Gymnastics Looks to Defend Title at Ivy Classic

The University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team looks to defend its title at the 2005 Ivy Classic, heldon Saturday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. in Yale's Payne Whitney Gym.

The Event
In 1991, the University of Pennsylvania women’s gymnastics team began a run of success that has brought the program eight Ivy Classic titles and two ECAC team titles. Penn captured the title again in 1992, becoming the first back-to-back champions since Yale accomplished the feat in 1986 and 1987. The Quakers asserted their dominance throughout the rest of the ‘90’s, winning the title in 1994, and beginning in 1997, won four-consecutive titles to close out the century and usher in a new one. Penn’s eighth, and most recent Classic title, came in 2004, when the Red and Blue recorded two new program event records, on the vault and on the bars.

Throughout the years since that first Classic title, 26 events have been won by 14 Penn gymnasts at the Ivy Classic. Four members of the Red and Blue have been named NCAA Regional Gymnast of the Year and 14 have been honored as All-ECAC for their triumphs. At the 2004 Ivy Classic, the Quakers recorded new program records in the vault and on the bars and scored the second highest on the floor in program history. Christina Anzalone tied for first on the bars with a personal-best 9.925 while Laura Duros took first place on the floor with a personal-record of 9.925. It was Duros' second-consecutive win in the event at the Ivy Classic. Both Anzalone and Duros' performances were the second-highest scores in those events in program history.

Last Time Out
On Feb. 12, the gymnastics team recorded its highest score of the season, a 190.125, to finish second at the 20th Annual Towson Invitational. Towson won the event with a 193.6, Temple finished third with a 188.025, Ursinus was fourth with a 184.8 and James Madison rounded out the competition with a 182.8. Two members of the Red and Blue made Penn gymnastics history by winning events in the competition.

The Quakers scored 47.500 on the beam to open the competition andfollowed up that performance with a 47.700 in the floor exercise and a 47.325 on the vault.Penn concluded the competiton on the uneven bars, where they scored a 47.600.

Individually, junior Emily Petkun, the reigning ECAC gymnast of the week, won the all-around competition with a score of 38.300. With the win, Petkun became the first Penn gymnast in program history to win the event in an invitational competition. Senior Leah Moon also made Penn history by becoming the first gymnast in program history to win an individual competition in such an event with her 9.750 score on the balance beam. On the vault, Laura Bouchelle finished fifth with a score of 9.575. The Quakers also took the eighth, ninth and tenth positions in the event, with Moon, Kimberly Chin and Kara Dewhurst scoring 9.500, 9.475 and 9.400, respectively.

On the bars, Petkun finished fifth with a 9.650 while Stephanie Ortiz finished ninth in the event with a 9.625. Petkun also finished fourth on the beam with a 9.675. On the floor, Kelly Sievert finished third with a score of 9.625 while Petkun, Lex Chalat and Moon finished sixth, eighth and ninth with scores of 9.600, 9.575 and 9.550.

Defending Their Title
The Red and Blue will also look to defend their 2004 ECAC crown on March 26 at James Madison at noon.

Up Next ...
The Penn gymnastics team is next in action on March 10, when they travel to the Air Force Academy for a 7 p.m. MST start.

Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, athletic communications assistant