PHILADELPHIA – With two meets in the books, the University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team welcomes Ivy rival Cornell, West Chester, and Ursinus to The Palestra on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
Penn is coming off its best team score since April of 2013, scoring a 193.150 in a dual-meet against Yale last Sunday. The Quakers will look to build upon that score and create momentum heading towards the Ivy Classic meet later in February.
Watch Penn take on Cornell, West Chester, and Ursinus live this Sunday on the Ivy League Digtal Network (pay), and follow the team all year long on Twitter – @PennGym, and Facebook.
SCOUTING CORNELL: The Big Red will be competing for the fourth time this season, and have scored a 186.725, 189.200, and 189.050 in their previous three meets. In its best meet of the season at the George Washington Invitational, Cornell was led junior Alicia Bair on vault (9.775), freshman Anna Huang on bars (9.250), freshman Courtney Spitzer on beam (9.800), and junior Kaylie Cronin on floor (9.700).
SCOUTING WEST CHESTER: The Golden Rams will also be competing for the fourth time at Penn, having scored a 187.550, 188.000, and 188.025 in their previous three meets. In West Chester’s last meet, junior Majesta Valentine led the way on bars (9.725), beam (9.750), and floor (9.675). Junior Meghan Brannon led the Rams on bars (9.300), and freshman Madison Brent matched Valentine on floor (9.675).
SCOUTING URSINUS: Ursinus will be competing for the four time this year, and has already competed against West Chester in the opening meet of the season. The Bears scored a 188.100 against the Golden Rams, and since have posted a 186.400, and a 189.575. In scoring a 189.575 in a loss at Temple, the Bears set a new school record for team score. Top individual performances came from junior Kristina Steffenhagan on vault (9.725) and floor (9.850), sophomore Lauren Chavis on bars (9.650), and senior Kristin Aichele on beam (9.675).
INSIDE THE PENN SCORING: In the Quakers best team score in over a year, a 193.150 against Yale last Sunday, the lowest contributing individual score was a 9.500, with the average score being a little above a 9.650. Penn scored a 47.600 on vault, 48.550 on bars, 48.650 on beam, and 48.350 on floor. The Quakers top marks on each event this year are a 9.650 on vault by sophomore Carissa Lim versus Stanford, a 9.775 on bars by junior Morgan Venuti versus Yale, a 9.775 on beam by senior Amanda Schlaefer against Stanford and Elyse Shenberger versus Yale, and a 9.825 for Lim on floor in week one against Stanford.
ECAC COACHES CHOICE: For her 9.775 on bars against Yale, junior Morgan Venuti earned the ECAC Coaches Choice of the Week. Venuti hasn’t been able to practice on bars this year due to an injury, but was called to compete against the Bulldogs last Sunday, and posted Penn’s highest score on the event this season. Click here for more on Venuti’s ECAC honor.
GOOD TO BE BACK: After a breakout freshman season, and having to sit out virtually her entire sophomore year, junior Elyse Shenberger has returned to the lineup in a big way for Penn. Shenberger led the Quakers on bars versus Stanford, posting a 9.725. She then led Penn on beam and floor against Yale scoring a 9.775 and 9.750, respectively, setting a new career high on beam.
IVY CLASSIC RETURNS TO PALESTRA: The Ivy Classic returns to Penn, and The Palestra, for the first time since 2011. The last time the four team meet – featuring Brown, Cornell, Yale, and the Quakers – was in Philadelphia, Penn won with a score of 191.950. It was the first of back-to-back Ivy Classic titles for the team.FIRST TIME HOSTING USAG NATIONALS: For its first time ever Penn will host the 2015 USAG Women’s Collegiate National Championships. The championships date back to 1982, with Bridgeport claiming the last five team titles outright, and a share of the last six. Spanning three days and taking place in The Palestra, the event will feature eight qualifying teams, along with numerous individuals competing for a USAG title. The Quakers last individual champion was Kirsten Strausbaugh, winning on bars in 2013.