Although Penn gymnastics did not get the results it was hoping for, the team is still keeping its hopes up as it charges ahead into the rest of its season.
At the Quakers' second home competition of the year, Division II Bridgeport stunned all in attendance to take the quad-meet victory with a score of 194.000, beating NC State by just 0.275 points, while Cornell took third and the Quakers took a frustrating fourth place.
There was understandable disappointment after such a competitive meet, but the Red and Blue knew that there was much more to Saturday afternoon than just winning and losing. The competition was Penn's annual "Pink Meet," designed to boost breast cancer awareness.
“It was really great to see all of the pink leotards supporting breast cancer, and it is definitely a first in a lifetime experience for me,” freshman Caroline Mitsch said.
As for what happened on the mats, the Red and Blue (3-5, 2-1 Ivy) slightly improved on last week's clunker with a 190.950-point effort, but the team still couldn't come near the lofty standards it set in its season-opening meets.
“I felt today we made a lot of good improvements especially on vault and bars,” sophomore captain Caroline Moore said. “We picked up the landings and fixed a lot of the little things, but still need to focus on consistency going into our next meet.”
The improvements paid off, as Penn's highest apparatus scores came from bars and beam, with the Quakers tallying 48.050 points on each.
“Once we fix the smaller things, I think we will be set,” Mitsch agreed. “We are hitting routines, but it’s about smaller parts like pointing your toes or keeping your legs straight that make a difference in routines.”
At this point in its season, the squad is looking to stick its routines and iron out some of the smaller flaws to remain competitive. Despite the last place finish, Penn showed some positive signs against a rigorous slate of opponents.
“We knew NC State was a very good team looking at their past scores, but we really just try to focus on us," Moore said. "Coach John [Ceralde] always says to focus on Penn because we are here for each other."
Mitsch felt positive about the results of this meet by looking at it as a way to improve moving forward.
“We came out here and gave it our all. We weren’t as fresh as we normally are or as sharp as we can be, but I’m very proud of how the team did today,” Mitsch added. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that every person on your team is behind you no matter what.”
The scores may be the deciding factor between a win and a loss, but the Red and Blue saw some positive aspects of their performances that they can take with them as they look ahead into the rest of the year.
“I think we realized as a team where our potential can take us as we look into post season especially," Moore said. "With the improvement on vault and bars it’s going to be consistency that we need to focus on going into next week."
As the season progresses and the Quakers face one tough opponent after another, it is important that they keep their heads high, support one another, and perform at their best every time. However, it is the family culture that the team thrives off of to be at the top of their game as they head into competitive match-ups in the next couple of weeks.
“We are trying to build each week off of another," Moore continued. "We know we’ve made some mistakes but overall everyone is very excited and motivated to fix our problem areas and keep perfecting the areas that we are doing well in."
Defeat will not stop the Quakers from keeping a positive outlook on their season and all of the great things they have done on and off the mats. As they head into future meets, it is important that they attack these faulty areas and be ready to thrive when adversity comes their way.
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