While most winter sports begin the season well before the frost hits, one squad began their season with the cold front that just moved in this past weekend.
This weekend, Penn gymnastics made its season debut at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational in the nation’s capital. Hosted by George Washington, the competition featured five competitive teams and signaled the start to a new year and a new season.
“I think we did pretty good,” coach John Ceralde said. “We went 190.625, so not a bad outing at all.”
The Quakers’ team score landed them fourth of the five teams — a strong showing for the Red and Blue’s first competition, especially with a few shakes early on.
By crossing the 190-point mark, Penn showed a strong first performance and reason to think that the team will be even better than it has been in the past few years.
Penn began the meet on beam, where the top scores produced a team total of 46.725, the lowest of the four event scores for the Quakers on the day. Despite a strong finish to the event, the first few routines on beam were not without some “first meet jitters.”
“We had a slow start on beam but we picked up at the end,” Ceralde said. “Simple mistakes like falls, but they finished strong on the event.”
The Red and Blue continued strongly not only on the other events, but also by the end of the first rotation on the balance beam.
After beam, the squad traveled to floor where they scored the highest event score of 48.500.
“Our best event was floor, we were pretty strong there,” Ceralde said. “We were consistent on floor, just small things we need to take care of for our next meet, but they did pretty good just being consistent.”
This was reflected in the performance of sophomore Kyra Levi, who tied for seventh on floor with two tenths of deductions, a 9.800 score.
The Quakers kept their momentum moving as they finished out the meet on vault and then beam, scoring 48.125 and 47.275, respectively. Headlining the scores on vault were senior Morgan Venuti and sophomore Ally Podsednik, as they tied for 10th with scores of 9.675.
“Freshman Morgan Hunker stepped up on vault,” Ceralde said. “She scored 9.600 in her first collegiate competition performing a Yurchenko layout.”
In addition, Levi and senior Elyse Shenberger also tied at ninth place on bars with scores of 9.725.
While the Quakers finished fourth, the home team took the crown scoring 195.425. Cornell and Temple, two foes well known to the Red and Blue, also beat Penn this weekend, scoring 194.025 and 191.375 each.
Rounding out the Invitational was North Carolina, unable to surpass the Quakers with their score of 188.925. Despite the placement of the Red and Blue, it was a strong start.
“The idea is to build upon what we established here,” Ceralde said.
“We just need to work on being consistent, that’s it.”
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