Two Quakers Headed to NCAA Regionals

Two members of the University of Pennsylvania gymnastics team have qualified for the NCAA Northeast Regional, held at the University of New Hampshire on April 9. Junior Emily Petkun qualified for the all-around competition for the second-consecutive year while senior Leah Moon qualified as an individual on the balance beam for the first time in her Penn career.

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” said Head Coach Tom Kovic. “It is the first time in the history of the program where we have had two qualifiers for the regional.”

No. 1 seeds

Both Petkun and Moon are the No. 1 seeds in their respective events in the competition as individuals. Said Petkun, “I am extremely proud to be the number one seed going into regionals.It builds my confidence because I know that I can beat all of the all-around qualifiers and that I deserve to be in the top spot.No matter what happens at regionals, I will happy that I achieved such an accomplishment by being the top seeded qualifier.”

Said Moon, “It certainly is an honor, considering that there are many gymnasts out there, including girls on our own team whose routines I consider to be more difficult than my own.It just goes to show how consistency pays off. In each meet, I thought about hitting the event for the team, so to have reached such a personal achievement was certainly unexpected. But I know I got to be ranked first by consistently performing throughout the season.”

Learning From Experience

This is the second-consecutive season in which Petkun has qualified for the all-around competition. In 2004 she finished 21st in the competition as the first Penn qualifier since 2001.

“My experience last year at regionals and all throughout the season will definitely help me in the competition,” said Petkun.“I've had experience competing in big arenas against teams that are very strong last year at regionals and this year, especially at University of Denver.There will be a lot of great gymnastics to see at regionals, but I know how to stay focused on myself and my routines so that I can do the best I can.”

The Competition

Six teams, five all-around competitors who are not members of a qualifying team and one individual event specialist per event each qualified for the regional competitions. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors who are not members of an advancing team from each of the six regionals will receive an automatic berth to the national championships, held on April 21-23 at Auburn University. Individual event winners from each regional will also advance if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.

Penn in 2005

The Quakers finished the 2005 season with an 11-2 overall dual meet record. They placed fourth at the George Washington Invitational, second at the Towson Invitational and third at the Ivy Classic. They concluded the season with a third-place finish at the ECAC Championships.