ITHACA, N.Y. – For the first time in program history, the Penn gymnastics team has won back-to-back ECAC Championships. The Quakers scored their second-highest overall score of the season on Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y. at Cornell with a 193.725, winning their fourth title in school history.
Leading the way for the Red and Blue was their performance on beam. The Quakers had their sixth and final rotation on beam, needing an outstanding team score to earn the ECAC title. Penn went on to total the third-highest score in program history with a 48.875 – surpassing the 48.775 they scored a couple weeks ago at Penn State – cementing the victory over the host Big Red, who finished second, by .475 overall.
Penn started the meet in the second rotation on floor and totaled a team score of 48.275. The Quakers were led by Elyse Shenberger, who placed fourth with a 9.800, and Kirsten Strausbaugh, who placed 11th with a 9.725. The Red and Blue moved on to vault for rotation three, and totaled another respectable team score at 48.225. Dana Bonincontri was the team’s top finisher on this event, placing seventh with a 9.725, competing on vault for the first time since Feb. 1 at Ball State. Wynne Levy and Carissa Lim were Penn’s next top two finishers, and they tied for 11th at 9.650.
In rotation four, Penn headed to the bars and scored a 48.350 overall. Strausbaugh tied for second with a 9.800 as the Quakers’ best finisher on the afternoon. She was followed by Bonincontri (9.775) and Shenberger (9.725) who tied for fourth and seventh, respectively. Megan Milavec placed 10th as well for Penn with a 9.675.
After going on a bye for rotation five, it all came down to how Penn could perform on the beam in rotation six. And perform they did, beginning with Milavec and Amanda Schlaefer, both of whom scored a 9.800 to tie for third – Schlaefer’s performance was also her career high. Bonincontri and Keolamau Yee were Penn’s next best finishers, tying for seventh at 9.775 – Yee set a season high with her routine. Shenberger and Strausbaugh were the last two for the Quakers as the rookie placed 11th with a career-high-tying 9.775 and the senior co-captain placed 18th with a 9.650.
In the all-around the Quakers had Strausbaugh, who placed second with a 38.775, and Milavec, who finished third at 38.650, make the ECAC podium.
The Red and Blue will now await invitations to the NCAA Regional Championships. The last two seasons, Penn has been represented by Bonincontri and Strausbaugh as all-around competitors.
1. Penn – 193.725 (second-highest score this season)
2. Cornell – 193.250
3. William & Mary – 192.950
4. Temple – 192.175
5. Yale – 192.100
6. Brown – 191.500
Beam: 48.875 (3rd-highest in program-history; season-high)
t-3. Megan Milavec – 9.800
t-3. Amanda Schlaefer – 9.800 (career-high)
t-7. Dana Bonincontri – 9.775
t-7. Keolamau Yee – 9.775 (season-high)
t-11. Elyse Shenberger – 9.725 (ties career-high)
t-18. Kirsten Strausbaugh – 9.650