March 23, 2013

Brown Set to Take on the ECAC at the 2013 Gymnastics Championships

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown gymnastics team heads to Ithaca, New York this weekend, as the Cornell Big Red host the 2013 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships on Saturday, March 23rd. The six-team meet, held at Newman Arena, begins at 12:00 pm. The Bears begin the meet on bars, have a bye, then move to beam, have a bye, perform on floor and then have their final rotation on vault. After a season filled with highlights, including the team's first Ivy Classic title since 1990, Brown looks to bring a second league championship home to College Hill.

"We are currently ranked second in the ECAC Division I standings," said head coach Sara Carver-Milne. "We are having a great year, and the team has been breaking school records and individual career-highs all season. The ECAC Championships are going to be a close and exciting competition and I know we have the potential to finish our regular season at the top."

Brown's highest team score thus far came at the 2013 Ivy Classic at Yale, as the Bears defeated the Bulldogs in addition to the Penn Quakers and the Cornell Big Red with a 193.925, just shy of the school record. Two school records on individual apparatuses have fallen this season however, as the team set a new mark on beam at the Ivy Classic with a 48.900 before breaking the record on the vault for the fourth time this season, earning a score of 48.750 at home on March 12th.

While every gymnast has contributed to the team's success in instrumental ways, junior Michelle Shnayder (Lincolnshire, IL) has stood out in the all-around for the Bears all season, producing a career-high score of 38.850 to win the Ivy Classic title in late February. Shnayder has turned in especially impressive performances on vault and floor, posting career-highs of 9.825 and 9.800, respectively.

"As an all-arounder, I am just as much a member of the team as the girls who compete in less events or who do not compete at all," said Shnayder. "When we are out there competing, we do not compete for ourselves but for all the girls standing there cheering us on. The last thing anybody wants to do is disappoint the team, so we go out there and do our best every single meet, every routine and every skill. We are only successful as individuals because there is a group to support us. We are all extremely excited to go out there and perform for each other this weekend at the ECAC Championships."

Senior Emily Lutfey (Los Angeles, CA) owns the Bears' top score on vault, nailing a career-high 9.850 to take home the title at the Ivy Classic. Freshman Alexandra Chretien (Commerce Township, MI) and senior Julia Meyer (Granite City, IL) have each posted an impressive 9.775 to lead the team on bars, while Meyer and sophomore Allison Rubenstein (Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ) lead the way on the beam, both earning scores of 9.825. Shnayder and senior Nicole Abdo (Largo, FL) have turned in consistently high scores on floor for the Bears this season, both leading the team with a 9.800. Shnayder has posted the number on four separate occasions, while Abdo has earned the score twice.

Finally, Brown has a talented group of freshmen gymnasts who have made a huge mark in their first year with the team. Diana Walters (Austin, TX) has competed in the all-around for the Bears, earning ECAC Rookie of the Week honors after scoring a 38.475 in her first meet. Stephanie Choo (Centerville, OH) has battled a heart condition all year, but has returned to competition, posting a career-high score of 9.675 on bars. Corey Holman (Westford, MA) has also been a consistent force, turning in top scores of 9.775 on beam and 9.725 on both vault and floor.

"Each person on the team has played a huge role in maintaining our focus, energy and success," said senior co-captain Kasey Haas (Charlotte, NC). "On a small team, it's really important that everyone is on the same page and is committed. We all push each other to be better and feed off of each other's energy, that's what helped us win Ivies and I think that's what will help us do well again at ECACs."