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First, Caroline Moore became a standout gymnast; now a senior, she's the team's leader.

Credit: Zach Sheldon

Caroline Moore was born to compete in gymnastics. That was evident from a very young age. It is her growth as a captain and a leader that is truly remarkable and has taken even Moore herself by surprise.

Moore started gymnastics at the age of three and was performing competitively on a team by the age of five.

“I was first put into gymnastics when my mom told me that I was not sitting still,” Moore said. “When I was at home, I was constantly in a handstand or practicing my splits.”

It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the sport. She was really good and the sport came naturally to her. She soon found herself ascending through USA Gymnastics' junior levels — starting at level four, which requires gymnasts to be at least seven years old, all the way through level 10, the elite level.

“As a little kid I was definitely in love with the sport,” Moore said. “That’s not to say there aren’t bumps in the road, so it's definitely been a long ride, but a fun ride at the same time.”

That long ride, which included a ton of hours, dedication, and hard work, culminated in the chance to compete at the collegiate level, and after looking at several schools, it was Penn that stood out the most.

“I really knew that I wanted to go Penn on my unofficial visit my junior year,” Moore said. “I just met [coach John Ceralde] and all the coaches and all the teammates, and it just seemed like the environment that I wanted to be in.”

After standing out her first two years on the team, Moore was named captain her junior season at Penn. Moore wasn’t so much surprised at the fact that she was named captain but by how much she had changed since her first year.

“Coming into freshman year, I didn’t really consider myself to be much of a leader,” Moore said. “As time went on, I really found the type of leader that I was supposed to be and that’s not only leading by example, but also picking people up and figuring out how people respond to things. That is the most important part about being a leader.”

While Moore may have been surprised by her own capabilities, her teammate, senior Nicole Swirbalus, didn’t expect anything less.

“I think she works really hard in the gym and inspires everybody,” Swirbalus said. “Caroline is an incredible leader.”

It’s one thing to be able to compete at such a high level and succeed, but that is what Caroline Moore has done her whole life. What she didn’t expect was to grow into the type of leader that makes those around her better as well.