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3-1-2021-womens-gymnastics-sydney-kraez-chase-sutton

Senior Sydney Kraez prepares to do her bar routine in one of the last meets of the shortened 2020 season.

Credit: Chase Sutton

In a move that will shift the structure of Penn gymnastics’ upcoming seasons, the team announced today that they’ll be joining the Gymnastics East Conference in 2022.

The brand-new conference will be made up of eight different schools, each of which will compete in a conference championship meet on Saturday, March 19 in Providence, R.I. The meet itself will be done in two sessions, with qualifying teams ranked 5-8 competing in the afternoon and teams ranked 1-4 competing in the evening, based on National Qualifying Scores. In the world of gymnastics, this goes against the norm of conference championship meets that include all teams in one session and do not factor in prior rank.

Among the conference’s members are three other Ivy League schools, which include Brown, Cornell, and Yale, in addition to Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut State, West Chester, and William & Mary.

The conference, which is independent and gymnastics-only, includes both regional Division I and Division II schools because of the NCAA’s policy of not recognizing division classification in gymnastics competition.

“I am thrilled for our team to be a part of this inaugural year in the GEC and for the years to come,” coach Kirsten Becker said via Penn Athletics. “We are anxious to kick the season off in just a few short months, and look ahead to a competitive conference championship!”

Going into their 2022 season, the Quakers will be competing for the first time under Becker, who was promoted from assistant coach in May of 2020. Before the rest of their 2020 season was canceled, the Red and Blue placed first at the Ivy Classic, besting three of their Ancient Eight opponents.

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