PHILADELPHIA - Home gym advantage was in full effect on Sunday afternoon at The Palestra as Penn captured the Ivy Classic, ending Cornell's run of three consecutive titles. This was Penn's first Ivy Classic title since 2007, which was the last time the Ivy Classic was held in The Palestra. It was also Penn's 10th title in the history of the event with all of the team titles coming in the past 20 seasons. Consistency was the key to the Quaker's performance as all but two of the Quaker's scoring routines were higher than 9.425.
To find how important consistency was on the day, you don't need to look any farther than the Quakers' all-around champion, Kirsten Strausbaugh. Strausbaugh put up a career-high 9.850 in the Floor Exercise and did not place outside of the top-seven in any event on the way to the All Around title. Strausbaugh became the first Penn gymnast to claim the All Around since Molly Sullivan did so in 1999. Ironically, Strausbaugh, a sophomore, claimed that title with Penn's last multiple time Ivy Classic All Around Champion Mary Pederson in attendance as part of the 1991 championship team who was being honored on the 20th anniversary of the 1991 team's Ivy Classic Title. In addition to Strausbaugh taking the top spot on the podium, the Quakers claimed the top three positions with Megan Milavec finishing in second and Dana Bonincontri finishing third.
The day started out strong for the Quakers with a team score of 47.100 on the Uneven Parallel Bars. This was team's second-highest total score in this event for the season. No season-highs were broken, but every single gymnast that competed in the event posted a solid score. Bonincontri finished the day in third place overall for the event with her 9.625. Strausbaugh put up the second-highest score for Penn, which was good enough for the sixth-highest score on the day. Milavec's routine put three Quakers in the top-10. Diana Moock finished the event in 15th, while Elise Bowe finished in 17th for the five Penn scores. Laura DiPaolo finished just behind Bowe in 18th place.
Heading over to the Balance Beam, Penn picked up the first of three consecutive 48 plus team point performances on the day with a season-best score of 48.200. Freshman Keolamau Yee posted the team's highest mark with a career-best 9.775 to finish in second place. Milavec posted a career-high as well with her 9.725 to finish in fourth. Strausbaugh, Katie Graham, and Bowe assured Penn of five gymnasts in the top-10 with their routines. Strausbaugh's routine was a season-best for her, just narrowly missing a career-high.
Penn's best event on the day was the Floor Exercise, in which the team posted another season-best team score of 48.625. Strausbaugh led all gymnasts with a career-best 9.850. Bonincontri finished on the podium as well, tying her season-best score in the event. Milavec broke her career-high that she set just a week ago, while Yee also broke her career-high to finish in the top 10. Nicki Valenti made her one routine count as she set the Quakers fourth career-high in the event to finish 12th. To give some perspective on how well the Quakers performed on the floor, Graham missed her season-high mark by a quarter point and career-high by half a point and her score still was not inside the top five for the team.
After dominating the floor, Penn entered the day's final competition up by over 1.6 points in the team standings. Nevertheless, Penn was not satisfied as it put up the final team score of over 48 in the Vault with a season-best score of 48.025. Penn outscored every other team in the Vault by over 1.3 points. In the final competition, the Quakers put four gymnasts on the podium, including the first and second place finishers. Bonincontri finished her day strong with a career-high 9.700 to finish in first. Following closely was DiPaolo with her second place finish. Milavec tied her career-best from a week ago to finish in fifth and Strausbaugh used a strong vault to finish in sixth. Graham tied a season-high with ninth-place finish to put five Quakers in the top 10.With the strong finish, Penn was 1.4 points clear of its next closest competitor Cornell.
Overall, Penn posted the highest team score in both the Vault and Balance Beam, while also posting the second-best team scores in the floor and bar routines. The team scores ties the season-best mark that the team set a week ago at the Shelli Calloway Memorial Invitational.
The Quakers will now have just under a week before their next competition on Friday against ECAC power Towson in Hutchinson Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
Team Trophy Presentations
Full Penn Results
|Uneven Parallel Bars|