PHILADELPHIA - Gymnastics will be hosting a quad-meet this Sunday against California, Temple, and Southern Connecticut State. This meet will serve as the final regular-season competition for Penn and will also be the last time that the team will compete on the Penn campus during this season. The action will get underway at 2 p.m. in Hutchinson Gymnasium. The Quakers are coming off of a tough defeat at the hands of six-time defending ECAC Champions Towson last weekend and are looking to build some momentum heading into the ECAC Championships next weekend in Providence, Rhode Island.
California boasts the highest team average of the four teams that will be competing on Sunday. The Golden Bears are averaging just over 192 team points per competition this season. Like Penn, their strongest event this season has been the floor exercise where they are averaging just over 48.2 points a meet. California also averages over 48 points in Balance Beam, while averaging just under 48 in the uneven bars and the vault. Mariesh Pierce and Madisyn O'Brien are both averaging over 38.5 points a meet when they compete the All-Around.
Temple comes into the meet with an average team score of 189.309 on the year. The Owls strongest events this season have been the vault and floor exercise where they average over 47.78 in both events. They also average over a 47 in the Balance Beam. The two Philadelphia teams, Temple and Penn, have faced off twice so far this season. In the first meeting, Temple edged out Penn, 189.625-189.425 at the George Washington Invitational. In the most recent meeting, Penn turned the tables on Temple, defeating the Owls 191.950 - 191.600 at the Shelli Calloway Invitational. Temple has two gymnasts, Kaitlyn Watson and Corrine Williams who have competed in the All-Around this season. Watson averages just over 38.3, while Williams averages exactly 38.2 on the year.
Southern Connecticut State comes into the quad-meet averaging 186.433 on the team score for the season. Like the other teams competing this weekend, the highest scores from the team have been coming on the floor exercise, in which the team averages just over 47.4. Southern Connecticut State also has a very strong vault and uneven bars team. Southern Connecticut State's best chance at capturing the All-Around title will likely be Mallory Miller, who is averaging just over 37 points when she competes in all four of the events.
Penn comes into this meet after its first loss in the home gym this season. Despite the outcome, Penn managed to do some very positive things in the meet and will look to build upon those and get back to its winning ways this Sunday. Dana Bonincontri finished the Towson meet in first place in the All-Around with a score of 38.475. She also tied with teammate Kirsten Strausbaugh for first place in the uneven bars competition with both scoring 9.675 to share the top score for the event. Elise Bowe was also strong in bars, scoring a 9.525 to finish the meet in fourth for the event.
On vault, Bonincontri and Strausbaugh used scores of 9.600 and 9.575 to finish fourth and fifth respectively. On beam, Bonincontri scored a 9.7 to finish in second, while Megan Milavec scored a 9.525 to finish in fifth. In floor exercise, Strausbaugh and Keolamau Yee finished fourth and fifth to give Penn at least two top-five finishers in each of the four events.
This meet will also mark the final time that senior's Bowe and Briana Pressey will compete on the Penn Campus as members of the Penn Gymnastics Team. Bowe has been a constant in the Quaker's rotation this season, consistently competing in three events during all the meets. She has also competed in the All-Around during this season. Bowe has also been one of Penn's captains during the 2011 season.
Pressey has not seen live competition this season, but has shown tremendous ability in the floor exercise throughout her career at Penn. She set a career-high with a 9.400 against Rutgers a season ago and also had the highest score on the team in floor in the team competition against Yale that same season. The consummate student-athlete, Pressey was also a recipient of the ECAC All-Academic Team Award during her freshman year at Penn.
Penn will be looking to use this quad-meet as a launching pad into the ECAC Championships and beyond. This weekend will certainly be a good gauge of how prepared the team is for the postseason as all three of the opposing teams will present a challenge to Penn. After this meet, Penn will have its sights set squarely on the ECAC tournament next weekend.