The Penn gymnastics team finished the season with an impressive 11-2 overall dual meet record, cementing its place in program history as one of the best ever. While not as successful as the 2004 campaign, the Red and Blue used strength and determination to battle through injuries and some tough meets to come out on top. The Quakers also placed fourth at the George Washington Invitational, second at the Towson Invitational and third at the Ivy Classic before wrapping up the season with a third-place finish at the ECAC Championships.
To open 2005, junior Emily Petkun placed fourth in the all-around, while finishing third on the balance beam to lead the Quakers to its fourth-place finish at the George Washington Invitational. The Quakers then headed home, where they swept the University of Rhode Island, West Chester and Wilson in its first home quad meet of the season. In the meet, the Red and Blue scored 189.875 points and three members of the Red and Blue won events in addition to the all-around. The team also started off the season by sweeping the top five spots on the balance beam and the uneven bars on the day.
It was then time for the Quakers to face cross-town foe Temple twice in the same week. Penn prevailed in both meets, coming from behind to take each meet after struggling in the first two rotations. The Red and Blue continued its winning ways as they swept Ursinus, West Chester and Wilson in Hutchinson Gymnasium in the second home dual meet of the season. The Quakers had the top three finishers on all apparatus in the meet.
The following weekend, the Quakers recorded its then highest score of the season, a 190.125, to finish second at the 20th Annual Towson Invitational. Two members of the Red and Blue made Penn gymnastics history as Petkun won the all-around competition with a score of 38.30, becoming the first Penn gymnastin program history to win the event in an invitational competition. Senior Leah Moon also made Penn history by becoming the firstgymnast to win an individual competition in such an event withher 9.75 score on the balance beam.
The Quakers continued their tournament run with a third-place finish at the Ivy Classic, held at Yale. Senior Laura Bouchelle shined, winning the vault with a 9.650. Freshman Kimberly Chin placed fourth on the bars with a 9.750 and fourth on the beam with a 9.600. After the Classic, Penn traveled to Colorado for two meets against top-ranked competition. The Red and Blue opened the road trip with a loss at Air Force, scoring a 189.925 at the meet. Bouchelle continued her winning ways by taking the vault competition with a 9.700 and Christina Anzalone tied for first with a 9.800 on the bars.
The Quakers bounced back, however, closing out the trip by finishing second at Denver later in the week. Penn scored a season-high 192.075 to defeat Air Force, avenging its earlier loss. The team also picked up season highs on the vault with a 47.475, a 48.575 on the beam and a 48.525 on the floor. Individually, many Quakers performed well against the tough competition. Anzalone tied for first on the uneven bars with a score of 9.725 for the second meet in a row, while Stephanie Ortiz led the way for Penn on the beam, finishing fourth with a score of 9.800. Penn closed out the dual-meet season with a 191.075-190.425 victory over Ivy foe Cornell in Hutchinson Gymnasium. With the win, the Quakers wrapped up an 11-2 dual meet record and were undefeated at home.
To close out the season as a team, the Quakers placed third at the ECAC Championship, held at James Madison. The Red and Blue scored 191.975, its second-highest team score of the season, in the final competition of the year. A season-high 48.075 on the vault gave the Quakers the win in that event as well as a season-high 49.100 to take the floor competition. Individually, many members of the Red and Blue shined on the day. On the vault, Bouchelle placed seventh with a season-best 9.700. Moon tied for11th with a score of 9.650.They both earned second-team All-ECACin the event with their performances. Yael Sollins had a 9.625 on the apparatus, a career-high. On the uneven bars, three Quakers earned second-team All-ECAC honors. Anzalone placed tied for seventh with a 9.775, Chin earned a 9.650and Petkun scored a 9.625 to earn the honor.
Stephanie Ortiz led the Quakers on the beam, tying for second with a 9.625, earning first-teamAll-ECAC honors.Kelly Sievert placed seventh on the beam with a 9.600 and Petkun and Moon tied for eighth with scores of 9.550. All three earned second-team All-ECAC honors. On the floor, Petkun tied her highest score of the season with a 9.875 to place second. Sievertand Lex Chalat tied for sixth, each earning a 9.825 in the event. It was a new career-high for Sievert. All three earned first-team All-ECAC honors for their performances. Ortiz placed eighth in the event with a 9.800 andreceived second-team All-ECAC honors.
After the team competition was over, it was time for individuals to shine. Both Petkun and Moon qualified for the NCAA Regionals at the University of New Hampshire. Entering the competition, Petkun was a top seed as an individual in the all-around for the second-consecutive season while Moon was the top seed as an individual on the balance beam to close out her collegiate career. It was the first time in program history that two Quakers qualified for the event. Petkun placed 16th with a 9.475 on the vault, a 9.150 on the bars, a 9.575 on the beam and a 9.600 in the floor exercise. Moon finished in 40th place on the beam with a score of 9.100.
With a solid, successful season, the 2005 Quakers showed that the winning ways of 2004 was not a flash in the pan. While the leadership and talent of five seniors will be missed, a ready set of returning letterwinners and new faces donning the Red and Blue will continue to keep the program challenging the top teams in the coming years.
Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, athletic communications assistant