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Sophomore Natalie Yang's score of 9.875 on the beam was Penn's highest score of the day in any event against Rutgers.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Penn gymnastics' rough start to the 2020 season continued on Sunday at the Palestra as the Quakers suffered their second dual meet loss of the season at the hands of a competitive Rutgers squad.

Despite strong beam and floor rotations, the Red and Blue struggled overall in their latest home meet and fell 193.575 to 190.875 to the Scarlet Knights.

The match began with the Quakers tallying an impressive set of matching scores on the vault. Sophomores Edie Noor Graber and Lauren Joost both scored a 9.500 in the event. Freshman Rebekah Lashley, last week's Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week, also matched that score. Later on in the event, sophomore Sydney Kraez achieved the highest score in the vault event with her 9.750. Despite Penn's strong efforts, however, the Quakers' vault score of 47.725 was bested by Rutgers’ 48.700.

After falling short in the vault event, the Quakers looked to even things up on the uneven bars. At first, it looked as though the Quakers may have had a chance to come back as the team continued to build upon their solid initial performance throughout the event. Sophomore Sydney Kraez once again claimed the top performance with a 9.750. She was followed by junior Rose Hoffman, who scored a 9.575 in the event. Although they got off to a strong start again, uneven bars proved to be the Red and Blue's biggest setback of the day as Rutgers came out on top, 48.100 to 46.925.

Moving into the balance beam, the Quakers continued to struggle to best the Rutgers gymnasts. Although Penn got off to a rough start in the event, the gymnasts saw a steady improvement over its course. The Red and Blue's efforts in the event were highlighted by the performance of sophomore Natalie Yang, whose score of 9.875 was Penn's highest of the night across all four events. Yang's efforts were not enough, however, as the team's total of 48.300 to was still short of the Scarlet Knights' 49.125.

Credit: Chase Sutton Sophomore Sydney Kraez.

In the meet's final event, the floor, Penn was hungry for redemption. Freshman Rebekah Lashley showed out with a 9.750, and junior Jordyn Mannino also impressed with with a 9.650. While the Quakers managed to finish the meet strong by topping Rutgers 47.925-47.650 in the final event, they still fell short in the overall totals.

With only three matches under their belt, the Red and Blue are still in the early stages of their 2020 campaign. Despite struggling to overcome tough competition in each of their first three outings, the Quakers have proven their ability to stay focused, hang tough, and compete throughout a match's entirety. Penn will look to build upon the competitive nature it has displayed so far as it travels to Ithaca, N.Y. next Sunday to face off against Ivy League rival Cornell.

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