Harrison Leads Women’s Gymnastics To Highest Team Score in Four Years

The women’s gymnastics team posted its highest team score in four years and the third-best total in the program’s history with a total of 185.025 points to place fifth at the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships hosted by Springfield College on Saturday. Ursinus College was the crowned the champion with an overall mark of 187.675, followed by State University of New York at Brockport (187.175), State University of New York at Cortland (186.75), and the host Pride (185.875).

Individually, the Engineers took home more awards than any other school as Sophia L. Harrison ’08 was named the Co-Gymnast of the Year. The honor marked the third year in a row MIT was part of conference gymnast of the year accolades. In 2006, Julia C. Zimmerman ’09 was voted the Rookie of the Year and then followed this up with Gymnast of the Year plaudits last season.

In addition to her conference award, Harrison captured the all-around crown with a personal best of 38.275 and successfully defended her uneven bar title with a 9.625. Zimmerman put up a new Institute record on vault (9.75) which also claimed top honors in the event.

The Cardinal and Gray got started on the beam with its highest total of the season (46.55) and its second-highest mark in Institute history. Katie M. Mingo ’10 (9.15), Sarah N. Trowbridge ’08 (9.425), Harrison (9.50), and Zimmerman (9.55), the defending national champion in the event, all contributed solid routines.

On floor, Harrison took third place with a 9.675 as Zimmerman finished fifth with a mark of 9.65. Trowbridge contributed a solid 9.375 while Elizabeth L. Stavely ’11 notched a season-best performance of 9.25.

MIT showcased its dominance on the vault with a 47.225 event total that ranked second in the competition and crushed the previous Institute record of 46.675, set in 2004 and matched earlier this year. Zimmerman topped the MIT record with a 9.75 to claim first place. Alison M. Barnard ’09 registered a personal-best score of 9.575 to finish seventh overall. Rebecca L. Stavely ’11 also set a new personal standard (9.30) as Harrison (9.475) and Trowbridge (9.175) rounded out the squad.

After three rotations, MIT was in third place heading into the uneven bars. With an automatic team bid to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championship on the line, the Engineers’ quest fell short as they were unable to maintain their ranking. Harrison led the way with her title-winning total of 9.625 as Trowbridge (8.925) and Barnard (8.825) bolstered the team’s efforts.

Due to their strong individual performances, MIT will send five gymnasts to the NCGA Championship which will be hosted by State University of New York in Cortland on March 28-29. Trowbridge, on the strength of a career-best total of 36.85, qualified for the all-around along with Harrison and Zimmerman. Barnard will compete on the vault while Mingo will represent the Engineers on the balance beam.