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Junior Alex Hartke has been crucial to Penn gymnastics' success thus far this season. She was reward for her efforts in last week's meet against Yale by being named ECAC Specialist of the Week.

Credit: Zach Sheldon

Coming off a huge comeback win over Yale, Penn gymnastics looks to utilize that momentum against a struggling West Chester squad that has lost its last three matchups. Still, the Division II Golden Rams have ambitions to pull off the upset and knock the Quakers down a peg after their home-opening victory.

For the Quakers (3-1, 2-0 Ivy) to avoid defeat, they will need continued strong performances from sophomore sensation Caroline Moore and junior Alex Hartke. Both earned ECAC honors last week for their heroics against Yale, with Moore earning Gymnast of the Week and Hartke getting Specialist of the Week.

“It was a great experience to be able to win that,” Hartke said, before being quick to point out the real MVP. “Caroline Moore had an incredible meet. She has been doing really well this season. It’s been a privilege to watch,” Hartke said.

Still, it is important to put the exciting Yale match in the rearview mirror and focus on West Chester (3-3). Despite recent struggles, West Chester is a team that has given Penn fits in the past. Last season West Chester won the Penn Tri-Meet, besting the Red and Blue by a mere 0.3.

That said, Penn has no concern with either last year’s results or the current rankings.

“Just focusing, going into every meet and tackling every field individually is kind of our focus right now,” Hartke said. “Instead of worrying about the rankings and where other people are compared to where we are, we know the job that we need to accomplish.”

That said, the proximity and recent history between these two in-state foes still highlights the importance of this match. Even if an early season loss would not be overly detrimental, it would certainly put a damper on what has been a very strong start to Penn’s season. Look for a strong performance from the Quakers on the Golden Rams’ home mats.