This weekend’s Ivy Classic saw a host of excellent freshman performances from all the participating teams, but the freshman class with arguably the most impact across all events was Penn’s.
Despite some flashes of brilliance (particularly on key bars and floor routines), Penn’s performance at the meet was hindered by major errors in every lineup but floor. Vault saw two falls having to be counted, and one was counted on bars. Freshmen, however, put up many solid performances (seven out of the 24 routines), and only one fall during the meet came from a member of that class.
“[The freshmen] have made an immediate impact,” Penn head coach John Ceralde said. “They came in today and really made a good adjustment to help the team.”
One of the team’s most consistent freshmen has been Natalie Yang, a beam specialist who has yet to score lower than a 9.700 on the event in college. She delivered her best score yet on Sunday with a 9.850. “It was really exciting to see the whole team come together,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Teammate Lauren Joost also had a solid performance. The Colorado native performed in the leadoff spot on both vault and beam, tying her career high on the latter with a 9.750. “I was pretty happy with my performances,” she said. “Starting off can be a little difficult, but I really don’t mind because I’m happy to start off my team.” She also echoed Yang’s sentiment that the team was her biggest motivation.
In spite of Sunday’s finish (still good for Penn’s third best score of the season), the freshmen and the team as a whole are optimistic about the rest of 2019.
Ceralde acknowledged that the team has “hit a couple bumps in the road” but that those bumps “don’t define the season.” He noted that vault especially has the potential to be far better than it was at this meet and that the team simply needs to work on its consistency.
The freshmen seem to feel the same way. “We’re all feeling more confident than when the season started because of the team environment,” Joost said. “We’re confident in ourselves and the team. We know we’re better than how we performed today, so we’d like to continue to build.”
Article by Katherine Weaver
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