Panthers and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
That's what Penn gymnastics will be facing this Friday at the Shelli Calloway Invitational in Towson, Md., as the team will compete against Towson, Pitt and Ursinus.
Coming off of last week's tri-meet victory at Cornell — where they posted a new season high for their total score — the Red and Blue are trending upward at just the right time in the season. With only two weeks to go until the Ivy League Championship, this meet will give the team yet another opportunity keep their momentum and perform to their potential.
"We definitely want to continue our progress," coach John Ceralde said.
The Quakers put up another stellar all around effort last week, especially on the beam. After a slow start to the season on the beam, the team sustained their recent surge in the event. Five out of six gymnasts who competed in the event scored at least a 9.600 and the team score of 48.525 was their highest event score all season long. The Red and Blue also put forth a strong showing on the floor, which has been their most consistent event.
"Any time you win, it's always a good sign," Ceralde said. "The idea is that we just want to be consistent and be able to perform on any given day."
Despite their overall success, the Quakers continue to struggle in one event: the uneven bars. However, the struggles are not without reason.
"Our top kids are injured [on the uneven bars], so we're trying to work our depth right now," Ceralde said. "We're trying to work other gymnasts into the lineup and hope to have a good idea of who's going to be our top group in the next couple weeks."
While the squad's three other event scores have consistently seen marks within the 47.500 to 48.500 range, the team score on the uneven bars has failed to crack that lower threshold so far this season. The team's injuries have largely contributed to this, and Ceralde believes that his team will be prepared when the time comes.
"I feel that in time we'll be at the level that we need to be at," he said.
As the season has progressed, Penn has faced increasingly stronger competition. The stiff competition will continue this week, as they go up against two solid opponents in Towson and Pitt. Towson is a particularly formidable program, as they have not dipped below a total team score of 192.550 all season despite a 5-5 record. Likewise, Pitt has not garnered a team total lower than 190.525, and has scored greater than 193.100 in their last three meets. On the other hand, Ursinus has had lower team scores this year, topping out around 189.000.
With an eye on the Ivy meet that is only two weeks away, the Quakers look to carry their momentum from the past few competitions and come away with another victory.
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