Elation filled the Palestra on Sunday as Penn dethroned Brown in the world of Ivy League gymnastics by picking up the annual Ivy Classic title.
The league championship meet — which saw the gymnasts of Brown, Cornell, Penn and Yale go head-to-head — ended with the Red and Blue emerging victorious with a final score of 193.725, besting the reigning champion from the past two years, Brown, which posted a score of 193.425. Yale and Cornell finished third and fourth with scores of 192.225 and 191.175, respectively.
The win was a defining moment in the early college career of freshman Megan Finck, who only joined Penn gymnastics in the fall.
“Hearing Brown be called second felt great,” she said. “Tears of joy.”
Finck, who hails from Saint James, N.Y., saw the win as a hallmark of the willpower and potential of the team.
Among the performances that enabled the win were senior captain Wynne Levy’s 9.775 and junior Carissa Lim’s 9.725 on vault, earning Penn a win in that category with a total score of 48.800. Levy’s score in the vault category was not only the highest individual score for the Quakers, but for all teams present at the event.
On bars, freshman Emily Shugan and junior Elyse Shenberger managed to lead the team with scores of 9.800 and 9.775, respectively. In this category, Brown picked up an impressive total of 48.900, while Penn came in at third with a score of 48.200.
The Red and Blue again showed remarkable depth on beam by winning with a total score of 48.175, becoming the only team to pass the 48-point mark in the category. Senior Amanda Schlaefer picked up the second highest individual score with a 9.725.
A galvanized Penn picked up first place on floor, as several strong performances across the board amounted to a total score of 48.950 — a season-high for the team in the category. Again, Shenberger and Lim impressed, as they both pulled off scores of 9.800.
It was here Finck prominently made her mark on Sunday, as she scored 9.850, cementing a comfortable floor win for the team.
Finck had fallen short on the bars, which presented a mental burden as she was getting ready for floor. After posting a team-high of 9.850, the freshman knew she had made up for the earlier lapse.
“All that hard work paid off,” Finck commented.
The final total score of 193.725 meant a .300 edge over the Bears and, more importantly, a home-turf championship win.
“Everyone gave it their all,” Finck continued — sentiments reflecting some of the depth the team showed on Sunday. On floor, roughly half of the top 10 individual scores came from the Red and Blue.
“I don’t have any sisters, so my teammates here are like sisters to me,” she mentioned. “They help you stay calmed and focused.”
Indeed, Finck managed to do just that on Sunday, as she led her team in the floor category. The win represents an important high point in her early college career, one which has only gotten started.
A gymnast since preschool days, as well as an aspiring surgeon, Finck quickly realized that Penn was the place for her after matriculating last fall. To her, Penn represents the ideal place for pursuing success, whether it is in the classroom or in gymnastics.
“I can go far with this school,” she said, smiling.
Like any committed athlete, however, she is certain that her key role in the big win this past weekend will not lead to overconfidence moving forward.
“Now it’s back to hard work.”
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