Gymnastics Heads to Ithaca to Defend Ivy Title

PHILADELPHIA -Heading to Ithaca, New York for the second time this season, the University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team will look to defead its 2015 Ivy Classic Championship on Sunday. The Quakers earned the title last season at the Palestra with a score of 193.725.

Penn has been peaking at the right time heading into the Classic. The Quakers have posted season-high scores in each of their last three meets, improving by more than .600 each time. They are coming off a second-place finish at Rutgers where they earned a 192.400, marking the first time they've scored better than 192 this season.

SCOUTING YALE:Coming off a third-place finish in a quad meet with Southern Connecticut State, Bridgeport, and Brown with a 191.300, the Yale Bulldogs will enter the Ivy Classic looking for their first title since 2005. The 2005 Championship was their third in five years. Penn visited Yale this year, but saw their meet delayed 24 hours thanks to the massive snowstorm in late-Janunary. The Quakers would triumph in that meet, 189.575-188.725. Yale's high score of 2016 is 192.275 on February 13 against West Chester and Rhode Island College.

SCOUTING BROWN:The only team the Quakers haven't seen this season, the Brown Bears started the year on the right foot, winning their first three meets, before posting a season-high 194.000 two weeks later in a second-place finish against Bridgeport at their annual Beauty and the Beast Meet. The Bears last won the Ivy Classic Crown in 2013 when this years seniors were freshman, it was the first time since 1990 that Brown earned the title.

SCOUTING CORNELL:The hosts are no strangers to the Quakers. Penn has already seen Cornell twice this season, beginning with the Lindsey Ferris Invitational to start the year at George Washington. The Big Red set a program record at the Invitational with a 194.025, the highest score of any Ivy squad this season. Cornell has been particularly good on beam this season, setting its program mark of 48.775 on January 31 against Bridgeport. Penn was able to get the best of the Big Red in a tri meet on February 6, defeating them 190.800-190.450.

LAST YEAR'S IVY CLASSIC:Penn won the 2015 Ivy Classic inside The Palestra edging Brown by .300 of a point, to claim the programs 12th title. The Quakers scored a 193.725 gaining momentum on floor with a team score of 48.950, before clinching the championships on vault with a 48.400, led by senior Wynne Levy who won the individual vault championship with a 9.775. It was Penn’s first Ivy Classic victory since back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012.

SPECIAL THREE WEEKS:Penn is beginning to earn individual accolades on top of its excellent team performance over the last three weeks. The ECAC has awarded a Quaker the ECAC Specialist of the Week Award for the last three weeks, beginning with Rachel Graham on February 7, then Kyra Levi on February 14, and this past week Alex Hartke took home the honor.