PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team heads to Shreveport, La. on Friday for the USAG Collegiate National Championships. Penn will begin competition on Friday night at 7 p.m. for the team preliminaries. The following night, also at 7 p.m., will be the team finals. On Sunday, should any Quakers qualify, would be the individual finals which are schedule to being at 1:15 p.m.
There are eight teams competing at the USAGs – Air Force, Texas Women’s University, Brown, Cornell, Seattle Pacific, Penn, Bridgeport and host Centenary – to be split up into two competition sessions. The Quakers will compete in the second session, one in which they placed second to qualify for the team final last season.
In 2012 the championships were hosted in Bridgeport, Conn., where the Quakers finished third overall in the team finals. Their 193.900 overall team score was, at the time, the fourth-highest in program history – it is now fifth after Penn’s 193.975 against Bridgeport at The Palestra on Senior Day earlier this season. Additionally, the Red and Blue were helped out immensely by Dana Bonincontri and Kirsten Strausbaugh, who would both qualify for the individual final.
Bonincontri placed second in the all-around during the team prelims, scoring the highest all-around score in program history with a career-high 39.275. In addition, Strausbaugh placed third with a then-career-high 38.950.
In the team finals, Bonincontri would tie the individual all-around record she had broken the day prior by finishing first with a 39.225. Strausbaugh would place fourth with a new career-high 38.975, which was also good to tie for the 12th-highest score in program history. Penn would finish with a 193.375, placing third in the overall standings.
As a team Penn is coming off its second consecutive ECAC title, the fifth in program history, where it took the championship in Ithaca, N.Y. with a 193.725 overall score. Additionally, Strausbaugh will look to continue her success, as the senior co-captain competed in the NCAA Morgantown regional championship last weekend. In addition to Bonincontri and Strausbaugh, Megan Milavec will also star for the Quakers as the senior has been a dominant all-around competitor all season long.