The final month of the Penn gymnastics season is underway, but it did not get off to the start the Quakers may have hoped for. Penn traveled to compete in Maryland's Terrapin Invitational this Sunday, where they finished in fifth out of five teams with a score of 193.275.
A week ago, the Red and Blue took home the Ivy League Championship, so they entered Sunday’s invitational eager to continue where they left off. Things did not go according to plan, however, as the Quakers finished last among the teams, which included Ivy rival Yale. Despite the team's struggles, several individual athletes had notable performances.
Sophomore Sydney Kraez, who was recently named ECAC Gymnast of the Week, set her personal record on the vault at 9.850m. With strong performances in the bars, beam, and floor events, Kraez managed an all-around score of 38.825. The sophomore has continued to build upon the hot streak she started at the Ivy Championship last week and that she has maintained all year.
“I think all year we’ve just been training really hard, working on our landings and minimizing our deductions on vault, coming together as a vault team. My teammates are really what helped me get to my career high today,” Kraez said. “This team is so special and it really feels like a family. Every weekend we tell ourselves that we want to go out there, have fun, and leave it all out on the floor.”
Juniors Jordyn Mannino and Rose Hoffman also recorded notable performances in the meet, as did freshman McCaleigh Marr. All three of the gymnasts scored a 9.775 on the bars. On the beam and floor, it was Rebekah Lashley that led the Quakers with scores of 9.700 and 9.750.
All in all, host Maryland took first place with a formidable score of 196.975. Yale also performed well, and its 194.375 was good enough for second in the meet.
“Today we appeared to be a little shaky on the first two events, and it wasn’t our best performance by any means on beam and floor, but it wasn’t bad either. We all hit our beam routines, and we had to fall on floor today, but that doesn’t mean anything for us, because we were able to come together as a team again and turn it around,” Kraez said. “We did really good on vault and bars after that, and I think that speaks a lot to how our team is, and that we are fighters and nothing can stop us.”
Despite the team's struggles, the Red and Blue have high expectations for the rest of their season.
“We just want to keep building, because that’s what we’ve been doing all year. Every meet we try to build off of the last one and just keep the momentum going,” Kraez said. "For these next three meets, we just want to go into it all together, one family, and one heart."
This Friday, the Red and Blue will make the short trip across the Schuylkill River to compete against Temple. The Quakers will look to build momentum as they move toward the ECAC Championship meet later this month.