For the first time in five years, the Penn gymnastics team played the bridesmaid at the Ivy Championships. Competing against Yale, Cornell and Brown, the Quakers were unable to defend their title, taking second behind the host Elis. Though the Quakers were defeated by Yale for the second time this season, the team's second-place finish was a satisfying performance for an injury-hampered squad. "Clearly Yale was the better team on that day," Penn coach Tom Kovic said. "But considering the circumstances, I think the team stepped up and really did a good job." The Red and Blue's 190.475 was their second-highest total of the season and included school records in the team vault and an individual vault record for freshman Anna Wilson (9.850). The floor exercises proved to be a strong suit for the Quakers yet again, as they managed a 47.875 in their first event. Meaghan Sanders led the way with a score of 9.725. After the vault and the floor, the Quakers trailed Yale by just .575 -- 96.325 to 95.750. The opportunity to avenge the earlier defeat suffered in January at the hands of the Elis was definitely in sight. "After two rotations it was really, really close," Penn tri-captain Kelly Haberer said. "We were still sure that we had a chance." The 25th anniversary Ivy Championship was neck and neck until Penn got on the bars. There, the Red and Blue were only able to muster a 46.65. Though a decent score for one of the Quakers weaker events, it was not enough to keep pace with Yale. In their third rotation, the floor, the Elis began to pull away with a 48.50. "After our third rotation, we knew we were quite a ways behind them. We didn't do really bad [on the bars], just really bad in comparison to what Yale did," Haberer said. "And we knew we were quite a ways behind then." The Quakers had indeed slipped too far back to catch up. Yale only added to its insurmountable lead with a 48.325 on the vault. In their final event, the Penn beam performers posted an outstanding, but not quite good enough, 48.075. Jenn Capasso added to the total with a personal best score of 9.850. Unfortunately for the Quakers, even some of their best performances weren't enough to displace the strong home team in New Haven, Conn. "Yale's a very deep, deep team," Kovic said. "And we knew from what we had seen in Philadelphia that this was going to be a formidable challenge." Though that challenge proved to be too daunting, their stellar performances left the Red and Blue excited about the remainder of the season and the chance to face Yale again at the ECAC Championships. "This performance is definitely one that is really etched in my mind. The girls really went out there and did a great job," Kovic said. "But this great meet was basically just a stepping stone." Though Kovic and Haberer both expressed disappointment at the team's failure to capture an illustrious fifth consecutive Ivy title, the possibility of beating Yale at the ECACs with a healthy squad proved reassuring. "We're hoping to get 'em back at our conference meet," Haberer said. "We'll have a couple of people back and we should be ready to go." After this weekend, the Quakers will have an extra dose of motivation going into ECACs. "I think that's our No. 1 goal right now -- to go in there at ECACs and beat Yale," Haberer said. "It gives everyone a determination and a reason to work harder."Comments powered by Disqus
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