PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Riding the momentum of back-to-back record setting meets, the Brown gymnastics team will vie for the ECAC Division I Women's Gymnastics Championships title at McGonigle Hall on the campus of Temple University on Saturday. The Bears seek their first-ever ECAC crown to add to back-to-back Ivy Classic Championships, and will battle Cornell, Penn, Temple, William & Mary and Yale for league supremacy beginning at 12 p.m.
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BEARS AMONG LEAGUE'S BEST
The Bears rank among the ECAC's best in all five team categories, while Brown gymnasts occupy 15 top-10 spots in individual rankings. As a team, the Bears stand first in the league on bars (48.490 RQS) and floor (48.585 RQS). Individually, sophomore Alexandra Chretien (Commerce Township, Mich.) is best in the ECAC on bars (9.810 RQS) and senior Michelle Shnayder (Lincolnshire, Ill.) and freshman Caroline Morant (Chicago, Ill.) are tied for the league's top Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on the floor exercise (9.800).
Brown owns the second-best team total RQS in the league (192.965) and the ECAC's highest team score average (192.338).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
William & Mary enters as the top-ranked team thus far in 2014. The Tribe have a team RQS of 193.130, and have posted the league's highest single-meet total with a score of 194.375. Sophomore Brittany Stover (New Albany, Ind.) is the No. 1 all-around competitor heading into Saturday's championship, posting an RQS of 39.040 and a season-high of 39.175.
Cornell checks in with a team RQS of 191.665, good enough for third in the ECAC. Big Red senior Melanie Jorgensen (Lafayette, Calif.) has been one of the top uneven bars competitors this season, recording an RQS of 9.805 and an average of 9.697. Cornell's season average (190.905) and season-best score (192.625) are also the third highest in the ECAC this season.
The championship host Temple Owls are the No. 4-ranked team at the 2014 championship with a team RQS of 191.650 and a season-high of 192.325. Temple senior Sylvie Borschel (Springfield, Va.) capped off her final regular season meet for the Owls with a season-high 9.825 on the balance beam. Borschel is third in the ECAC with an RQS of 9.750 and her lowest score this season has been only a 9.575.
Defending champion Penn is slotted as the No. 5 team with an RQS of 189.560. Freshman Kelly Tan (Los Gatos, Calif.) has been one of the best individual performers for the Quakers in 2014, registering an RQS of 9.660 on the balance beam, which is sixth in the ECAC. Sophomore Carissa Lim (Torrance, Calif.) is ranked in the top-10 on the floor exercise entering Saturday, posting an RQS of 9.680, which is tied for ninth.
Rounding out the field will be the No. 6-ranked Yale Bulldogs. Yale owns a team RQS of 189.515 and has a season-high of 191.750. The Bulldogs are led by junior Morgan Traina (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), who is No. 4 on the balance beam (9.690), No. 5 on the all-around (38.395), and No. 6 on the uneven bars (9.730).
BEARS DOMINATE ECAC WEEKLY AWARDS
Morant secured the Corvias ECAC Division I Rookie of the Week award for the second straight week and fifth time this season while Chretien earned back-to-back Specialist of the Week honors for her fourth accolade of the year. The pair spearheaded an historical effort that saw the Brown gymnastics team break the program team score record for the second meet in a row, posting a 194.225 at William & Mary last Friday.
Brown gymnasts have reeled in a stunning 17 ECAC weekly awards this season, led by Morant's five Rookie of the Week nods and Chretien's fourth Specialist selection. Sophomore Diana Walters (Austin, Texas) has been honored three times (Gymnast of the Week twice and Coaches Choice once), while Shnayder was named Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 22. Senior Madeline Benz (Chester, N.J.) and junior Danielle Hoffman (Bedford, N.Y.) each earned Coaches Choice picks once.
LAST TIME OUT
Chretien tied the school record of 9.875 on bars and Morant took second with a career-high 39.025 in all-around, helping Brown post a 194.225 and break the team score school record for the second meet in a row. The Bears placed second overall at Kaplan Arena on March 14, trailing only first-place North Carolina (194.775) and finishing ahead of William & Mary (193.425) and Rutgers (193.375).
Following a then-school record 194.125 in a quad meet on March 9, the Bears raised the bar once again on the strength of Morant's personal best 9.825 on beam and 9.800 on floor to claim first place in both events. Shnayder matched Morant's 9.800 on floor to round out a trio of first-place honors for the Bears. Walters tied for second on beam after a career-high 9.800 and took third on bars with a 9.775, while Chretien nabbed second on bars to give Brown a total of six top-three finishes.
Brown is set to host USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals on Apr. 11-13.