No. 6 Nebraska at No. 19 Ohio State
Friday, Jan. 25 | 6 p.m. CST
Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
Fresh off their first victory of the 2013 season, the No. 6 Nebraska women's gymnastics team will travel to Columbus, Ohio this weekend for their second road event in three meets. The Huskers (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten) are set to face No. 19 Ohio State (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten) on Friday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. CST in St. John Arena. Ohio State will run free live stats and pay-to-view live video from the competition, with both available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Fans can also receive updates via Twitter by following @HuskersWGym.
This weekend's meet will be a rematch between the top two finishers in the 2012 Big Ten Championships, as NU finished ahead of Ohio State to claim the conference title last season. OSU holds an 11-8 all-time advantage over Nebraska, with the last regular-season meeting between the two teams coming in 2004. Nebraska came away victorious at that meet, posting a 197.10-193.825 victory over the Buckeyes.
Scouting No. 19 Ohio State
A Glance at the Buckeyes
Head Coach: Carey Fagan (Ninth Year)
2013 Record: 2-1 (1-0 Big Ten)
2013 High Score: 195.000 (at Oregon State, 1/11/13)
2012 Record: 11-3
2012 NCAA Finish: 10th (196.525)
The 19th-ranked Buckeyes are 2-1 in 2013, holding wins over Iowa and Bowling Green alongside a loss to then-No. 9Oregon State. OSU is fresh off their second win of the season last weekend, where the squad notched a 194.925-194.200 win over Iowa in Columbus.
Ohio State returns eight gymnasts this season from a team that finished in the top 10 nationally in 2012. The Buckeyes are led by junior and returning second-team All-American (FX, BB) Sarah Miller, who has already earned two Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week honors this season. Miller is ranked 21st nationally on floor and owns a high score of 9.925 on the event. She is also tied for 18th nationally on vault (9.875) and 24th on beam (9.842).
The Buckeyes earned a preseason conference ranking of third after ending last season at 11-3. Ohio State finished as the runner-up in the Big Ten Championships in 2012 and completed the season with a 10th-place award at the NCAA Championships in Duluth, Ga. OSU is led by Head Coach Carey Fagan, who is in his ninth season at the helm of the Buckeye program.
Nebraska's Rotation Order vs. Ohio State
Uneven Bars, Vault, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise
Vault, Uneven Bars, Floor Exercise, Balance Beam
Nebraska Sweeps Event Titles, Tops Michigan State
The Huskers swept all four events and the all-around competition en route to a 196.700-192.100 win over conference foe Michigan State on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Huskers were powered by excellent performances on bars and beam in front of 2,165 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Junior Emily Wong was tops for the Huskers on Saturday, posting stellar performances on all four events to earn three individual event titles and the all-around title. Wong captured awards on vault (9.90), uneven bars (9.95) and beam (9.925) en route to a 39.650 in all-around competition. Freshman Hollie Blanske also had a breakout performance on floor, posting a 9.90 to earn the floor title for the Big Red.
Nebraska started the night on vault, hitting a solid score of 49.050 on the evening. The Huskers were paced by Wong, who hit a season-high 9.90 for the event title. Adding to the Huskers' efforts were senior Janelle Giblin and sophomore Jessie DeZiel, who picked up identical marks of 9.85.
NU moved to bars on the second rotation, where the Huskers exploded for a 49.450, the 10th-highest mark in school history. The team was led by a trio of Huskers that scored 9.90s or higher to finish 1-2-3. Wong led the Big Red and the meet for the second consecutive rotation, nailing a career-best 9.95. Jennifer Lauer and DeZiel each added a 9.90 on the evening, while Hollie Blanske and Janelle Giblin each picked up scores of 9.85.
In the third rotation, the Huskers took to the balance beam to try and match their strong performance last week against Michigan. The team posted another excellent showing, finishing with a 49.150. Wong continued her stellar performance, earning a 9.925 on beam to lead the meet and match her career-high. Jennifer Lauer showed her strength on beam as well, earning a 9.875, while Nathe added a 9.80.
Nebraska completed their evening on floor exercise, posting a team score of 49.050, paced by Blanske's meet-winning mark of 9.90. The floor performance and Blanske's win were her first as a Husker. Wong added a 9.875 for the Big Red, while DeZiel chipped in a 9.80 to seal the victory for the Huskers.
Wong's 39.650 was tops in all-around competition, with DeZiel in second at 39.325. Lauer added a 39.200, and Giblin finished at 38.975. Michigan State's all-around efforts were led by Lisa Burt, who earned a 39.125.
Huskers Up One Spot to No. 6 in Latest Rankings
NU moved up one spot to No. 6 nationally in the lastest GymInfo rankings, released Monday. After holding steady at No. 7 for two weeks, NU was bumped up to sixth following a 196.700 team score against Michigan State last weekend. The Huskers are second among Big Ten teams, with conference foe Michigan taking the No. 1 overall spot (196.942). The Huskers come in just outside the top five nationally this week, with Oklahoma (196.825), Florida (196.817), UCLA (196.788) and Alabama (196.513) rounding out the top of the rankings.
Nebraska also has four Huskers with a total of six routines inside the top 10 nationally. Wong paces the Huskers, apearing three times in top 10 and twice in the top five. The junior is tied for second on beam (9.913) and also appears at No.3 in the all-around (39.513) and tied for eighth on floor (9.90).
