Gymnastics Readies for Ivy Classic Title Defense

PHILADELPHIA – Penn returns to the Ivy Classic as defending champions this Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y. The Quakers took the 2007 crown with a team score of 191.550, .950 ahead of second place Cornell. The Red and Blue won the bars as a team with a score of 48.275. The Quakers also had two individual champions – Marissa Rosen on beam and Lizzie Lowe on bars.

Head coach John Ceralde hopes that the 2008 Ivy Classic provides the same spark that the ’07 Classic had. In the six meets leading into last year’s Classic, Penn had not scored above 189.925 as a team. Starting with the Ivy Classic, the Red and Blue did not score below 190.250 the rest of the season – a span of seven meets.

So far in 2008, Penn is off to a similar start. The team score of 187.900 last week at the Shelly Calloway Invitation at Towson University was the highest for the Quakers this season in six meets. Injuries have tapered down the routines for Penn, but with a return to health by key members of the squad, high scores should start to result.

Rosen has been one of Penn’s more consistent gymnasts in 2008, winning four all-around titles, including last week’s Shelly Calloway Invite – the fist invitational all-around title for a Quaker gymnast since 2005.

Freshman Elise Bowe has jumped right into the lineup for Ceralde, scoring valuable points in all events, especially on bars. She is averaging a 9.5 over the six meets this season – with a high of 9.650 in the season’s first meet against Rutgers.

Jordan Brewer has developed into a solid contributor in her junior campaign, participating in all four events. Her strongest event is vault – she averages a 9.5 with a season-high of 9.7 against Rutgers. She also is performing well on the floor exercise, averaging 9.46 with a season-high of 9.7 – also against Rutgers.

The host Big Red are coming off a second-place finish at the Shelly Calloway Invitational and have a win over Penn in a dual meet this year (189.750 – 183.825 in Ithaca 2/2). Yale also has a win over Penn this year (188.575 – 183.775 in New Haven 1/26). The high score by the Bulldogs this season was a 189.250 in a loss to Alaska-Anchorage. Brown rounds out the field and is struggling this season without last year’s ECAC Rookie of the Year, Alicia Sacromone. She gave up her eligibility to turn professional while training for the 2008 Olympic Games. The Bears’ high mark for 2008 is 186.200, achieved at the Ocean State Challenge.

The Quakers’ defense of their Ivy Classic title begins at 1 p.m. Sunday.