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PHILADELPHIA - After capturing the team's first ECAC Championship since the 2004 season, gymnastics will be in search of individual accolades this weekend as junior all-around gymnasts Dana Bonincontri and Kirsten Strausbaugh travel to Raleigh, N.C. for the NCAA Regional meet on Saturday, April 7 at 4 p.m.
Bonincontri will be making her second straight appearance at the NCAA Regional, qualifying for the all-around last year as well. She will be competing with the hosts, North Carolina State, and will receive the home rotation and start on vault. In her most recent vault, Bonincontri broke the school record, scoring 9.9, at the ECAC Championships. After a bye in rotation two, she will move over to bars in the third rotation. She is ranked eighth in the northeast region on bars (9.815 RQS) and has scored 9.825 or higher in four meets this season, including a career-high 9.9 at the Ivy Classic.
In rotation four, she will compete on beam. On this event, she has scored at least 9.7 in four of her last seven routines. Earlier this season, she scored a career-high 9.8 at the second home meet of the season. After her second bye of the evening in rotation five, Bonincontri will finish up her night on the floor. She also broke her career high in this event at the ECAC Championships, scoring 9.825 and has two other floor routines of at least 9.8 this season.
In the all-around, Bonincontri tied her career-high 39.1 at the ECAC Championships, finishing second at the meet. She also achieved this same score at the Ivy Classic, winning the all-around at that meet. A year ago at this meet, Bonincontri scored 38.9, missing a trip to the national championships by just over a tenth of a point.
Strausbaugh will be competing alongside Kent State and starts on the beam in rotation one. In this event, Strausbaugh has scored at least 9.6 in three different meets this season, just missing that mark in two other meets. She recorded a season-high 9.775 on beam in Penn's second home meet of the season earlier this year. After a bye, she will move over to her specialty, floor exercise. Strausbaugh captured the floor title at ECAC's with a career-high 9.875. She has scored at least 9.8 in five of her last six meets.
Rotation four will see Strausbaugh head back to vault. She has scored 9.7 or higher twice on vault this season, just missing that mark at ECAC's. She set a career high on this event at Cornell with a mark of 9.775. After her second bye, Strausbaugh will finish up her night on the uneven bars, an event she is ranked 11th in the region on. She was also the ECAC Champion on the uneven bars, scoring a career-high 9.85. She has scored at least 9.8 in five of her last six routines and has not scored lower than 9.725 all year long.
Strausbaugh won the all-around at Cornell earlier this season, while finishing runner-up in three other meets. Her career best in the all-around came earlier this season when she scored a 38.9 at the Ivy Classic.
In order to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, Strausbaugh and/or Bonincontri will have to place in the top-two amongst all-around gymnasts that are not on the top-two teams overall. The top-two teams will advance to the NCAA Championships, while two more all-around gymnasts will also move on. Bonincontri and Strausbaugh were two of five gymnasts on non-qualifying teams that will compete for an all-around birth.