. Junior Emma Firmstone led the Bulldogs off with a hit routine of 9.750. Junior Rebecca Chong raised the bar, earning a 9.700. Sophomore Charlotte Cooperman opened with a huge front-tuck through to a two and a half-twist, posting a 9.625. Junior Jade Buford began her competition with 9.550 solid floor set. Sophomore Jacey Baldovino took the exhibition spot, ending with a solid hit routine.

"The vibrant energy of our team radiated the competition floor and set us off to an incredible first event," said first-year Seina Cho.

Yale then turned its attention to vault, tallying a team score of 48.350. This score lands this lineup as 10th highest score in school history. Junior Anna Jennings led off the second event with a well-executed full-twisting vault, tying her season-high score of a 9.675, earning overall top 10. Chong followed with a solid yurchenko-half to earn her a 9.750 third-place finish overall. Teammate Firth tied Chong with a 9.750, sharing the podium. This was a season-high score for Firth. Baldovino saw her way back into the vault lineup for the first time this season, performing a yurchenko-full (9.550). Buford contributed a 9.100 with her front-entry performance. Cooperman anchored the line-up with a yurchenko-layout full, posting a 9.625 and earning top 15. Senior Roxanne Trachtenberg took the exhibition spot.

The Bulldogs moved on to bars, finishing with a 48.200. First-years Lindsay Chia and Kendal Toy registered matching 9.675s to tie for 15th place in the event overall. Chia executed a beautiful bar set, adding in her new front-grip combo. Baldovino also had quite a strong performance, sticking her double-back dismount and posting a 9.800 to take fourth place overall. Buford and Trachtenberg followed, posting a 9.100 and 9.175. For senior anchor Jessica Wang, her massive 9.875 gave her the overall bar title. Firth earned exhibition spot with a gorgeous tkatchev release move and a stuck dismount routine.

The final rotation for the Bulldogs, balance beam, ended the meet on a strong note. The Bulldogs won this event out of all four teams. To start off the lineup, Cooperman earned a new career-high, continuing her momentum from third rotation into the fourth and pacing the squad with an outstanding 9.825 beam set. She earned fifth place. Alleyne followed with a stuck dismount and solid set of 9.750, placing her in the top 10. Firmstone followed with a 9.100 set. Wang put up a great beam routine with a double-twisting dismount (9.700). Chia finished her night off with an incredible 9.850 stuck routine, not only earning a new career- and season-high, but posting her first spot in the history books. Her score puts her eighth in Yale gymnastics beam history. The duo of Chia and Cooperman earned third- and fourth-place overall. Baldovino's new season-high 9.900 anchor-performance on beam propelled Yale to a 49.025 team score. This score is the second-highest in school history. Baldovino's score landed her on the second-place podium. Five Bulldogs posted a score of 9.750 or higher on this event.

"Going into beam, I really wanted to hit a solid set for the team. To stick my dismount and get a new career-high was a super exciting way to start our 49+ beam rotation and finish the meet strong," said Cooperman.

The Bulldogs will return home next weekend Sun., Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. for a dual meet against Ivy rival Brown for the annual senior meet.

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report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity