Gymnastics Hands out Yearly Awards at Team Banquet

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PHILADELPHIA - The 2012 season was one to remember for the gymnastics team. Coming together for one final time before breaking for the summer, the team took the time to relive the past season's accomplishment at the year-end banquet. In addition to celebrating the team's success, six individuals were honored for their contributions to the triumphant season.

Kirsten Strausbaugh was named the team's most valuable gymnast. The junior was one of Penn's two representatives at the NCAA Regional in the all-around. In addition to a career high performance at the regional meet, Strausbaugh was named a first-team USAG All-American in the all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise. She also took home second-team honors on the balance beam. A team captain, she was the winner of the uneven bars and floor exercise at the ECAC Championships, while sharing top honors on floor at the Ivy Classic. Her all-around score at the USAG Championships was the 12th-best in program history, while her winning performances on bars and floor were the seventh and 11th-best performances in program history, respectively.

Fellow classmate and NCAA Regional qualifier Dana Bonincontri was named the team's most consistent gymnast. The 2012 season was the second straight year that Bonincontri qualified for the NCAA Regional meet. In her third season at Penn, she rewrote the record book by posting three of the top-four all-around scores in program history. She also finished with the best and second-best vault scores in program history, while also posting the third and fifth-best uneven bars routines in program history. Bonincontri was a first-team USAG All-American in all four events, plus the all-around, and finished first-team All-ECAC in all-around and vault with second-team performances on beam and floor. At the Ivy Classic, she won the all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise.

Freshman Amber Woo was named the team's Rookie of the Year. Woo competed as an all-around gymnast in 10 of Penn's meets this season. Three times this year she was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week. At the ECAC Championships, Woo took home top honors on the balance beam to earn first-team All-ECAC honors. She was also a second-team All-ECAC performer in the all-around and floor exercise. She won her first collegiate all-around title during the meet with Yale.

Laura DiPaolo was the recipient of the Coaches' Choice award. A senior, DiPaolo competed in every meet on the uneven bars and all but one meet on vault. In the last weekend of her collegiate career, she earned second-team USAG All-American honors on both of her events. She was also a second-team All-ECAC performer on vault. Twice she was named ECAC Specialist of the Week in 2012 to go along with one coaches' choice award by the conference. A standout in the classroom as well, DiPaolo was named to the ECAC and USAG All-Academic teams as well.

Fellow senior Rebecca Engberg was the Benjamin Franklin award winner for the most inspirational gymnast. She was limited to just one meet this season, but posted a sixth-place finish on floor and seventh-place finish on the uneven bars during Senior Night. Engberg competed as an all-around gymnast as freshman before injuries forced her to specialize in particular events. She was also an ECAC and USAG All-Academic Team member.

Freshman Makeda Constable was named the team's Most Improved Gymnast. She competed on the uneven bars and balance beam in every meet, along with the floor exercise in all but one. Finishing her season off a strong note, Constable posted a career high on the uneven bars during the final regular season meet of the season. She broke her career high on the floor at the ECAC Championships. At ECAC's, the freshman posted top 10 finishes on both the uneven bars and floor. She finished in the top seven in three of her final four uneven bars routines of the season.