Penn's winter sports teams aren't resting just yet. Though the women's squash season is winding down, indoor track and field and gymnastics still have a few weeks to go.
Penn women’s squash will be playing in the College Squash Association National Team Championships in New Haven, Conn. this upcoming weekend. The women are coming off impressive victories against Columbia and Cornell and will look to continue this form going into the postseason.
“The women are in a really good spot, and they feel really good that the hard work they’ve put in this season has resulted in a great seeding in nationals,” coach Jack Wyant said. "We were seeded No. 7 or 8 in the preseason and the fact that we’ve moved up a couple of spots from this is a great indication of how hard they’ve worked and how unified they are as a group.”
The Quakers have been drawn to play against Trinity in the quarterfinals, and with their opposition ranked No. 4, just above Penn, this will prove to be a tough test. This is especially true considering the physical toll that games during the regular season has taken on the women’s team.
“Physically their bodies are a little beat up, and therefore there are times like this where it’s all about mind over matter,” Wyant said. “Our priority is trying to put the women in a great mindset to be hungry.”
Track and field
Penn track and field's focus coming into this weekend is on the Ivy League Championships in Ithaca, N.Y., which will take place from Feb. 29 to Mar. 1. This weekend's upcoming Princeton Invitational serves as a chance for some athletes to get last-minute practice before the crucial event.
“This weekend the Princeton Invitational is more of a tune-up meet, and therefore not all of our athletes will compete. Many of our athletes will stay back and prepare for the Ivy League Championship,” said coach Steve Dolan.
The lack of competitive action this weekend will not dampen spirits ahead of the Ivy League Championships. Both the men's and women's programs combined for 23 top-10 records, with 12 inside the top three and an astonishing five program records at the recent Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational and the Boston University Valentine Invitational.
In Boston, senior Nia Akins set the record for the second-fastest indoor 800-meters in NCAA history and best in Ivy League history, winning the event with a time of 2:00.71.
Penn gymnastics have displayed mixed form this season. Before this past weekend, the Quakers had three losses and a win in dual meets this season, and had also placed third out of four at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational. Against Bridgeport, West Chester, and William & Mary this weekend, the Quakers placed first in their only home victory and last home meet of the season.
Aside from top contender sophomore Sydney Kraez, freshman McCaleigh Marr has scored highly for the Quakers this season. The Quakers' most recent meet is a testament to the team's strengths.
Freshman Rebekah Lashley and junior Darby Nelson won the floor and beam, respectively, for the Quakers. Nelson won by a margin of over 0.500. Kraez scored 9.800 on vault, with junior Rose Hoffman just behind with a score of 9.750. Overall, five Quakers scored over 9.550 in the event.
They will be looking to build on this going into the pivotal Ivy Classic on Sunday. On an individual basis, Lashley and Nelson will be looking to repeat their impressive performances with wins on the floor and beam, respectively.