After an injury-plagued preseason, the gymnastics team is on its way to regaining its health and competitive edge.
Boosted by the return of two injured gymnasts, the squad finished third against the University of Bridgeport, Brown and the Rhode Island Club Team.
With a score of 183.975, Penn fell short of gymnastics powerhouse Bridgeport (190.225) and host Brown (188.550).
Meanwhile Rhode Island finished a distant last, with a score of 168.650.
The meet, which was held at Brown, was key for Penn, since it gave the team a chance to preview the site of this year’s Ivy Classic, the ultimate test in conference competition.
While the theme for the Quakers this season has been their injuries, senior co-captain Jenny Hurst believes these are just part of the sport.
“A lot of the injuries are wear and tear,” Hurst said. “We’re old in a young person’s sport. We’re just trying to keep it together.”
Though that wear and tear has taken its toll on this team, this meet witnessed a full return for sophomore Laura DiPaolo and freshman Kirsten Strausbaugh, who both competed in a single event last meet. The gymnasts performed in two and three events, respectively, and both scored above a 9.0 in all of their events.
Penn is still awaiting the full return of its top freshman and 2009 Washington State champion Dana Bonincontri.
According to both Hurst and coach John Ceralde, the highlight of the meet was the final event of bars, where Penn went 6-for-6, performing their routines without major breaks and earning a total score of 46.950.
“It was such a huge confidence booster to finish the meet off like that. Now we know we can do it,” Hurst said.
Another strong event was vault, where the Quakers combined for a score of 47.325. Strausbaugh was their top vaulter with a score of 9.625.
More than anything, the coach wants to get his team ready and healthy in time for the Classic.
“Right now we’re trying to keep everyone safe, we’re trying to come back from our injuries and hope to put up a good lineup by the time we compete in Ivies in two weeks,” the coach said.
The Ivy Classic will give the team a chance to prove their talent, especially if they can work their injured gymnasts into the lineup.
“We’ve hit each event at different meets,” Hurst said, “so now it’s time to put it all in one meet. It’s just the timing.”
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