Call them the "Swaggy Six," or the "Super Sophs", or the "Bars Bunch"; no matter the alias, Penn gymnastics will be tough to beat this year due to a record-breaking crop of sophomores on the bars.
After back injuries during her sophomore year forced senior Emily Shugan to end her career as a gymnast, she has since leaped into a new role on the team: student assistant coach.
It's not that Nwokedi's impact on each game has diminished. Rather, coach Mike McLaughlin and the team have needed her to play a new role this season. And, according to McLaughin, the changes in the past few weeks have been due to her growth in that new role.
Though most programs would hesitate to refer to a two-season title hiatus as a drought, the mentality for Penn gymnastics is clear. It’s “ring-or-bust time” for the Red and Blue, and the 2018 squad is more than ready to do so.
It is clear that if the team is to reach its full potential and win the Ivy or ECAC Championship, a significant part of the credit should go to the two returning co-captains, and the attitude and togetherness they bring to the program.
After finishing last out of four teams in its first meet of the season, the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, with a relatively low score of 190.375, Penn gymnastics (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) hopes to bounce back this upcoming weekend as it travels to New Haven to take on Yale, both teams' first one-on-one Ivy League matchup in 2018.
In this week's edition of Is Stat So?, we look at several individual and team records that were broken this weekend, as well as a few key numbers that allowed men's squash and women's basketball to emerge victorious.
Following the sweeps, two stars of the Penn men’s and women’s basketball programs, sophomore forward AJ Brodeur and freshman center Eleah Parker, were named Ivy League Player of the Week for their contributions.
Just a week after freshman Andrew Douglas’ comeback win to beat No. 6 Rochester, Penn needed another ninth game win to beat Yale 5-4. Meanwhile, Penn’s women fell to the Elis by the same score. Against Brown on Sunday, both teams eliminated any chance for a dramatic ending by sweeping the Bears 9-0.
Both Red and Blue squads struggled in their final Ivy League meet of the regular season. The Quakers’ men fell to Harvard, 181-108, while the women fell respectively to Brown and Harvard by scores of 178-119 and 197-100.
Penn fencing had an up and down weekend against some of the top fencing programs in the country.
The Quakers (11-4 for both men and women) had a busy weekend in State College, Pa. The men and women defeated North Carolina and Haverford but fell short to Columbia, Penn State, and Duke.
A year after opening the 2017 season with an impressive second-place finish at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, Penn gymnastics struggled to match that effort this time around, finishing in last place with a score of 190.375.
After Penn women’s basketball lost to arch-rival Princeton last Saturday, the team rebounded spectacularly this weekend, defeating Cornell and Columbia in consecutive weekends behind the stellar play of Eleah Parker.
The Quakers started off a little slow, but outplayed Columbia for the final 35 minutes of the game en route to a largely comfortable 70-51 win. The night before, The Red and Blue took down Cornell by a score of 68-48 to sweep the New York Ivies. Against the Lions, Penn (8-5, 2-1 Ivy) was led once again by another dominant performance from freshman Eleah Parker who set a new career high with 22 points.
Penn women’s basketball put the rest of the Ivy League on notice with Friday’s 68-48 home victory against Cornell. The Quakers, while not playing a perfect game, took a step in the right direction with their first Ivy victory of the young season.
From the opening tip — which Penn won and led to senior Lauren Whitlatch’s first three — the Quakers dominated Cornell physically all over the court on the way to a 68-48 win.
The absence of the Brown's men's swimming from the meet on Jan. 13 will change the approach that the Quakers plan to take in deciding this weekend’s lineups.
On Thursday, Penn Athletics introduced a new series of game day enhancements, including a limited amount of free student tickets, that will debut at Penn men’s and women’s basketball’s doubleheader with Cornell this Friday at the Palestra. The news comes a day after Penn Athletics announced a new partnership with Uber that will provide Penn students with free uberPOOL rides to and from the Palestra for select men’s basketball games.
Eleah Parker seems to have gotten over the first-year jitters, as she has grown into one of the premier scoring options for the Red and Blue. Over the past seven games, the rookie center leads the team with 13.7 points per game, garnering double digit points in each game and three Ivy Rookie of the Week awards in the process.
To open the season, the gymnastics team is traveling to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, where the Quakers will face Cornell and George Washington in the Lindsey Ferris Invitational. Cornell is an Ivy rival and GW is a top-25 ranked team, but for team captain Kyra Levi, it doesn’t matter who the Quakers are up against.