Gymnastics Wins a Nailbiter With Temple, 187.475-186.975

PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team saved its best for last as it pulled away in the final rotation to defeat Temple, 187.475 to 186.975, Wednesday night at Hutchinson Gymnasium.

With just 25-one-hundreths of a point separating the Quakers (4-3) and the Owls (2-13) after three rotations, Penn hit the floor exercise on fire, scoring a 47.075 to Temple's 46.600 on beam to win.

"We knew it tight going in, and we went into the huddleand said we were going to win," explained Head Coach Tom Kovic.

The key performance was senior Emily Petkun's. The sixth and final competitor for Penn on floor, Petkun had had a disappointing night through three rotations, with a 9.025 on bars and a 9.150 on beam. But she nailed a 9.725 on the floor,the team'sseason high in the event, to assure the Quaker victory.

"That's the competitor in Emily Petkun," said Kovic. "That's why she's a three-time NCAA qualifier. She can have a bad event, but she approachesthe nextevent with a clean slate."

Sophomore Stephanie Ortiz won the all-around with a 37.900. Temple's Sarah Leibowitz was second with 37.550.

Ortiz won thebars with a 9.625, just 0.05 off her career-high, while freshman Kerri Lutfey won the beam with a 9.600. Petkun's score captured the floor competition, and Temple's Jillian Kornett won the vault with a 9.625.

Penn returns to action Sunday at Ursinus with a noon meet.