Sophia Harrison Wins National Championship on Uneven Bars

Behind a school-tying mark of 9.75, Sophia L. Harrison ’08 captured the uneven bar title at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association National Championship held this past weekend at State University of New York at Cortland. In addition to a trio of All-America honors, Harrison was the recipient of the NCGA Outstanding Senior Award, the highest recognition within the organization.

She became the sixth MIT gymnast to receive the prestigious award, joining Lisa K. Arel ’92, Julie K. Wilson ’93, Sheila C. Rocchio ’97, Allison J. Barmann ’98, and Sonja J. Ellefson ’01. The Engineers are now the standard-bearer for the Outstanding Senior Award as they eclipsed Gustavus Adolphus College for total honorees.

The first day of competition featured the team and all-around events. Julia C. Zimmerman ’09 scored a 9.70 on three events (vault, floor, and beam) but faltered during her performance on the uneven bars. Her total of 37.90 resulted in an eighth-place finish and First-Team All-America accolades. Harrison started on the vault with a 9.425, hit the bars for a 9.70, and struggled on the beam which netted a total of 9.125. She bounced back on the floor exercise with a new Institute standard of 9.80 that propelled her to fifth overall (38.05) and First-Team All-America honors.

A late addition to the all-around field, Sarah N. Trowbridge ’08 capped off her career with her best score, a 37.25, good enough for a 14th-place finish in a very strong field of 18 competitors. She also represented MIT on the NCGA Division III Senior “All-Americans in Academics” list.

Joining the Engineers’ three all-around qualifiers were specialists Katie M. Mingo ’10 and Alison M. Barnard ’09. Mingo scored an 8.75 on the beam while Barnard was just one spot shy of qualifying for the vault finals as she posted a 9.55 which resulted in 15th place.

On Saturday, Harrison and Zimmerman collected All-America honors in every event they competed. In addition to her First-Team All-America performance on the uneven bars, Harrison received Second-Team accolades for her 10th-place finish on the floor exercise and raised her career total to six NCGA All-America awards.

Zimmerman took home the bronze in both vault and floor (the latter for the third year in a row), and finished in a tie for fifth on balance beam, resulting in a trio of First-Team selections. At the end of her junior year, she now possesses nine NCGA All-America awards, surpassing Ellefson’s mark of eight. During the 25-year existence of the NCGA, only four gymnasts have captured more than nine individual All-America plaudits.