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PHILADELPHIA - For the second straight year, the Penn gymnastics team brought home the ECAC title. The Quakers entered the meet as a perceived underdog, but posted their second-best score of the season and repeated as ECAC champions for the first time in school history - a feat worthy of Penn's 2012-13 top 10 moments.
The Quakers continued to improve as the season progressed and began to see their full potential on February 17, when they hosted their only home meet of the season, against northeast power Bridgeport. The Purple Knights’ roster consisted of multiple former Olympians, and they performed as such. Despite the stiff competition, the Red and Blue were edged just slightly at The Palestra on Senior Day. Their 193.975 overall score was the fourth-highest in program history, giving them momentum heading into the Ivy Classic.
Despite the efforts of Megan Milavec – the senior won the beam title with a career-high 9.900 – Penn was unable to follow up last season’s Ivy title, placing third with a 191.600. The Quakers would compete three more times between the Ivies and ECACs, and put up respectable scores highlighted by a third-place finish at Penn State with a 193. Still, having lost the Ivy Classic, Penn would enter into the ECACs as the underdog.
The Quakers faced the same teams from the Ivy Classic – Cornell, Yale, and the champion Brown – plus Temple and meet-favorite William & Mary. However, Penn was up for the challenge and scored consistent top-notch team scores in all four events, totaling its second-highest overall score of the season with a 193.725 to snag the title. It would be the first time Penn has won back-to-back ECAC titles in program history, and just the fourth overall.
Co-captain Kirsten Strausbaugh led the way for the Quakers, earning the title of co-ECAC Athlete of the Year and first-team All-ECAC honors on bars and in the all-around. Four other Quakers earned all-ECAC honors for their performances in the championship meet as well. Milavec earned first-team on beam and in the all-around, Amanda Schlaefer earned first-team on beam, Dana Bonincontri earned second-team on bars, and Elyse Shenberger earned second-team on floor.
The 2012-13 Penn Top 10 list was selected by members of the athletic department. But here is your chance to weigh in. Was this ranking too high or too low? Who should be No. 1? Tell us what you think on Twitter with #PennTop10 or give us your thoughts on Facebook.
2012-13 Penn Top 10
No. 1 - July 17
No. 2 - July 15
No. 3 - July 10
No. 4 - July 8
No. 5 - July 3
No. 6 - Gymnastics Wins ECAC Title
No. 7 - Wrestling Upends #21 Lehigh, 24-12
No. 8 - Sprint Football Thriller(s)
No. 9 - Historic Basketball Comebacks
No. 10 - Men's Lacrosse Rolls Past #14 Duke, 14-9
ECAC Championship Highlights
Check out the Daily Pensylvanian's recap of the ECAC championship.