Jan. 7, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Although Yale's campus is still devoid of most undergraduates, the gymnastics team has been hitting the mats all week. While 2008 provided the gymnasts with many successes, the 2009 season is set to kick off on Saturday.
The Bulldogs lost four gymnasts to graduation, including former team captain Kristen Campbell, bars specialist Cynthia Leung, Laura Lombardi, and Katherine Yao, who each contributed two or three routines at every competition last spring. All together, the four women accounted for an average of nine routines each week. The bars line-up is hit the hardest, losing three routines. The other events have about two routines to fill.
Yale has a nucleus of seven returning gymnasts, including four seniors. Team captain Alina Liao is the current Ivy Classic champion in the all-around, beam, and floor. She has competed all-around at every competition in her college career, and plans to do so this year as well. Lauren Tatsuno is returning on vault, floor, and her specialty, beam. Sarah Hughes was a contributor on bars and floor last year, and Micaline Tomeo will be a vault specialist.
Last season, Brigitte Kivisto competed all-around in the majority of the meets, finishing third in the Ivy Classic. If she remains healthy, she continues to be a force to be reckoned with on every event. Fellow junior Allison Mak competed on all four events at some point last year, but she is an especially valuable asset on vault and beam.
The lone sophomore on the team, Sherry Yang, will likely shift her contributions from bars to one or more of the other events.
Freshmen Claude De Jocas, Courtney Fukuda, Margaret Greenberg, Monica Shoji, Talis Trevino, and Mia Yabut have been added to the team. Fukuda is a bars and beam specialist, and Shoji is a former US National Team member capable of shining on all four events.
Despite the large percentage of newcomers, the Bulldogs are ready for the season.
Yale will be hosting four competitions throughout the season in the John J. Lee Amphitheater, including the prestigious Ivy Classic and ECAC Championships. Last time the Ivy Classic was held in New Haven, the Bulldogs won the team competition. Yale's toughest competition will be at Towson, four-time reigning ECAC Champions.
For the Bulldogs, the season starts at 1pm this Saturday, Jan. 10, at MIT in a six-way competition with Ursinus College, RIC, Cortland, and Wilson.
Report filed by Cathy Jan '09, Yale Sports Publicity