As winter sports enter the last leg of the season, here’s a look at what these three teams are up against this weekend.
Penn gymnastics will host Bridgeport, West Chester, and William & Mary at the Senior Meet this Sunday at the Palestra, seeking its first home win of the season.
While the Quakers fell to Temple this past Sunday by a fraction of a point, their overall score was a season high, and they plan to build on that heading into their final meet before the Ivy Classic.
“We’re just going to keep trying to build off of that momentum,” freshman and ECAC Rookie of the Week McCaleigh Marr said. “We’re just going to keep going into our meets the same way we always have, and that’s with confidence and trust in each other and the team.”
Athletes to watch include two freshmen whose strong showings last weekend bode well for the future of the Red and Blue. Marr finished second on bars and on beam, and Rebekah Lashley notched second on floor against Temple. Both look to continue their standout rookie seasons at the Senior Meet.
“At this point, I’ve shown I can hit my routines and I know I can score well, so now it’s just [that] I want to get as close to perfect as humanly possible, if not perfect,” Marr said. “So it’s just a matter of, 'Okay, I’m going to focus on pointing my feet as hard as I can, or keeping my legs straight, and just keep working on those small details,' because it’s those small details that make a good gymnast a great gymnast.”
Track and field
Penn track and field will be splitting up this weekend, with one group traveling to Clemson, S.C. for the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational and the other heading to Boston in hopes of continuing the team's record-breaking season at the BU David Hemery Valentine Invitational. The Quakers will look to use their strong performance last weekend at Penn State’s Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup as a springboard to try to set a few more program records.
The Red and Blue continued to impress last weekend in College Park, Pa. by setting 11 top-10 marks and times in program history, with notable performances coming from junior Jake Kubiatowicz, who demolished the weight throw record, and freshman Grace O'Shea, who notched seventh all-time in the 60-meter dash and a victory in the 60m hurdles.
The Quakers will be a team to watch as both meets this weekend promise to be a hotbed of talent.
Wrestling is looking to rebound from a pair of losses last weekend against Columbia and Cornell, facing Princeton and Drexel on Saturday and Franklin & Marshall on Sunday.
The Quakers’ first meet of the weekend will likely be their greatest challenge, against Ivy rival No. 14 Princeton. The Tigers will be coming in hot on their home turf, having made history last weekend by ending Cornell’s 92-match Ivy League winning streak. With that victory, the Tigers clinched their first wrestling Ivy League title since 1986.
That evening, the Quakers will travel back to Philadelphia and face local competition from Drexel. Their meeting with the Dragons last season saw the Red and Blue narrowly fall by a score of 16-15, and they will be looking for revenge on Saturday.
“That’s one of the goals, especially when they’re your neighbors,” coach Roger Reina said. “It’s, you know, city rivalry, so we recall that. But going into this meet, it’s 0-0. No individual has scored a point, no team has scored a point, so we’ve got to start fresh.”
Penn will be back at home to take on Franklin & Marshall on Sunday evening. Last season, the Quakers dominated the Diplomats, winning by a margin of 30-6, and they will look to repeat that result in the last match of a demanding weekend. Sunday will also mark the wrestling team’s Senior Day, in which the Quakers will honor the team’s graduating seniors and their families.
“With our team, a young and emerging program, I think we’re going to really focus on key details in terms of technical improvement going into this weekend,” Reina said. “Whether it’s Princeton or Drexel or Franklin and Marshall, we’ve got four dual-meets before we go to the conference tournament, and we want to use those opportunities to continue to make improvements.”
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