March 23, 2006

Elis Gear up for ECAC Championships

March 23, 2006

The Elis take to the floor of Keaney Gymnasium on Saturday for the season's final team competition, the ECAC Championships, at the University of Rhode Island. The Bulldogs are coming off of a first-place finish over Brown, Rhode Island and Southern Connecticut last weekend in Providence, R.I.

Currently ranked third in the conference, head coach Barbara Tonry's squad will try to improve on last season's fourth-place finish. Team captain Anne McPherson's return to the lineup should bolster the Bulldogs, who have been without their leader for much of the season because of injury.

"I have had so many issues with injuries, but I am happy to be able to contribute on some level," said McPherson, who will compete on the bars and the balance beam.

In 2005, McPherson's 38.25 all-around performance fueled the Bulldogs to a fourth place finish at the ECACs.

"It will basically come down to which team does the most difficult routines with fewest mistakes," Tonry said. "If the team performs well then I think we will have the opportunity for a higher finish [than last year]."

In 2006, the rookies at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, not just the veterans, have been driving forces behind this season's success.

Freshmen Alina Liao and Kimberley So have both been named ECAC Rookie of the Week twice. Liao won the Ivy Classic all-around title with a 38.100 on February 26 at Brown. Lauren Tatsuno, also a freshman, has been a force to be reckoned with on the beam, posting a season-high and first-place 9.775 in a March 3 meet against Rhode Island and Temple.

"The class of 2009 has had a huge impact on the team scores," Tonry said.

But the veterans have also been there every step of the way, showing resilience throughout an injury-riddled season.

On the floor, juniors Miki Seltzer and Suchitra Paul have consistently topped the scoreboard. Seltzer captured first place in the event at the Ivy Classic with a 9.700. Paul has also been strong on the beam and bars.

"Along with the freshmen, these two girls have been strong competitors," McPherson said. "In order to do as well as we hope to though, every single person who competes needs to step it up."

Report filed by Sean Singer '06, Yale Sports Publicity

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