PHILADELPHIA - After a long and grueling season that started in December with the inter-squad meet, Penn Gymnastics will have one final competition before wrapping up the 2011 season. The team will travel to the Air Force Academy this weekend to take part in the eight-team championship that will feature several top teams from the around the country. Penn comes in ranked seventh out of the eight teams competing, but Cornell and Bridgeport, two teams the Quakers defeated at the ECAC Championships, come in seeded second and third.
Bridgeport, Centenary, Seattle, Pacific and Temple will be the first four teams to compete. Those four teams will get their sessions underway at 2 p.m. on Friday. Air Force, Cornell, Texas Women's, and Penn will then compete at 7 p.m. that night in the second qualifying round.
The top two teams from each qualifying session will advance to the team finals on Saturday. The top individuals from the qualifying rounds will then advance to the individual championships this Sunday.
Information regarding the free webcasting of all four sessions and session times are available on the USAG Championships Meet Information Page.
The last time Penn competed as an entire team, the Quakers took second at the ECAC Championships, finishing just behind Cornell. Individually, Dana Bonincontri won the All-Around at the Championships, while also being named ECAC Athlete of the Year during that weekend. Megan Milavec and Kirsten Strausbaugh gave Penn three gymnasts in the top five with their third and fifth place finishes respectively. Bonincontri also qualified for NCAA Regionals and just missed out on a trip to the NCAA Championships after setting a career-high with a 38.9 in the All-Around.
Keolamau Yee and Katie Graham have also been two constants in the Quaker's rotation throughout the season. Yee has been consistent all year long on the balance beam and floor exercise, while Graham has done well on vault, beam, and floor, including having three scores above 9.5 in the ECAC Championships.
This will also be the final competition in the Penn career for senior captain Elise Bowe. Bowe has been a constant throughout her four years at Penn. This season, she has competed primarily in the uneven bars and beam, while also competing in the vault on several occasions. She also competed in the All-Around once this season where she finished second to her teammate Milavec.
This season has seen the Quakers just continue to build from the first week to last. Highlighting the team's season is both the Ivy Classic Championships and the second place finish at the ECAC Championships. The team also compiled a 9-3 record in its home gym this season. The Quakers will be looking for one more solid routine to send them into the off-season with several underclassmen that will be back next season.