When it comes to Ivy Championships, good things come in threes.
Looking for their third Ancient Eight title in as many years, Penn gymnastics will square off against Brown, Yale and Cornell on Saturday at 1 p.m. in New Haven, Conn., in a four-way fight to the finish for the crown.
However, if the team is feeling any pressure going into the weekend, they certainly aren’t showing it.
“[The] team’s looking forward to Ivies,” coach John Ceralde said. “They’re pretty excited, looking for that next chance to take advantage of our opportunities.”
One of those opportunities came last week, when a shorthanded squad put together a performance for the ages on Senior Day by registering a 193.975, the fourth-highest score in program history.
The Quakers still have plenty of work to do, though.
“[I] told them to work on their individual events and try to clean up one or two things in their routines,” Ceralde said.
Freshman standout Elyse Shenberger hasn’t had much cleaning up to do this season. It’s been a smooth transition to college competition for the Hummelstown, Pa. native.
“It’s been like this every week — at this point I feel like I’m pretty well adjusted to the turnaround so it feels kind of normal,” Shenberger said.
The freshman posted two career highs last weekend, on the bars and floor, and echoed her coach’s focus on consistency and incremental improvement.
“If everybody could pick up a tenth on all the events [that they do] then our team score can really go up,” she said.
The Quakers will be bolstered in their quest for the title by the return of junior Keolamau Yee.
“It’s a little surreal, I wasn’t expecting to be competing to be honest,” she said. “I literally got up and through my first routine a couple days ago.”
Yee competed her freshman year before losing last year and the first half of this season to injury.
She is looking forward to competing in her second Ivy Classic.
“[I’m] devoting my time and trying to be smart about where I spend it,” she said. “I’m focusing on one [skill] at a time instead of spreading myself thin.”
The days leading up to a major competition can be nerve-wracking, and keeping everything in
perspective becomes even more important.
“[It’s] practicing enough to be on your ‘A’ game and resting enough that your [body is] at maximum capacity to do your skills right,” Shenberger said.
That high level of consistency has allowed the Quakers to put themselves on the brink of another Ivy League championship.
As always though, the team isn’t losing sight of the big picture, focusing on what matters most: themselves.
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