Every team wants to start the season off on the right foot. Not every team gets that wish.
Penn gymnastics opened the season on Sunday in College Park, Md. against the host Terrapins, West Chester, and Cortland State. Maryland came out on top with a team score of 193.85 followed by West Chester with 190.65, Penn with 190.55, and Cortland State with a score of 183.45.
Penn started the competition on the uneven bars where they got two scores over 9.500 from sophomore Allison Frommer (9.700) and junior Kellie Flavin (9.650), who came in fifth and sixth place, respectively. The high score on the uneven bars was a tie of 9.875 from two Maryland teammates, sophomore Emilie LeBlanc and junior Alecia Farina.
The Quakers moved on to the balance beam next, and they were able to show off their prowess and some of their most valuable athletes. Penn was able to secure the top two spots on the beam as freshman Natalie Yang tied for second with a score of 9.775 and senior captain Caroline Moore finished first with a score of 9.800.
Moore’s score was a bright spot on the day as she was able maintain her dominance from last year. Moore, who was a USAG first team All-American on the beam in 2018, started off 2019 on the same note she ended on last season.
After the beam, the Quakers took on the floor exercise. The floor was dominated by Maryland as the Terrapins recorded the top five scores. Penn was right behind them with two Quakers, sophomore Jordyn Mannino and freshman Ava Caravela, scoring a 9.675.
The final event was the vault. While the narrative of the day remained the same with Maryland claiming the top four spots, the Quakers had one of their strongest collective performances on the day. Caravela tied for fourth in her second event with a score of 9.725 while senior captain Valerie Rube also turned in a strong performance with a score of 9.65.
While Moore and Rube's performances were impressive, they were somewhat expected from the experienced leaders and captains. Even more promising performances came from some of the young gymnasts, who showed that the future of the program might be in good hands for years to come.
From Yang's second place finish on the beam, to the high scores from Frommer and Caravela on the bars and floor, to the fourth place finish from Caravela on the vault, the young Quakers showed promise and fight in their first competition of the year.
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