January 23, 2010

Brown Gymnastics Set for 2010 Home Opener Tomorrow

Providence, RI- The Brown University gymnastics team is ready for its first home meet of the 2010 season when it hosts New Hampshire, Southern Connecticut and the MIT Club Team at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow in the Pizzitola Sports Center.

Season Outlook:

Brown’s two seniors Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt and Helen Segal will also play a major role in Brown’s success this season, as they were named team captains of the 2010 squad. Segal, the 2009 Ivy Floor Champion, received the team’s “Unsung Hero” award last year and received ECAC Rookie of the Week honors after being awarded First Team All-Ivy Classic for earning the floor title with a 9.775. Kirkham-Lewitt is a strong force on the uneven bars and balance beam for the Bears, often earning the lead-off position for her consistency and dependability.

Juniors and USAG Collegiate National qualifiers, Victoria Zanelli and Chelsey Binkley will lead the team in the all-around. Zanelli was named USAG All-American on the beam with a career high 9.725 in 2009. She also received her team’s “Most Valuable Gymnast” award last season. She tied three career-high scores with a 9.725 on the bars and posted a 38.000 in the all-around during a tri-meet against Arizona and Wisconsin-Stout. At the Ivy Classic, Zanelli placed fourth on the bars (9.675), fifth on the beam (9.550) and fourth in the all-around (37.625) to receive Second Team All-Ivy Classic honors in those events.

Binkley was named Brown’s “Most Consistent” gymnast at the conclusion of the 2009 season. At the USAG Collegiate Nationals, Binkley earned a 9.6 on vault, a 9.4 on beam and a 9.450 on the floor. She is a First Team All-Ivy Classic gymnast after earning second place with a 9.750 on the floor exercise. She also received ECAC Gymnast of the Week honors with a personal best 9.825, the fourth-highest floor score in Brown history while leading the Bears to its highest team score (189.575) since 2004.

Junior Vida Rivera, the 2009 Ivy Uneven Bar Champion with a career-high 9.75, will not compete this season due to an injury. Rivera received the ECAC Coaches Choice award after helping the Bears to a second-place finish at the Ivy Classic last season.

All three rookies from last year’s team gained valuable experience and will continue to thrive in the 2010 campaign. Sophomores Katie Goddard, Lilly Siems and Carli Wiesenfeld stepped in right away and made an impact during their rookie seasons. Goddard, the team’s “Most Improved” gymnast last year, competed on the beam and floor for Bruno. A First Team All-Ivy Classic selection, Goddard turned in a personal best 9.750 on the floor for second place at the Ivy Classic. Siems earned the team’s “Freshman” award and was named ECAC Rookie of the Week after a solid meet against MIT where she recorded a 9.525 on the vault, a 9.250 on the bars and a 9.4 on beam. She earned a personal best score of 9.625 on the beam at the ECAC Championship, and also posted highs of 9.550 on the vault and 9.475 on the bars during the year.

Wiesenfeld was an all-around competitor for the team and in her collegiate debut posted a career-high 9.6 on the beam. She also turned in a career-high 37.450 in the all-around against Penn and Towson, and posted solid marks on the vault (9.525), bars (9.450) and beam (9.475).

The five newcomers will make an immediate impact in the Brown lineup. Nicole Abdo, Kasey Haas, Lauren Hall, Emily Lutfey and Julia Meyer have all competed at the highest level during their high school/club careers and will be ready for their first collegiate competition this weekend. Abdo was a three-year Level 10, two-time National qualifier and five-time Regional qualifier. She was the 2006 Level 9 State All-Around and Uneven Bar Champion and was the Regional All-Around and Beam Champion. She was the National Floor Champion as well, and placed second in the all-around. Hass, also a three-year Level 10 competitor, was an eight-time Regional Qualifier and was the first alternate at the 2008 Level 10 Nationals. She also placed second on the uneven bars at Regionals.

Lauren Hall was a three-year Level 10 competitor and in both 2007 & 2009 she qualified to J.O. Nationals. She was the 2006 Level 9 Regional All-Around and Uneven Bar Champion, and in both 2005 and 2006 she was a Level 9 Eastern National Qualifier. In 2006, she was the Level 9 Massachusetts State Uneven Bar Champion. Lutfey was a four-time Level 10 Regional Qualifier and was a 2009 J.O. National Qualifier. In 2007, she was a member of the U.S. team for the Pan American Maccabi Games, where her team earned the gold medal. She received a gold medal on the beam and silver medals in the all-around, vault and floor.

Julia Meyer is another three-year Level 10 competitor, three-time Regional Qualifier and two-time J.O. National alternate. Last season, she earned second place on beam at the 2009 Regional Championships. She was the Regional and State Beam Champion in 2008. In 2007, she earned second place on beam at the Regional Championships and fourth place on both beam and bars at the State Championships.