As Penn athletics begins to wrap up the winter season, there are still questions that will be answered in upcoming season finales. Here are some things to consider before the rise of spring.
How will former national No. 1 men's squash fare in the College Squash Association championships?
Men's squash has finished its regular season, but the Quakers' year is far from over. After a pair of weekend contests that saw the Red and Blue defeat Cornell before falling the next day to No. 6 Columbia to round out its Ivy League schedule, Penn, which now occupies the No. 4 spot in the College Squash Association's rankings, will head to New Haven, Conn. to compete in the College Squash Men's Team Nationals.
The Quakers (12-3, 5-2 Ivy), led by sophomore No. 1 Andrew Douglas and freshman sensation Aly Abou Eleinen, will look to return to their winning ways and end the year with postseason success. The Red and Blue had an outstanding start to the season, winning their first nine matches and ascending to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history before suffering defeat at the hands of then-No. 4 Trinity.
Since that loss, Penn has gone 6-2, but both losses came against top-five competition. Eleinen, who has lost just one match all year, and the All-American Douglas will look to help the team defeat the nation's best at next weekend's championships.
How will gymnastics cope with improving competition as the Ivy Classic approaches?
Throughout the 2019 season, Penn gymnastics has illustrated clear improvements all around. From starting the season with a score of 190.000 at Maryland to scoring a near season high of 193.825 at last weekend’s Pink Meet, there is no doubt that the Quakers have been getting better. This progress can largely be attributed to the major strides the team has made on the bars. In this event, Penn was barely scoring 47 points at the beginning of the season but has recently been scoring closer to 48 or 49.
While the Red and Blue have been improving, they have had mixed results in competitions. Despite having nearly identical scores in the Teal Meet on Feb. 3 and the Pink Meet last weekend, they finished in third at the latter competition and first in the former. West Virginia and Bridgeport, two of last week’s opponents, were both close to tying their respective season-high scores. This trend of significant improvement among other gymnastics programs pegs the question of whether Penn can keep up with its opponents. The team's meet this weekend against William & Mary, as well as the Ivy Classic on Feb. 24, will likely answer that question.
Can a young wrestling lineup put its early season struggles behind it?
This season has been an up-and-down one for Penn wrestling. Although they did start with a 12th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, the Quakers (3-7, 2-2 Ivy) have only captured three victories in 10 matches. The team had an early-season win over Maryland on Dec. 2 but went on to lose its next four matches. The Red and Blue had a nice start to the Ivy League season, beating Brown and Harvard at home.
However, last weekend’s trip to New York was not as successful as the first pair of League games. Plagued with illness, a shorthanded team was handily defeated by defending Ivy champion Cornell, 40-3, with the only win coming from freshman Anthony Artalona in overtime. The Quakers fared a similar fate at Columbia, losing 25-12.
This Saturday marks Penn's Senior Day, and the Red and Blue will look to handle a strong Princeton team at the Palestra. Although Penn's young wrestlers have statistically had a better season than those of the Tigers, their freshmen were part of best recruiting class in the program history. Penn has shown flashes of greatness at points in the season — now, the group has to put everything together.
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