Gymnastics finishes 3rd in last quad meet

· March 18, 2012, 10:46 pm   ·  Updated March 20, 2012, 12:49 am

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In its final meet before the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships next Saturday, the gymnastics team placed third in a quad meet featuring Yale, George Washington and Towson.

The Quakers’ final score of 191.550 put them just a point shy of the second place finisher, George Washington, while host Towson was well ahead of the field with 194.800. Yale finished over two points behind Penn, keeping the Red and Blue perfect against the Bulldogs on the season.

Penn scored over 48 points on vault, floor exercise and uneven bars, but fell short on balance beam, which allowed Towson and George Washington to pull ahead.

The uneven bars were the best team event for Penn, with three gymnasts finishing in the top four. The team score of 48.725 tied the season high on bars and is the third-best score in program history. Junior Dana Bonincontri took first, making this her fourth bars win of the season and her third in the last four meets. Fellow junior Kristen Strausbaugh took second with a score of 9.800. Freshman Makeda Constable took fourth with a season-high score of 9.775.

The Red and Blue also earned a season-high score, 48.300, on floor exercise. Strausbaugh was the only gymnast to break the top 10, finishing sixth and tying her season high with a score of 9.825. Outside of the top 10, many of the Quakers gymnasts who competed in the event had career days: freshman standout Amber Woo broke her season high by two-tenths of a point, finishing 12th with a score of 9.775. Junior Megan Milavec had a season-best performance and placed 16th with a score of 9.675, and senior Katie Graham broke a personal best by one-tenth, scoring 9.625 and placing 19th overall.

Penn had two athletes finish in the top 10 on vault and had an overall team score of 48.025. Senior Laura DiPaolo placed ninth with an even 9.700 and Bonincontri was just half a point behind her (9.650), which put her in 10th place.

Despite strong finishes for Bonincontri and Strausbaugh, the beam was the weakest team event for the Quakers, whose final team score was 46.500. Bonincontri and Strausbaugh placed fourth and eighth, respectively. The next gymnasts after Strausbaugh were Constable, at 15th overall, and Woo, at 17th.

The Quakers had a strong showing in the All-Around to close out the meet, with four athletes finishing in the top 10 overall. Strausbaugh took second with a final score of 38.825, Bonincontri placed fourth with 38.375, Woo was eighth with 38.075 and Milavec rounded out the top 10 with a final score of 37.750.

Next Saturday, the Quakers will host ECAC Championships at the Palestra. The event will determine the postseason for many of the gymnasts; if they place well at ECACs, they could move on to compete at the NCAA Regional meet in Raleigh on Apr. 7.

— Anna Strong
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