The first ever Roll Deis Invitational took place on Sunday Jan. 27 starting at 6 p.m. at Exxcel Gymnastics in Newton, Massachusetts. At that time, the teams were warming up and preparing to compete. This was a co-ed competition. However, Brandeis’ team was all women. Participants competed in four events: vault, bars, beam and floor. The Brandeis gymnastics team, led by Gianna Petrillo ’19 and Hannah Deroche ’19, prepared for a full night of athleticism and fun. 

The meet started with the singing of the national anthem, which was performed by Amber, a gymnast from Cambridge Community Gymnastics. 


The first event in the Judges’ rotation was vault. After two warm up passes for each athlete, the team was ready to be judged. Each competitor competed two passes followed by receiving their score.  Brandeis’ competitors’ scores went as follows: Koe Inlow (first-year PhD) 9.2, Emily Botto ’20 7.2, Becca Ascherman ’20 8.85, Zoe Bleicher ’19 8.0, Nell Baker ’19 8.65, Miriam Hechtman ’22 8.2, Petrillo 8.9 and Deroche 9.3. 


The next event the Judges competed for was the uneven parallel bars. The team was seen doing back-hip-circles, flyaways, kips and many more impressive skills. Each contestant was given a certain amount of time to warm up, after which the adjudication started. The Judges’ scores went as follows: Julia Tartaglia ’19 7.4, Rose Freudberg ’20 9.3, Baker 8.5, Inlow 9.0, Petrillo 8.8, Ascherman: 8.0, Botto: 8.5, Hechtman 8.05 and Deroche 8.6. 

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The third event at which the Judges showed off their skills was the balance beam. The women flipped and jumped across a 4-inch-wide beam in a way that appeared effortless. The women were each given time to warm up specific difficult skills in their routine. The scores went as follows: Deroche 8.5, Ascherman 8.4, Bleicher 8.5, Baker 7.8, Freudberg 9.0, Tartaglia 8.1, Inlow 8.95, Hechtman 9.2 and Petrillo 8.9. 

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The final event of the night for the Judges was floor. Each girl had their own music and routine personalized to show off their particular strengths. At this event the scores went as follows: Ascherman 9.1, Olivia Wang ’22 9.3, Inlow 8.9, Baker 9.45, Botto 9.55, Hechtman 9.55, Bleicher 9.6, Petrillo 9.45 and Deroche 9.8. 

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Awards took place at around 9:15 p.m., and many amazing gymnasts were called up and awarded first-, second- and third-place medals. For the Women’s Developmental division, Inlow took first on vault followed by a Cambridge Community gymnast and Petrillo in third. On bars Freudberg took first followed by Inlow in second and Petrillo in third. On beam Hechtman took first, Freudberg took second, and Inlow took third. On the last event in this division, floor, Bleicher took first, Hechtman took second, and Botto took third. In this division in the all-around Petrillo took first, followed by Inlow then a woman from Cambridge Community Gymnastics. In the level eight division, in which Deroche competed, Deroche took first in floor and second in the all-around category. 

Other teams that competed at the invitational included Merrimack College, Northeastern University, Cambridge Community Gymnastics and Simmons College. The Judges competed in two different divisions at four different events. Not a single Judge scored below seven of ten points at any event, an impressive feat in gymnastics. The team hosted the invitational for the first time ever, and Presidents Petrillo and Deroche kept everything organized and the events running smoothly.

In an email interview with The Justice, DeRoche said, “This season, we want Brandeis' name to get out there for the NAIGC. We have done well at Nationals the last 3 years and taken home numerous medals (plus a level 6 team award!), and we want to keep up with this momentum and continue to improve. It’s also very important for us to continue providing the opportunity to anyone on campus to come learn gymnastics, regardless of previous experience. We are one big family, and we love having people with a wide range of experience attend practice!”

Petrillo, stated, “This is a club made up of people who have been life-long competitive gymnasts as well as individuals who are new to the sport, so it's a great mix and we really learn from each other. The team is relatively self-coached and self-sufficient as well which makes for a fun and collaborative atmosphere!”

 — This article incorrectly stated Hannah DeRoche's on vault as 8.3. It was corrected to a score of 9.3.