Penn gymnastics finished its season not with a bang, but with a fizzle.
Over the weekend, nine Quakers’ gymnasts traveled to St. Louis, Mo., to compete at the USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championship. While Penn was one of 12 teams to send individual competitors, it did not qualify for the chance at earning a team score at USAG Championships based on its regular season performance.
Of the four Ivy teams competing in St. Louis, Penn was the sole Ancient Eight member not to participate in the team competition. Cornell finished the meet in sixth with a score of 193.100, while Yale took seventh with 192.350. Of the Ivies, Brown had the best showing by far, qualifying as the top team in the second preliminary group on Saturday with a score of 195.175 and finishing the championship in fourth with a slightly lower score of 194.500.
For five of the Quakers, Saturday’s preliminary session was their last time competing for the Red and Blue. Senior Amber Hu had her final hurrah first on uneven bars with a score of 9.000 and later on beam, scoring 9.700. Emily Patterson, her co-captain, ended her college career with routines on vault and bars. Senior Elyse Shenberger finished her career with a 7.150 on uneven bars while classmate Carissa Lim earned a 9.725 on floor. Finally, Morgan Venuti had the busiest Saturday for the Class of 2016, competing on vault, bars and floor.
In order to qualify for individual finals on Sunday, gymnasts must finish in the top 10 in their event, a feat that none of Penn’s gymnasts were able to pull off. However, the format of USAG Championships acknowledges the depth of some teams relative to others and allows the top-placing gymnast from each of the 12 teams to participate in individual finals.
Thanks to that rule, junior Rachel Graham got a second showing on floor. After placing 35th in the event with a score of 9.750 in preliminaries on Saturday, Graham improved upon her mark with a 9.800 performance on Sunday’s finals.
After a year of continual improvement throughout the season that ended just short of repeating as Ivy Classic champions, Penn’s performance at USAG Championships does not reflect the squad’s potential. However, the four underclassmen gymnasts will return to University City with valuable experience after competing against some of the nation’s top tumblers.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.