Husker women win conference gymnastics title
East Lansing, Mich. - Paced by a program-record 49.725 on vault and nine titles in four events and the all-around, the No. 9 Nebraska women's gymnastics team captured their third-consecutive conference crown with a 197.800 at the 2013 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships. NU's score was a conference championship school record and gave Head Coach Dan Kendig his 14th conference title at Nebraska. The Huskers' crown marked the first time the program has earned three-straight conference titles since 2001-02-03.
Emily Wong earned her second consecutive Big Ten all-around title, posting the second-highest score at a conference championship meet in school history (39.725). Wong took or tied for top honors on uneven bars (9.925), balance beam (9.90) and floor exercise (9.975) en route to top honors at the meet.
Joining Wong at the top of the podium were five additional Huskers. Janelle Giblin, Hollie Blanske, Brittany Skinner and Jessie DeZiel all tied for the title of conference vault champion, posting identical scores of 9.95. Wong and Jennifer Lauer tied three other conference gymnasts to earn the beam title at 9.90.
The Huskers kicked off the championship meet with a 49.375 on bars, their highest road score on the event this season. NU was paced by Wong, who earned a meet-best 9.925 overall that included a perfect 10.0 from one of four judges. Kassandra Nathe added a career-high 9.90 to aid Nebraska. DeZiel picked up a solid mark of 9.875, and Janelle Giblin tacked on a 9.85.
Nebraska took an early lead after the first rotation with their mark of 49.375. Michigan posted a 49.250 on floor to take second, while Minnesota earned a 49.200 on beam for third. Penn State trailed in fourth with a 48.925 on vault.
Nebraska displayed great focus and composure on beam in their second rotation, bouncing back from an early fall to capture a 49.225 on the event. Wong and Jennifer Lauer led the way for the Big Red, each earning marks of 9.90 in their anchoring routines to tie for the conference title. GIblin tied her second-highest beam score of the season with a 9.85, and DeZiel captured an identical 9.85.
Michigan took the lead after two events, earning a 49.575 on vault to give the Wolverines a 98.825. Nebraska trailed narrowly in second at 98.600, while Minnesota picked up a 49.225 on floor to come in third at 98.425. Penn State remained in fourth, picking up a 49.175 on bars to hold a 98.100.
The Huskers exploded for a season-high 49.475 on floor in their third rotation, which tied for the second-highest floor score at a conference championship in program history. Emily Wong led the way for NU, earning a perfect 10.0 from two judges to capture a career-high 9.975. DeZiel tied her career-best on floor, earning a season-high 9.95. Blanske earned a career-high-tying mark of 9.90, and Skinner captured a 9.85.
The Wolverines held their lead with three events down, posting a 49.400 on bars to check in at 148.225. Nebraska held strong at second with a 148.075. Minnesota picked up a 49.350 on vault to come in at 147.775, and Penn State earned an 48.600 on beam to pick up fourth at 146.700.
Nebraska took to vault in their final rotation of the evening, needing a stellar performance to overtake Michigan for the conference title. The Huskers more than delivered, earning a program-record 49.725 to seal their third-straight title. Four Huskers earned identical scores of 9.95 to tie for top honors in the Big Ten: Blanske, DeZiel, Giblin, and Skinner. Wong addded a 9.925, and Desire' Stephens posted a 9.85.
Emily Wong earned the seventh-highest all-around score in school history, finishing with a 39.725 to take top honors at the meet. DeZiel finished close behind in second at 39.625, while Michigan's Joanna Sampson took third with a 39.575.
Michigan earned a 49.000 on beam to finish second overall at the meet at 197.225. Minnesota captured a a 49.000 on bars to finish third in the conference at 196.775, while Penn State posted a 49.125 on floor to come in sixth at 195.825. Illinois took the fourth-place finish with their score of 196.475 in the afternooon session, while Ohio State came in fifth at 195.950.
Following the meet, seven Huskers pulled down 12 All-Big Ten Championship Team honors. Wong led NU with four selections (UB, BB, FX, AA), while DeZiel earned three (V, FX, AA). Blanske (V), Giblin (V), Skinner (V), Lauer (BB) and Nathe (UB) each captured one honor apiece for the Big Red.
Already ranked ninth nationally heading into this weekend's championship meet, Nebraska has already secured its 30th consecutive NCAA appearance this season. The NCAA will announce postseason seedings and regional placement in a selection show to be held Monday, March 25 at 2 p.m. CT.
NCAA regional competition will be held at six sites: Tuscaloosa, Ala., Gainesville, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, Norman, Okla., Corvallis, Ore., and Morgantown, W.Va. A total of 36 teams will compete at regionals, with the top two teams from each site advancing to the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles, Calif. on April 19-21.
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