Jennifer Lauer remains near the top of the beam rankings this week, tying for second with Wong in the beam rankings (9.913). DeZiel is tied for fifth on bars (9.888), while freshman Blanske makes her first appearance in the rankings at a tie for eighth on floor (9.90).
Up Next for Nebraska
The Big Red will return home next weekend to kick off a two-meet home stand that will span the first two weeks of February. Nebraska welcomes Big Ten opponent Illinois to the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday, Feb. 1 for a 6 p.m. CST duel. The Fighting Illini are 1-3 this season and will face Michigan State this weekend at home in Huff Hall.
Lauer, Wong Anchor NU's Steady Beam Efforts
Assistant Coach Heather Brink's beam squad is looking solid this season, earning a ranking of No. 2 nationally this week after another strong showing last weekend. The Huskers posted a 49.150 last weekend to bring their season average to 49.238, which narrowly trails only Oklahoma (49.275) for the top beam average in the nation.
Wong and Jennifer Lauer continue to anchor Nebraska's efforts on beam this season. The duo is tied for No. 2 nationaly this week, with both averaging scores of 9.913 on the apparatus. Lauer earned a spectacular 9.95 last weekend against Michigan, while Wong has scored no lower than a 9.90 on beam this year. Assisting NU's work are DeZiel and Nathe, who have each scored 9.80 or higher in both of their beam performances this season.
Nebraska posted one of the nation's best team scores on bars last weekend, coming in at 49.450 against Michigan State. That score also tied for the 10th-highest team bars score in school history.
Wong paced the Huskers, nailing an oustanding routine that earned her a 9.95 on the day. The score is a new career best for the junior and ties for the highest bars score by a junior in program history. It is also tied for the No. 4 spot on Nebraska's list of the top 10 individual bars scores.
Adding to Nebraska'sefforts again were DeZiel and Lauer, who chipped in identical scores of 9.90 to give Nebraska a solid core of bars performances on the evening.
Defending Conference Champions Look for Continued Success
After winning its second consecutive conference title and its first in the Big Ten, Nebraska returns to the gym with even higher expectations for 2013. NU will welcome back seven total letterwinners from last season, including six All-Americans, while adding four newcomers to the roster. With a solid core of veterans and a stockpile of talent and depth, Head Coach Dan Kendig believes his 20th season with the Huskers has the makings of a top team on the national scene.
"We've come a long way since the beginning of the year and put in a lot of work in the gym, the community and the classroom," Kendig said. "Top to bottom, this season can be better than last season. If we keep working hard each day and getting better, I see good things on the horizon for this year."
Six All-Americans Poised to Lead Huskers in 2013
NU's efforts this season will be anchored by its six returning All-Americans, including three honorees that captured eight awards last season. Jessie DeZiel, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong headline a group that has won 16 awards since 2010 and also includes seniors Kassandra Nathe and Brittany Skinner and junior Jamie Schleppenbach.
Nebraska will look for sustained success from its vaulting corps as it fields four previous All-Americans. The group is led by 2012 first-team All-American Giblin and second-team honoree DeZiel alongside previous first-teamers Schleppenbach and Skinner.
The Huskers will also welcome back three previous All-Americans in both all-around competition and on uneven bars. Notably returning to the competition floor on bars this season is 2010 second-team All-American Nathe, who has missed the past two seasons due to injury. Nathe is expected to provide a spark as well as depth to NU's bar lineup in 2013. Nebraska returns two All-Americans on floor and beam as well.
Kendig Builds One of Nation's Top Programs
Now in his 20th year at the helm of the Nebraska gymnastics program, Head Coach Dan Kendig is the all-time winningest coach in Nebraska history. Kendig holds a 440-170-4 record overall and a 291-68-2 regular-season mark. An eight-time conference coach of the year selection, Kendig most recently earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors last season after guiding the 2012 Huskers to the program's 22nd conference title.
Kendig has also led the Huskers to 15 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 18 season, including NCAA Super Six Finals appearances in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011. Kendig was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2003, a year in which the Huskers finished fourth nationally. He guided the 2012 Huskers to a 24-7 record overall, including an eighth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships in Duluth, Ga. The performance marked Nebraska's 28th consecutive NCAA post season appearance, while three of Kendig's gymnasts--Jessie DeZiel (FX, AA, V), Janelle Giblin (V, UB) and Emily Wong (BB, FX, AA)--earned All-America honors.
NU Assistants Set to Lead Huskers in 2013
Joining Kendig in his leadership of the Huskers this season will be second-year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller. Brink will continue her role in the gym as the team's beam coach while assisting with floor choreography. In her first season as an assistant with the Huskers, Brink helped coach Emily Wong to first-team All-America honors on beam. Brink's assistance with NU's floor routines also guided Jessie DeZiel to first-team All-America honors and Wong to second-team honors on the event.
Miller will continue to lead NU's efforts on vault and floor in 2013. During his first season at Nebraska in 2012, Miller guided DeZiel to first-team All-America honors on floor and second-team honors on vault. He also assisted in the development of Janelle Giblin, who earned first-team honors on vault, and Wong, who picked up second-team honors on floor. The gymnasts under Miller's tutelage in 2012 garnered a total of 15 floor titles and 14 vault titles throughout the season.
Volunteer assistanch coach Owen Field, now in his third season in that position, will aid NU's full-time staff in 2013. Field will assist head coach Dan Kendig on the uneven bars while also assisting with the Huskers' strength and conditioning program.