NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After an impressive outing at the Ivy Classic meet Sunday, the Yale gymnastics team now gears up for a weekend at Penn State competing against nationally ranked Arizona State, Cornell and Penn State.
"We will be competing against two top 20 NCAA-ranked universities this weekend, Arizona State and Penn State. I believe if we hit the routines I know we are capable of, we will surprise all who are watching with the talent Yale possesses," said head coach Barbara Tonry.
PAC-12 team Arizona State sits in No. 21 on a national scale and No. 6 in its conference. The Sun Devils last saw competition the weekend of Feb. 22 against No. 12 Oregon State and earned a season-best 196.625 to take second-place. Cornell currently ranks 56th nationally with a regional qualifying score of 192.400. The Big Red travels to Penn State after a second-place finish at the Ivy Classic last Sunday with a team score of 193.925. Throughout season, the Big Red has earned an average team score of 192.393, with its highest team score being a 194.000, landing them in third place in the ECAC. The Big Red's team RQS sits No. 6 among USAG squads (Yale is No. 4), just ahead of Air Force (192.345) and West Chester (192.285) for the final spots at nationals.
Penn State gymnastics is ranked No. 27 nationally and posted a 195.700 third-place finish at the Big Five meet Feb. 22 against Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State and Nebraska. The team sits in fifth place in the Big Ten conference.
Yale looks to build off the successes attained at the Ivy Classic last Sunday. After breaking four team records and three individual records Sunday afternoon, this competition will be another chance to earn a spot in the record books. At the Ivy Classic, multiple event-, career- and season-high scores were achieved. With back-to-back Ivy Classic titles, the Bulldogs are in a good position to score even higher.
Junior Jade Buford continued her dominance in the all-around, finishing first for the third season in a row. Sophomore Alyssa Firth also had a career high, scoring a 9.825 on the floor exercise. Yale will also look to its specialists to put up big scores Saturday. First-year Lindsay Chia looks to continue her streak of earning a 9.800 or higher on the uneven bars. Sophomore Jacey Baldovino has been a threat on the balance beam since the beginning of the 2018 season, earning the program's highest beam score in history (9.925). Her second-place finish at the Ivy Classic to teammates Chia and senior Jessica Wang was evidence of that. Finally, senior anchor Kiarra Alleyne will continue to put on a show as she specializes on the floor exercise. At the Ivy Classic, she added a 9.825 to the team floor score, placing third overall.
report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity