Gymnastics Readies for ECAC Title Defense Saturday

PHILADELPHIA – The Penn gymnastics squad will head north to Ithaca, N.Y. this weekend for the ECAC Championships, hosted by Cornell at the Newman Arena. The Quakers enter Saturday’s meet as the defending champions and are one of six competing teams – their stiffest competition from last season’s ECACs, Towson, is no longer a member of the conference. The competition will begin at noon on Saturday.

The Red and Blue shredded the record book last season with their ECAC championship victory. As a team, they notched the highest overall ECAC score, highest home score, and the second-highest overall score in program history – their vault score was also the highest in program history. Individually, Dana Bonincontri set the highest vault score in program history and Laura DiPaolo tied the previous program record as well. Kirsten Strausbaugh came away with two individual championships on bars and floor, while Amber Woo took the individual title on beam. Lastly, 12 Penn gymnasts set or tied their career highs, leading to their third ECAC title in program history.

The other five teams competing in this weekend’s championships are Brown, Cornell, Temple, William & Mary and Yale. The draw this year is extremely close with each of the top four teams having an equal shot at the championship. Penn’s biggest road blocks to a title defense are Brown, Cornell and William & Mary.

The Bears are averaging an overall score of 191.603 this season, with their season-high 193.925 coming in their first Ivy Classic championship victory since 1990. The Big Red are averaging an overall score of 191.313 in 2013 with their season-high 193.025 coming in their second-place finish at the Ivy Classic – the Quakers finished third behind both squads. Penn is averaging 191.200 this season and their highest score of the year came in a loss to Bridgeport on Senior Day at The Palestra on Feb. 17 – the Red and Blue’s 193.475 was the third-highest score in program history.

The Quakers’ biggest threat to a repeat is William & Mary. The Tribe is averaging an ECAC-high 192.356 overall this season, and the CAA squad’s season-high 194.575 came in their final regular season meet of the year – a dual victory over Temple at home last weekend.

There will be six rotations for all six teams this weekend – below is the draw for the Quakers:

Rotation 1 – BYE Rotation 2 – Floor Exercise Rotation 3 – Vault Rotation 4 – Uneven Bars Rotation 5 – BYE Rotation 6 – Balance Beam