Hampered by Injuries, Tech Yields to Brown Zimmerman Finishes Second in All-Around

Brown University sophomore Jennifer Sobuta edged out Julia C. Zimmerman ’09 for the all-around crown and the Bears defeated the Engineers, 180.925-175.800, in women’s gymnastics on Saturday afternoon in the duPont Gymnasium.

Boston University’s club team also competed in the meet, finishing in third place with a score of 148.500.

Sobuta’s 37.125 was enough to slip past Zimmerman (37.000) by the smallest of margins, but it was Brown freshman — and former World Champion on the vault and floor exercise — Alicia Sacramone who was the focus of many eyes in the audience. She didn’t disappoint her fans, notching a 9.675 on the bars and a 9.875 on the beam to easily take first place in both events.

Tech won its fair share of admirers as well, as the Cardinal and Gray put forth a gutsy performance without two of its top competitors. Sophia L. Harrison ’08 was forced out due to severe back pain, while Alison M. Barnard ’09 sprained a foot during practice leading up to the meet. The injury plague had previously claimed Ashley T. Tran ’07 — preparing to return for the first time this season after suffering a torn ACL at the end of last year — who dislocated her finger on Friday, leaving her status in question for the meet.

In need of some younger gymnasts to step up and fill the gaps, the Engineers proceeded to open the competition with six stuck vaults. Gina M. Policelli ’10 scored an impressive 8.700 on the first vault of her collegiate career, while Sarah N. Trowbridge ’08 (9.075), Laura E. Kelly ’09 (9.000) and Katie M. Mingo ’10 (9.000) all earned solid scores. Zimmerman performed best among all gymnasts in the event, notching a 9.575.

Next to step up for the Engineers was Gillian S. Conahan ’10, who picked up a 7.050 on her first bar routine of the season. Zimmerman posted a season-high 9.500 on the bar to once again obtain Tech’s highest score.

Tran was able to compete for the first time this season on the beam, and her performance spurred on the rest of her teammates. Kelly followed with a career-high 9.15, while Trowbridge nabbed third place with a 9.500.

Mingo was the highest-scoring Engineer on the floor exercise, picking up a 9.200 in her first attempt at the event after months of shoulder rehabilitation.

Head coach Jen Miller-McEachern was delighted with the way that her squad dealt with the unexpected rash of injuries.

“Our plan from the beginning of the week changed dramatically by the time we actually got to the meet on Saturday,” she said. “However, the one thing that shone through was how well this team pulled together to be just that — a team.”

The Tech gymnasts return to the mats on Sunday when they travel to New Haven, Conn. to take on Southern Connecticut State University at 1:00 p.m.