Owls set records at Yale invitational
By Matt Gad—Sports Writer
Last Saturday, at the fifth annual Don Tonry Invitational, the Owls came away with the highest team score in history, the best performance on the bars and a standout individual effort from several members of the squad.
They finished in third place, behind Bridgeport and Yale but ahead of Springfield College in their first meet since they defeated Springfield and Brockport at Moore Field House on Jan. 27th.
“This is a great stepping stone for us,” coach Jerry Nelson said. “It’s a great milestone for us but it’s also a great stepping stone for the rest of the season. We’ve now laid the foundation for a team that can break records as a full team and that is going to psych everybody up as we move forward.”
Freshman Hannah Stahlbrodt continued the dominant start to her career, scoring the second-most points in the entire invitational behind her teammate and fellow freshman Cassidey Girolamo.
“The crowds of people really boosted up my confidence. It gets you into the meet,” Stahlbrodt said.
Throughout the afternoon there was a lot of fan support in the seats as well as along the side railing. Mainly Yale fanatics showed up for Bridgeport, Springfield and the Owls, who have returned to the event continuously since its inception.
“It’s very exciting. I’m super proud of my team — they really brought it back on bars,” sophomore Cadi Borsellino said. “It wasn’t our best meet — we left some mistakes on the floor — but you can’t really do better than that.”
The Owls’ record breaking score was 192.350. Bridgeport came away in first with 194.200 points, followed by Yale at 193.175.
“At practice we can work on the little mistakes, which iswhat we normally do, like straightening your knees, sticking more and that kind of thing. We need to work on our form breaks,” Borsellino said.
On bars, Borsellino scored 9.85, which tied a 2009 program record and gave her the win on the event, while sophomore Morgan Gatewood led the team on the balance beam, freshman Jordan Peloquin dominated in the floor exercise, senior co-captain Tiffany Coleman led in the vault and Borsellino and Stahlbrodt came in with first and second for the team, respectively, on the uneven parallel bars.
“I generally perform equally but more on floor. That’s usually my main event but bars is up there too,” Stahlbrodt said. “It’s good to perform well over. Most of us do one or two events but I’m lucky enough to do all four.”
She said competing in every event was hinted at as she was getting recruited but she knew it was something she had to work towards.
At the first home meet of the year, Stahlbrodt broke a 2009 all-around score record for her combined performance of that afternoon in every event. She came away in first on bars and in the floor routine, finished second on the balance beam and fifth in vault.
She is one of seven freshmen on this year’s team, which trails the sophomore class of 14 student-athletes for the largest group on the team.
“They’re clicking as a group and not taking one mistake and turning it into two,” Nelson said. “They’re helping each other compete and hit and you can feel it out there.”
Saturday the team will face another trio-meet in Providence, R.I. with Brown, Springfield and Rhode Island College, their first of two straight weeks competing against Springfield College, with a dual against them coming Feb. 17th.
“We’re gonna work all week to clean up our gymnastics and go from there,” Borsellino said. After going against Springfield on the 17th, the team heads to Philadelphia for a meet with Temple and West Chester Feb. 22nd and then has a March 1st meet with Towson and Bridgeport in Maryland.
“Our best competition is ahead of us,” Nelson said. “A lot of Division I’s.”
Photo Credit: William Aliou