On Sunday, Penn gymnastics tried to build off a first place finish in last week's meet versus Cornell, Brown, and Ursinus. While this weekend's result was not what the Quakers wanted, they were able to propel themselves from fourth to third place by the day's end.
The Red and Blue, who hosted Temple, Bridgeport, and West Virginia at the Palestra, finished with a team score of 193.825. Temple came in fourth with a score of 193.475, while Bridgeport placed second with 194.00 and West Virginia had the top score of 195.250.
Penn started on the vault, and it was an uphill battle from the start, as the group ended the first rotation in last place with a score of 47.800. Senior captain Caroline Moore and freshman Ava Caravela led the way by each putting up a 9.675.
After this slow start in the first rotation, the Quakers performed much stronger in the next three events. On the bars, they posted a score of 48.775, a new season high. The impressive mark was possible in large part to sophomore Jordyn Mannino, who posted a 9.850.
“We just have been trusting ourselves more, and we know how hard we work in the gym, so we’re just excited to go out and show it off,” Mannino said. “I honestly couldn’t do it without the five girls that are in front of me.”
Penn knew that it needed to build off its momentum from the bars and focus on the small details in order to reach a solid score.
“One thing that we do a lot is hone in on the little things and [on] how to maximize our scores as much as possible,” freshman Sydney Kraez said.
Keeping up their strong scoring on the balance beam, the Red and Blue finished with a total score of 48.550. They employed a very balanced attack, with contributions from many performers. Senior Nicole Swirbalus and freshman Natalie Yang each scored a 9.750, while Moore finished with a 9.800.
Even after a strong second and third rotation, the Quakers still found themselves in fourth going into the floor exercise. Strong performances from Caravela and Moore, who each scored a 9.700, and Mannino, who scored a 9.750, still couldn’t push the Quakers out of fourth.
On her final routine, Kraez put together a brilliant performance and was given a 9.800 for her efforts, vaulting Penn into third place at the last moment.
“We don’t really look at the scores. We don’t sit there and think about what we need to get,” Kraez said. “We just go out and do what we know how to do.”
Although a third place finish is not what the team was hoping for, the Red and Blue posted a strong point total for the second week in a row and will look to build off this performance moving forward.
“Today was a good stepping stone, but we still have more in us,” Moore said. “Our main goals are breaking school records and taking home some championship rings.”