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Women's gymnastics wins a meet against Temple University. Head Coach Tom Kovic(L) sits with assistant coach John Cerade(R). Credit: Kenneth White , Kenneth White

New is always better than old.

With part of the season already underway, the Penn gymnastics team is seeing the impact of its new facility, the Nalitt Family Gymnastics Center.

“We have all the equipment whether people need to take a step back or a step forward,” junior Wynne Levy said. “We have the equipment for them to do it right away.”

“It’s definitely an improvement and it will help us get to that next level,” coach John Ceralde added.

This new facility is a huge improvement on what the team’s space looked like only two years ago. Some of the highlights are a pit that connects to a set of bars and a tumbling strip. In addition, there are many more mats and other resources for gymnasts to learn new tricks in strides.

Many gymnasts have already gotten new tricks as a result.

“[Morgan Venuti] does her Tkatchevand then her full-out and then her full out dismount so she was able to do numbers compared to before in a free foam pit.” Ceralde said. “Miako Suarez learned a giant full to her double on the trench bar and she finally put it up on the pit bar so eventually soon it will be coming down.

“And same with Rachel Graham, she does her yurchanko layout half and we did it onto the resi first and now she’s doing it onto 20 cm … if we just get a couple more numbers in, she’ll be ready to compete it.”

In addition to gaining new skills, the facility also pays off with the health of Penn’s athletes.

“Having the new gym is also making it easier for people who have been injured in the past to come back quicker and easier,” Levy said.

It has not been an easy journey but the patience is paying off.

Last year, the team practiced in a back section of the indoor tennis courts along side fencing. For both sports, the facility was a temporary solution while the renovations were underway.

The gym contained all four apparatuses needed for the gymnastics squad but it had limited resources for those wanting to learn new tricks in steps.

“The difference is that we can learn new skills faster and in a safer environment,” Ceralde said.

The gym is one of the nicer collegiate facilities.

In addition to the new Nalitt Family Gymnastics Center, the competition equipment, which they compete on in home meets, is also great.

The new facility allows for the Quakers to host meets, which relieves them from having to travel every weekend, such as they did last year.

Already mid-season, the Red and Blue are utilizing the new equipment well and taking advantage of every inch of the new facility.

“It’s new, so new is always better,” Ceralde said. “It’s all new equipment.”


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