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PHILADELPHIA - After one of the most successful seasons in program history, gymnastics will look to finish off the 2012 season with another strong performance at the USAG Collegiate Nationals. This meet will get underway with all eight teams split into two groups on Thursday. The top-two teams in each group will advance to the team finals on Friday at 7 p.m. Individual event finals will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Quakers are competing in the second session on Thursday at 6 p.m. Top-ranked Bridgeport, fifth-ranked Seattle Pacific and seventh-ranked Temple are all in the second session with the Quakers. Penn is the third-ranked team in the competition. Air Force, Centenary, Texas Women's, and William & Mary will compete as teams in the first session Thursday. Brown, Cornell, Southern Connecticut, and West Chester all finished outside of the top eight, but will send qualifying individuals to compete.
Penn has used four all-around gymnasts this season. Two of those gymnasts, Dana Bonincontri and Kirsten Strausbaugh are coming off career high performances at the NCAA Regional. Bonincontri just missed a trip to the NCAA Championship last weekend. She is ranked third in the all-around amongst USAG gymnasts (38.790 RQS). She is also ranked second on the uneven bars (9.815 RQS), 15th on beam (9.710 RQS), and 17th on floor (9.750 RQS). Strausbaugh is ranked fifth in the all-around (38.730 RQS). She is also ranked third on the uneven bars and seventh on the floor exercise with an identical regional average of 9.805 in each of those two events.
Megan Milavec and Amber Woo have also been regulars in the all-around for the Penn lineup this season. Woo will be coming off an ECAC Championship performance on the beam. She is ranked 12th (9.720 RQS) on this event coming into the meet. In the all-around, her 38.240 regional average has her ranked ninth in the meet. The freshman set career highs on three different events and the all-around at ECAC's. Milavec is ranked 17th in the all-around and is coming off a seventh place performance at ECAC's. Her best event this season has come on the uneven bars where she is ranked 17th. She recently broke her career high with a 9.775 at the ECAC's.
For the senior class of Laura DiPaolo, Rebecca Engberg, Katie Graham, Cari Hayes, and Claire Stingley, this will mark their final collegiate meet. DiPaolo has been a regular on the vault and bars lineup this year, competing in every meet. She is ranked 12th on vault (9.750 RQS) and is coming off a career-best 9.85 at ECAC's. She also scored a career-high 9.7 on bars just three meets ago. Graham has competed on the beam in every meet. She is ranked 23rd in this event and recently placed fifth in the conference. She has also competed on vault and floor on multiple occasions this season. Engberg competed on bars and floor once this season, while Stingley has competed on the floor in two separate meets.
Freshman Makeda Constable has competed in every meet as part of the uneven bars, beam and floor teams. She is ranked 22nd on the uneven bars and recently scored a career-high 9.775 on this event. She also had a pair of top-10 performances at the ECAC Championships on her bars and floor routines. Her floor score was a career-high 9.75. Her classmate, Wynne Levy, has competed solely on vault in every meet. Levy has scored at least 9.6 on five of her vaults, including a career-best 9.75 three meets ago.
Kaitlyn Reszkowski and Nicki Valenti have each competed on the floor exercise in multiple meets this season. Valenti has competed on the floor in six different meets. She has scored at least 9.5 in four meets, including a career-high 9.675 in the beginning of February. Reszkowski has also competed on floor six times this year and has also vaulted once. She scored a career-high 9.625 on floor at the beginning of March and posted a 9.575 in her only career vault the following meet. Diana Moock has added one vault for Penn this season, scoring 9.275, while Haleigh Zillges competed on beam in one other meet.
In addition to earning the third seed as a team, the Quakers bring the second-ranked bars team and fourth-ranked beam team into the meet this weekend. Penn has scored at least 48.7 in each of its last three meets on the uneven bars, all of which are top-five marks in the history of the program. They have achieved that mark a total of four times this season. The team has also gone over the 48-point mark four times on beam, including a season-high 48.675 in February. On vault, Penn has scored 48-plus in three straight meets, including a season-best 48.775 at the ECAC's. At this same meet, the Quakers scored 48.875 on floor and 194.400 as a team, both shattering the previous season highs.