Barbara Cantwell spent three years as a Penn gymnast, capturing numerous Ivy League and regional Championship titles, under the direction of her coach, and sister, Janet Cantwell. Barbara spent her freshman year at
Cantwell proved very quickly that Penn was for her. In her first season as a Quaker, and only the second full season of competition for Penn in the Ivy League, Cantwell won the all-around, balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise at the Ivy League Championships in 1980. She competed at the Pennsylvania Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (PAIAW) Championships and earned first place in the all-around. She then went to the next level and finished fifth at the Eastern Regionals (EAIAW) in the all-around, which included a fourth-place finish on the uneven bars and a third-place finish on the floor. Cantwell's standing at the Eastern's earned her a trip to the AIAW National Championships, where she placed 11th in the all-around. Cantwell's exploits earned her Daily Pennsylvanian Winter Sport Athlete of the Year, Penn's Most Valuable Gymnast and PAIAW and Whelan & Whelan Jr. Sports Award accolades.
How does one follow an act that earned such prestigious awards in what was technically her rookie season at Penn? How about defending her Ivy League all-around title, winning the PAIAW all-around and the EAIAW all-around? Cantwell did just that as a junior in 1981, while serving as a captain for the Quakers. She was named to the EAIAW All-Region team after leading the Quakers to their first undefeated regular season in program history (8-0). Cantwell was named Penn's Most Valuable Gymnast and a PAIAW Whelan & Whelan Jr. Sports Award honoree for the second time, while also being named an All-Eastern All-Star Team member.
Cantwell went on to claim even more fame in the gymnastics world as a senior. She was voted a team co-captain, won her third consecutive Ivy League all-around title and third straight PAIAW all-around championship. After a third-place finish at the Easterns, Cantwell went on to represent the
"It was a very unique time for