Locals part of Ursinus-W. Chester gym meet

COLLEGEVILLE - Three former Pioneer Athletic Conference athletes were on hand as Ursinus College hosted West Chester University in a women’s gymnastics meet on Feb. 8 at Helfferich Hall.

Allyson Pancott, a sophomore from Phoenixville, is a member of the WCU Golden Rams roster. However, she has been recuperating from a hamstring injury and did not see action in the meet.

Also on the West Chester squad is sophomore Lindsay Knapp from Collegeville and Perkiomen Valley High School.

Representing Ursinus was sophomore Kristina Steffenhagen from Boyertown.

Pancott competes in the vault, uneven bars and balance beam. Knapp is an all-around performer. Steffenhagen does the vault, balance beam and floor exercise.

In the final team standings, West Chester defeated Ursinus, 190.575-184.525, in a meet was rescheduled at the last minute for Ursinus since West Chester was being used as a shelter during the snowstorms and power outages in Chester County.

Knapp scored a 9.25 on vault, 9.15 on bars, 9.50 on beam and 8.90 on floor exercise.

Steffenhagen scored a 9.50 on vault, 9.725 on beam and 9.025 on floor exercise.

Steffenhagen placed sixth on vault. She finished second on the balance beam to teammate Kristin Aichele (9.775). Knapp finished in a three-way tie for sixth place on balance beam.

On floor exercise, Steffenhagen came in sixth for the Bears with Knapp right behind in seventh for the Golden Rams.

“I have been out for a couple weeks, but I am back now training,” said Pancott. “I am doing all my routines. It is in the works.”

Pancott considers bars her best event.

“The team has been doing great,” said Pancott. “We just broke our school record actually. West Chester has definitely gotten better over the years. We have so much talent coming in.”

Pancott is the daughter of John Pancott, who has been running a gymnastics center in Malvern for years. So gymnastics came natural to her with it being in the immediate family.

Knapp has enjoyed her best moments on the beam.

“I have always been in a comfort zone on beam,” said Knapp. “It is my favorite and it was my best today.”

The Winter Olympics are taking place in Sochi, Russia, for the world to watch. And just as those performers have to be so meticulous in their routines to score well in the likes of skiing and skating to win medals, so to do gymnasts at any level. Every little move has to be just right or the routine can lag behind and the score dropped by the judges.

“You have to be very precise with everything,” said Knapp. “One little thing can add up.”

West Chester was Knapp’s first choice for colleges out of two while deciding in high school, and she still feels she made the correct decision.

“It was exactly where I wanted to be,” said Knapp.

The meet had a nice attendance since both West Chester and Ursinus are located within easy driving distance of each other. More family and friends were able to attend due to that proximity.

“I enjoy having them here,” said Knapp. “It’s great to show them what we can do.”

Steffenhagen surprised even herself with her strong showing on beam.

“Usually (my best is) floor,” said Steffenhagen. “But the beam was really well today. The team rallied after a rough floor rotation, and everybody hit.”

Steffenhagen has competed in gymnastics for 16 years with the last two at Ursinus.

She has taken the competition to the next level in college, where there is more team support for one another.

“You do the things you know how to do,” she said.

Both schools are priming themselves in order to make a run at nationals and the IC4A Championships.

The Ursinus head coach is Jeff Schepers with assistants Anne Lapent and Stephanie Schmidt. The West Chester head coach is Barbara Cordova (WCU Class of 1987), who is in her sixth season; with Sherri Missimer serving as her assistant coach.

Join the Conversation