PHILADELPHIA - Five seniors on the University of Pennsylvania gymanstics team will compete at the Palestra for the final time on Saturday when the Quakers host Bridgeport at 1 p.m. Amber Hu, Carissa Lim, Emily Paterson, Elyse Shenberger, and Morgan Venuti will all be honored before the meet as they finish their final season for the Quakers.
An oddity that Penn's final home meet will be just their second on campus all season. Penn last competed at home against West Chester and Centenary on January 31. Since then, the Quakers have competed five times, including last weekend's impressive performance at Temple.
Penn's day on bars turned out to be near historic as it was the second best score in program history in the event, bested only by a 49.075 in the 2004 Ivy Classic. Kyra Levi led the way for the Quakers with a career-best 9.900. Levi's score is good for a share of third all-time for Penn and is only the fifth Quaker to score 9.9 or better. Impressively, the Quakers took the top three individual spots last Saturday, with Elyse Shenberger scoring a 9.825 and Morgan Venuti turning in a career-best 9.800.
A QUICK LOOK AT BRIDGEPORT:Philadelphia is no foreign place to Bridgeport and Penn is no foreign opponent. The Purple Knights were in the City of Brotherly Love last weekend facing the Quakers and Temple in a tri meet in North Philadelphia. They took first in the meet with a score of 194.225. Bridgeport has been impressive in 2016, scoring over 194 six times this season. Their best performance came in a dual meet at Brown where they posted a 194.825 four weeks ago.
AMBER: A captain from Acton, Calif., Amber Hu has been a staple in Penn's line up since 2013. Hu completed in all but one meet since joining the Quakers. That meet was the first of the season her freshman year. She came to Penn as a level 10 gymnast and an AP Scholar. She will leave Penn an Ivy League Champion, ECAC Scholar Athlete of the Year, and the recipient of the team's Most Consistent Award.
CARISSA:Few gymnasts have come to Penn as decorated as Carissa Lim. Lim became a Quaker when she was already a Taiwan National Champion in all-around, vault, bars, and floor. Since then, she's been named a USAG All-American on vault, qualified for the USAG Nationals, and helped Penn to an Ivy Classic Championship by setting a season-high in vault during the meet.
EMILY: Venturing to Philadelphia from Westwood, Mass., captain Emily Paterson left high school as a two-time Junior Olympic Region 6 Championship qualifier. For Penn, Paterson was named the team's Most Consistent Gymnast in 2013, helped Penn win the Ivy Classic title in 2015, and has competed in all but one meet since joining the team.
ELYSE: What a career it's been for Elyse Shenberger. The Hummelstown, Pa. native competed at the Junior Olympics, taking third in bars and fourth on floor, as well as winning the Pennsylvania State title in bars in 2012. At Penn, Shenberger continued her excellence, being named to the USAG All-American team twice, named All-ECAC, and was voted Penn's Most Valuable Gymnastic in the 2015 Ivy Classic Championship season.
MORGAN: Since her freshman year, Morgan Venuti has built upon every season while at Penn. The Sewell, N.J. native only competed in one meet her freshman year, then five her sophomore year, before competing in every meet in 2015, earning USAG All-America honors in vault and bars and competed in the USAG Individual Championships, earning her the team's Most Improved Gymnast Award.