Gymnastics Takes Second in Nail Biting Home Opener

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A mere half a point proved the difference between first and second place as the Brown gymnastics team finished as runner up at the Bears' first home meet of the season at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Sunday. Bridgeport (192.450) eked out a narrow victory, the Bears (191.950) took second, Brockport State (186.550) finished third and Rhode Island College (175.075) came in fourth.

Brown gymnasts took top honors in two of four events, with sophomore Alexandra Chretien (Commerce Township, Mich.) wowing the judges with a meet-high 9.825 on bars and junior Allison Rubenstein (Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.) turning in a 9.750 on beam.

In all, the Bears posted seven top-five finishes while also scoring well in all-around results. Sophomore Diana Walters (Austin, Texas) took second all-around with a 38.400 score and senior Michelle Shnayder (Lincolnshire, Ill.) recorded a 38.250 for fourth place all-around.

Brown battled the Purple Knights of Bridgeport neck and neck throughout the meet. Bridgeport owned a 48.500-47.900 lead over the Bears after the first rotation as the Purple Knights started strong on bars, but senior Rebecca Freedman's (Plainview, N.Y.) third place showing on vault (9.775) kept Brown within striking distance.

Chretien's first place finish on bars helped the Bears claim the lead after the second rotation, inching ahead of the Purple Knights, 96.300-95.650. Freshman Tori Kinamon (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Walters tied for sixth on bars (9.675) and rookie Jorden Mitchell (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 9.650 for eighth as Brown secured five of the top 10 scores for a team-best 48.400 total on bars.

A 47.475 on beam proved Brown's lowest team total of the day, while the Purple Knights simultaneously owned the floor exercise with a 48.725 team score and the highest single event total of the meet. Sasha Tsikhanovich (9.850) and Caitlin Perry (9.800) took first and second on floor for Bridgeport, but Rubenstein's 9.750 and freshman Caroline Morant's (Chicago, Ill.) third-place 9.625 narrowed Bridgeport's lead to just 0.6 heading into the fourth rotation.

It came down to Brown's floor and Bridgeport's vault, and although the Bears broke the 48-point plateau (48.175) for the second time of the day, the Purple Knights dropped a 48.075 on vault to sneak out with a half-point victory. Kamri Riles and Kim Stewart shared the top spot on vault with twin 9.800 scores for Bridgeport, which proved enough to top Brown despite Morant's third-place 9.775 and Shnayder's fourth-ranked 9.725 on floor.

Brown will see Bridgeport again on Saturday, Feb. 1, when the Bears head to the Bulldog Invitational featuring Yale, Southern Connecticut and the Purple Knights. First rotation is scheduled for 1 p.m.