Nebraska Aims for Big Ten Title at Minnesota
No. 10 Nebraska, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 24 Arkansas, Centenary
Saturday, March 9 | 6 p.m. CST
Minneapolis, Minn. (Sports Pavilion)
The No. 12 Nebraska women's gymnastics team will head to Minnesota this weekend with a share of the inaugural Big Ten women's gymnastics regular-season crown on the line. The Huskers (7-1, 5-1 Big Ten) will face No. 14 Minnesota (12-3, 4-1 Big Ten), No. 25 Arkansas (4-5-1, 1-5-1 SEC) and Centenary (1-7) in a quad meet beginning at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 9. The meet will be held in the Sports Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus, with live stats and live video available at GopherSports.com. Live updates will also be available via the official Nebraska women's gymnastics account on Twitter (@HuskersWGym).
The Huskers bring a 5-1 record in conference action to this weekend's competition, while Minnesota will enter with a 4-1 record. After No. 3 Michigan clinched at least a share of the conference title last weekend with a final mark of 6-1 in Big Ten action, Nebraska can earn a share of the conference crown with a win over the Golden Gophers. Minnesota must finish above Nebraska at Saturday's quad meet and take a victory over Ohio State the following week to earn a share of the title.
Nebraska enters this weekend on a seven-meet winning streak and holding five wins over top-25 teams. After a win over Iowa last Monday, the Huskers finished their home slate of meets with a perfect 4-0 record. It is the first time since 2010 that NU has gone undefeated at home during the regular season.
Scouting the No. 14 Minnesota Golden Gophers
A Glance at the Golden Gophers
Head Coach: Meg Stephenson (16th year)
2013 Record: 12-3 (4-1 Big Ten)
2013 High Score: 197.175 (at Florida, 3/1/13)
2012 Record: 9-9
2012 NCAA Finish: N/A
The 14th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers enter this weekend's quad meet looking to snap a three-meet losing skid and keep their Big Ten regular-season championship hopes alive. UM holds a 12-3 record overall; the Golden Gophers started a perfect 12-0 this season but has since suffered losses to Iowa, Iowa State and top-ranked Florida.
Minnesota showed their capability in last weekend's loss on the road to Florida, notching a season-high team score of 197.175 against the Gators. The Golden Gophers were led by freshman Lindsay Mable, who posted a 39.525 in the all-around to finish fourth overall. Mable has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors five times this season.
Minnesota is led by Head Coach Meg Stephenson, who is in her 16th year at the helm of the Golden Gopher program. Stephenson is joined in the gym by Assistant Coaches Jenny Hansen and Louie Johnson.
Scouting the No. 24 Arkansas Razorbacks
A Glance at the Razorbacks
Co-Head Coaches: Mark Cook/René Lyst (11th year)
2013 Record: 4-5-1 (1-5-1 SEC)
2013 High Score: 197.100 (vs. Alabama, 2/22/13)
2012 Record: 8-7
2012 NCAA Finish: Sixth (196.300)
The No. 24 Arkansas Razorbacks carry momentum into this weekend's matchup after back-to-back strong performances over the last two weeks. After earning their best effort of the season in a 197.100-197.100 tie with No. 4 Alabama on Feb. 22, the Razorbacks finished first in a quad meet with Missouri, Centenary and Lindenwood on March 1, posting a 196.650.
The Razorbacks have taken on a tough schedule in 2013, with all five of UA's losses coming to teams ranked in the top-15 nationally. Arkansas has counted on strong performances from Katherine Grable throughout the season. The junior is a four-time All-American and all-around standout for the Razorbacks.
Co-Head Coaches Mark Cook and René Lyst are now in their 11th season with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Aiding Cook and Lyst in their efforts is Assistant Coach Samantha Cortez.
Scouting the Centenary Ladies
A Glance at the Ladies
Head Coach: Jackie Fain (Second year)
2013 Record: 1-5
2013 High Score: 191.625 (at Texas Women's, 2/24/13)
2012 Record: 4-17
2012 NCAA Finish: N/A
The Centenary Ladies arrive at this weekend's meet looking for continued improvements in a still-young season. Centenary opened their 2013 slate just two weeks ago, finishing third in a quad meet with Texas Women's, UIC and Air Force on Feb. 24. That effort was also the Ladies' season-high performance, as the squad posted a 191.625.
Centenary is led by junior Robyn Price, a 2012 USAG Collegiate second-team All-American. Price earned Midwestern Independent Conference (MIC) Gymnast of the Week Honors last week after finishing first in the all-around (38.850) and on bars (9.85) in the Ladies' season-opener.
Centenary is coached by former Kentucky gymnast and Texas Women's Assistant Coach Jackie Fain. Fain is in her second season leading the Ladies in the gym.
