Defending its ECAC title against stiff competition, Penn gymnastics crushed its opponents en route to its second ring in as many years.
After posting their second highest score of the season (193.725) in Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday, this year’s Quakers became the first Penn squad to win back-to-back ECAC Championships in program history.
The Red and Blue faced tough competition in a field that included the Ivy League Champion Brown Bears and crosstown foe Temple, making their victory that much more meaningful.
Penn started out the day strong with a 48.275 on floor, thanks in large part to strong performances from freshman Elyse Shenberger (9.800) and senior captain Kirsten Strausbaugh (9.725).
The Quakers kept right on rolling from there with a solid 48.225 on vault, a team triumph that saw five of Penn’s gymnasts score either a 9.600 or a 9.650, including a season-high 9.600 from senior Megan Milavec.
After a rough start to bars, Penn took it up a notch and rattled off four straight great routines, starting with a 9.675 from Milavec and finishing with a 9.775 from senior Dana Bonincontri. Strausbaugh in particular delivered when it counted with a 9.800, good for second overall and Penn’s best performance of the day.
Needing a spectacular showing on beam to take home the top spot, it was inconceivable that the Quakers wouldn’t take care of business — and they did not disappoint.
Penn tallied its third-highest score on beam in program history and a season high of 48.875. Three gymnasts scored season or career highs — Amanda Schlaefer (9.800), Keolamau Yee (9.775), and Elyse Shenberger (9.725) — showing the type of consistency that coach John Ceralde has been focusing on the entire season.
This last rotation put the Quakers over the top as they squeaked by Cornell (193.250).