Penn Gymnastics Inks Seven In Early Signing Period

Philadelphia, Pa. -- University of Pennsylvania Gymnastics Head Coach Tom Kovic has announced the incoming Class of 2009. Seven new student-athletes will don the Red and Blue next year for a gymnastics team that finished the 2004 season as IvyClassic and ECAC Champions.

This is by far the strongest yield Penn gymnastics has ever seen in early decision,” said an excited Kovic. “With a number of very strong candidates interested in regular decision, I am looking forward to a truly magnificent recruiting cycle.”

Kylie Beutler (Omaha, Neb.) is a Junior Olympic national qualifier and placed sixth on the beam and seventh in the all-around at the Level 10 regionals in 2004. Said Kovic, “Kylie brings Junior Olympic experience to the team and with that experience can lead the team in every event.”

Kerri Lutfey (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) joins the Quakers as a 2004 Level 10 regional qualifier. She also won the beam competition at the Pacific Classic Invitational in 2004. “Kerri is especially strong on the floor and beam,” said Kovic about the contributions that Lutfey will make to the team.

Katie Markelz (Fairfield, Conn.) placed fourth in the all-around at the Level 10 state championships in 2004. She also was a 2004 Level 10 regional qualifier, where she placed 10th on the uneven bars. “Markelz is an outstanding uneven bar worker who will make an immediate impact,” said Kovic.

Lauren Markowitz (Cincinnati, Ohio) was also a 2004 Level 10 regional qualifier, placing fourth in the vault and 15th in the all-around. Said Kovic, “Lauren is a sensational vaulter who will see action on beam and floor as well. She is also a steady competitor.”

Stefanie Navarro (Brimfield, Mass.) is a three-time Level 10 Junior Olympic qualifier who will bring both great talent and strong spirit to the team. Said Kovic, “Stefanie is a tremendous all-around gymnast. She has a very dynamic personality with strong leadership potential.”

Mia Turner (Ewing, N.J.) was the 2003 New Jersey state champion on the balance beam. She also placed fifth in the all-around at the 2004 Level 10 state competition and was a regional qualifier. “She is a very balanced all-around gymnast,” said Kovic.

Sarah Wexler (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) qualified for the 2004 Level 10 regionals, where she placed seventh in the floor exercise. Said Kovic, “Wexler’s contribution will be mainly on beam, vaulting and floor. She is a tough competitor with dynamic presentation.”

Beyond their strength athletically and their accomplishments in the classroom, Kovic is especially excited about the incoming freshmen’s citizenship. “All of the incoming freshmen are just plain nice people who come from outstanding families,” he said. “Their priorities are very clear and they truly understand the philosophy of the program. They are committed to work enthusiastically and effectively to help move Penn gymnastics to the next level. It is an absolute pleasure to bring such a well-balanced group to Penn.

Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, athletic communications assistant