March 29, 2008
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - After a long and physically exhausting season for all involved, Yale reached the ECAC Championships and placed seventh with a score of 186.65. The meet was won by reigning champion Towson with a 193.95. Alina Liao placed third on floor and fifth in the all-around, and several other gymnasts had stellar routines to sweeten the day.
The loss of key all-arounder Brigitte Kivisto due to an injury earlier in the week put the team at a disadvantage right off the bat, as did starting on beam, their strongest event.
Kristen Campbell started off her fantastic day with a 9.525 on beam, but her teammates didn't quite capitalize on her momentum. Lauren Tatsuno had a 9.675 and Liao added a 9.7, but the Bulldogs still had to count three falls towards their team score.
"They just didn't have their nerves knocked out yet," explained Head Coach Barbara Tonry.
However, there were far less signs of struggle when Yale moved to floor. Liao's 9.825 tied her career high and landed her in third place. Tatsuno added a 9.7 with Campbell right behind her at 9.6. Katherine Yao had a beautiful routine, earning her a career best 9.525.
The Bulldogs had a fairly typical run on vault, with Tatsuno and Mak earning a pair of 9.525s. Campbell had a 9.4 and Lombardi added a 9.3. Liao scored a 9.25.
On bars, it seemed as though three months of strenuous practices and competing every weekend caught up to the gymnasts. Campbell scored a 9.45, one of the highest of the season, and Liao ended with a 9.725 that tied for tenth place, yet just one tenth away from first place.
Towson's Annukka Almenoksa won the all-around competition with a 39.15, just edging out Penn's Marissa Rosen (39.125). Liao placed third with a 38.5 and Campbell's season high score of 37.975 placed ninth. Mak scored a 36.15.
"Considering our lack of depth and numbers, this year's team did really well," said Tonry.
While the season is officially over for the majority of the team, Liao is waiting to see if she qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the all-around, which will be held in two weeks.
Lombardi was chosen as ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, her second time receiving this honor in her career at Yale.
Report filed by Cathy Jan '09, Yale Sports Publicity