In gymnastics, sometimes the slightest of margins can decide the outcome of a whole meet.
The Quakers were handed a tight loss by Temple on Sunday, falling by a score of 193.675-193.325 in the team's third home loss this season.
While this defeat adds to a losing record for the Red and Blue, the team was bested by less than half a point, and some strong individual performances offer insight into the team’s improvement throughout the year. For example, although this meet was a blow to Penn, the team posted overall higher scores in three of the four events than it did in last week’s win against Cornell.
Saying this competition was tight would be an understatement, as the teams were closely locked after each phase of the meet, and event wins were split at two each.
In all events, there was only an average 0.600-point difference separating the winning and losing teams, with the closest being the Quakers' 0.025-point win on the floor.
Though these events were too close for comfortable victories, Penn’s lack of top individual scorers was a concern. The Red and Blue did not have event-winning gymnasts on the day and were only able to capture second place in three of the four. The Quakers often packed the top five spots, but its failure to deliver first-place performances allowed Temple to come away with the win.
The Quakers' best performances were on the beam, the event where Penn captured the biggest overall lead. The combined team score, 48.675 points, was only 0.025 points away from tying a season best.
Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week McCaleigh Marr led the way, snagging second place and her second score over 9.800 with a 9.850 on the beam. Junior Darby Nelson followed close behind in third, receiving an impressive 9.825.
Unfortunately for the Quakers, they were unable to gain momentum until the end of the meet, falling to Temple in the vault and bars. Results in vault were especially weak for the Quakers, with the Owls sweeping all three of the top spots in the meet.
On top of that, only one Penn athlete, sophomore Sydney Kraez, was able to break 9.700 points on the vault. These scores mirror those of the Cornell meet, so it seems that Penn needs to focus on improving overall and individual scores in this event to have a chance at placing highly in the upcoming Ivy Classic.
The uneven bars was the final event where Penn notched a score above 48.000, edging above the mark with a 48.025. Regardless of the defeat, Marr was able to stand out again, claiming second place and Penn’s best score of the day at 9.850.
The Red and Blue will be back at the Palestra on Feb. 16. Having yet to win a home meet, Penn will be facing its second multi-opponent competition this season, adding to the challenge of capturing a home victory. In addition, this meet against Bridgeport, West Chester, and William & Mary will be the last competition of the regular season at the Palestra, so the team will want to impress on Senior Day.
While the Quakers’ lack of first-place wins might cause concern for the rapidly approaching Ivy Classic, the team is on an upward trajectory in terms of point totals, which could bring the confidence needed for victory.