On Friday, the Penn and Temple gymnastics teams will put on an exhibition, the first in the brand new Nalitt Family Center. And both squads couldn’t be more excited to show it off.
While the Quakers usually have an exhibition in December before finals and the formal competitive season, this year will be different because neighbor Temple will be coming over from North Philadelphia to join in.
“It makes it more exciting that we have someone else in there,” Penn coach John Ceralde said. “They’ve been wanting to see the new facility as well and they are excited to come on over and check things out and they consider it good play time as much as we do.”
Despite the change, the Quakers are equally excited to display their skills for friends and family in the new gym.
“The new gym is absolutely amazing,” senior captain Diana Moock said. “As a senior, I’ve seen the progression from what it was before and what it is now and it’s so different and we are all so grateful. It really helps us learning the new skills.
“It’s really helping our gymnastics and going to help our program in the future.”
“We are pretty excited about the new facility because it’s a big upgrade from what it used to be,” Ceralde added. “It definitely gives [us]some better opportunities for recruiting as well as training.”
There is another change this year — the Red and Blue will host more home meets than last year.
Not only will this provide more opportunities for them to compete in a familiar environment surrounded by their fans, but it also means a lot less traveling after traveling to every meet save one last year.
“We are very excited to have several home meets for two reasons: of course we have the new facility to compete in so we are excited about that,” Ceralde said. “Traveling every meet was pretty hard on the kids last year.”
Though the new gym provides great opportunities for the Red and Blue, it came at a price. The facility was not finished until mid-October, so the squad has been practicing on the equipment for the length of time they usually do — or as long as their future competitors will have been.
Despite the delay, Ceralde says that the team has been making steady progress and are excited for it to be finished.
Along with a new facility, spectators will also see a new lineup. Last season, a few critical seniors were some of the team’s most consistent competitors and posted some of the Quakers’ much needed scores.
“I think the team really sees it as an opportunity,” Moock said. “We did graduate a good senior class, but now a lot of the underclassmen are going to have that opportunity to step up, so actually in the gym, as a whole, we have seen improvements from the underclassmen up through the seniors.
“Everyone is really taking a head- on approach to try to make that lineup and improve their skills because this is a new opportunity for us and we are going to seize it.”
A previous version of this article featured a photo misidentified as Diana Moock.
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