Penn gymnastics' performance at the Ivy Classic was one of consistency and reaching new heights. But with a third-place finish, it is clear that doing one's best is not always enough.
Though Penn scored a season-high 193.875 total points, the Quakers came up short of their first Ivy title in three years. Yale, after losing to Penn in January by just 0.425, finished first this time at Brown on Sunday with a season-high total of 195.025 points. Cornell took second place, with the Red and Blue only topping the host Bears.
Penn defeated Cornell earlier in the season, but lost to the defending Ivy champions last week. Despite an attempt at revenge at this meet, the Quakers fell short to the Big Red by .475. This was Cornell’s best meet of the season, finishing with a total of 194.350 points.
Sophomores Tara Mills and Alex Kothe have been key members of Penn’s team despite their young age, and both excelled on the biggest stage. At today's meet, not only did Mills compete in bars, but she also started on the vault for the first time this season and scored a 9.525.
“I was really excited to lead us off,” said Mills. “I felt really confident going into it because we definitely put in the numbers this week on vault and we were working really very hard.”
Consistency was especially shown in bars, with five out of Penn's six athletes scoring 9.650 or higher. The overall score of 48.750 in the event was the team’s highest of the season. Kyra Levi showed her continued importance after scoring a 9.825. Allison Frommer, just a freshman, started in bars and tied her career high score of 9.775.
Kothe helped the team on bars as well, scoring an impressive 9.775. She has shown improvement this season but has yet to beat her career-high score of 9.825 set late in her freshman season.
“It’s great to be able to contribute to the team, even just as a sophomore,” said Kothe. “[Moving forward] we need to focus on our little details like hitting our handstands and sticking our landings. We don't make many big mistakes anymore.”
In floor, the Quakers showed their strength with a final score of 49.150, their second highest of the season following a school record 49.300 two weeks ago. Senior Alex Hartke’s score of 9.875 helped Penn beat both Cornell and Brown in floor.
On beam, four out of Penn's six gymnasts scored a 9.650 or higher.
Penn has scored lowest in vault throughout the season. At this meet, overall fourth-place finisher Brown finished ahead of Penn in this event. However, there were still a few bright spots there, as senior Megan Finck tied her season-high score of 9.550.
Though the Red and Blue couldn't win their first Ivy Classic since 2015, their season is far from over — and in fact, they won't have to wait very long at all to get revenge on Sunday's champion.
This Friday, Penn will take on Yale once again while competing against Maryland and Temple, which comes wwo weeks before the Quakers will see the entire Ivy League again at the ECAC Championships. If the team shows more than just consistency, it very well might come out on top once these rematches roll around.
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