PHILADELPHIA - After picking up six consecutive victories over the past three weeks, the Quaker gymnasts will look to carry that success into the Shelli Calloway Memorial Invitational. At the Invitational, Penn will run into some very familiar competition as the Quakers have already seen each team that will be represented at the event this weekend with the exception of the host, Towson. Temple, Cornell, & Ursinus will also be making the trip to Maryland along with Penn. The Quakers are a combined 2-2 on the season against the competition that they will see this weekend.
Penn has already faced-off with Cornell twice on the season, losing the first and coming back to win the second meeting. The team also picked up a recent win over Ursinus in its quad-meet on February 9. The Quakers also dropped a meet against Temple, who barely edged out Penn, when the two teams competed in the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, which was Penn's first competition of the season. Perhaps no team will present more of a challenge to Penn than the host Towson.
A year ago, Penn finished third in the Memorial tournament. The team's performance was highlighted by Kirsten Strausbaugh and Megan Milavec who placed fourth and sixth respectively in the All Around. In addition, Dana Bonincontri and Laura DiPaolo finished in a second place tie on the Uneven Parallel Bars.
This season, the Quakers have gotten consistent marks from both Bonincontri and Strausbaugh. Bonincontri has won the bars and beam competitions in each of the last three meets, while also winning the All Around the past two times she competed in all four events. Her scores from the Quad-meet on Wednesday in the bars and beam were the second highest in the ECAC for the week. Strausbaugh has been another constant in the Quaker rotation. She has won the floor exercise the past two times she has competed in that event. Milavec is coming into this meet after a strong showing in her last time out. She did not place outside of the top three in any event and won the Floor Exercise and All Around. Her All Around score was the third highest in the ECAC for the week.
The only other Quaker to compete in all four events during the last competition was Elise Bowe. Bowe, who had been an All Around gymnast in years past got another chance and did not disappoint on her way to finishing second in the All Around. She finished fifth in both the bars and beam competitions. Katie Graham also had a solid showing in her last time out. Competing in three events, Graham finished second in the Vault and Floor Exercise. Keolamau Yee posted a strong score on her way to finishing third in the balance beam and Nicki Valenti also finished in a tie with Graham for second place in the floor.
The Shelli Calloway Memorial Invitational will begin on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Towson Center. For those who are unable to attend the invitational in Maryland this weekend, the action will be streamed live on the Towson Sports Network, which will cover primarily gymnasts from Towson University. Live Stats will also be available during the meet. This is the Quakers last event before they come back to campus to host the Ivy Classic in The Palestra next Sunday.