Nebraska's Rotation Order at Minnesota
Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, Vault
Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise
Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, Vault, Uneven Bars
Floor Exercise, Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam
Nebraska Explodes for 197.675 on Senior Night
Powered by the second-highest bars score in school history and Nebraska's first perfect 10.0 on any event since 2011, the Big Red exploded for a season-high 197.675 to defeat Iowa on March 4. Iowa picked up a 194.950 against the Huskers in front of a crowd of 1,056 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Senior Night. Nebraska's team score is the third-highest in the nation this season.
The Huskers were led by a trio of powerful performances across the board. Janelle Giblin paved the way for the Huskers with a 10.0 on bars, only the second in the nation this season. The senior also tied for the beam title with a career-high 9.875. Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel added identical career-high all-around scores of 39.675. Wong earned or tied for titles on vault (9.95) and floor (9.925), while DeZiel earned or tied on vault (9.95), beam (9.875) and floor (9.925).
The Huskers came out firing on vault in their first rotation, earning a season-high team score of 49.400. NU was led by identical 9.95s from Wong and DeZiel. Wong's score of 9.95 is a new career-high for the junior, while DeZiel's mark tied her career-best. Giblin and Brittany Skinner each tacked on scores of 9.85 to boost the Big Red's efforts on the event.
Nebraska erupted on bars in their second rotation, posting the second-highest score in the nation this season at 49.625. NU's team effort was also the second-highest bars score in program history. The Huskers were led by Giblin, who snagged only the second 10.0 bars routine in school history and the first since 2001. Her perfect score is Nebraska's first in any event since 2011. Wong tied her career-high on the event with a stellar 9.95, and DeZiel earned a career-high 9.925 as well. Kassandra Nathe captured a new career-best with a 9.875, while Skinner tied her career-best with an identical 9.875.
Nebraska carried their momentum onto beam, earning their second-highest score on the event this season at 49.250. Nebraska was led by a career-high 9.875 from Giblin and a season-best 9.875 by DeZiel. Wong and Jennifer Lauer sealed the effort on the event with each earning a solid mark of 9.85.
The Huskers sealed its victory on floor in the final rotation, earning a season-high 49.400 as a team. The Huskers were led again by DeZiel and Wong, who earned season-best-tying scores of 9.925 apiece. Lauer added a career-high 9.90 on floor in the anchoring routine, while Hollie Blanske picked up a 9.85 overall.
NU Picks up No. 12 Spot in Rankings
Nebraska came in at No. 12 nationally in the latest GymInfo national rankings with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.365. NU was off last weekend before facing Iowa on Monday, meaning that Nebraska's latest set of results was not tabulated in this week's rankings. RQS is calculated by taking a team's top six total scores (with at least three meets), dropping the highest score and then averaging the remaining five scores.
Florida regained the top spot in the rankings this week with an RQS of 197.440, with Oklahoma narrowly trailing in the No. 2 spot at 197.410. No. 3 Michigan (197.080), No. 4 LSU (196.965) and No. 5 Alabama (196.910) held steady in their respective positions.
Husker all-arounders Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong are the lone duo of Huskers earning individual rankings this week. Wong maintained her top-10 ranking in the all-around, coming in at eighth nationally (39.430). The junior added top-20 appearances on floor (T-16th, 9.885), beam (T-17th, 9.865) and bars (20th, 9.865). DeZiel also cracked the top-20 in the all-around, earning a ranking of 19th (39.245).
Up Next for Nebraska
Nebraska will close its regular season on Saturday, March 16 in Berkely, Calif., facing the California Golden Bears at Haas Pavillion. The meet is slated for a 9 p.m. CST (7 p.m. PST) start, with live stats available at CalBears.com.
Cal holds a 6-6 record overall in 2013, including a 1-6 mark in Pac-12 action. The Golden Bears boast an RQS of 194.980 and a season-high team mark of 195.925 that came in a Feb. 18 win over Brown and San Jose State. Cal will take part in a quad meet consisting of No. 3 Michigan, No. 6 UCLA and Iowa State on Sunday, March 10 at 4 p.m. CST (2 p.m. PST) before next week's meet.
During Monday's meet against Iowa, Janelle Giblin did what only one other Husker in program history has managed to achieve: the senior hit a perfect 10.0 routine on the uneven bars. The routine's score ties the Nebraska program record and Devaney Center record on the event.
Giblin's 10.0 was the second in program history, joining Bree Dority O'Callaghan's 10.0 performance at the 2001 Big Ten Championships. It was also only the second 10.0 on bars in the nation this season, following Florida junior Mackenzie Caquatto's effort against Missouri in January. The 10.0 routine was the first on any event for Nebraska since Erin Davis on vault in 2011.
Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel went head-to-head in all-around competition against Iowa and came out on equal footing, with the duo earning identical scores of 39.675. The pair started out tied with meet-best 9.95s on vault and traded event titles for the rest of the day: Wong earned top honors on vault and floor (9.925), while DeZiel took first on vault, beam (9.875) and floor (9.925).
The pair of 39.675s were career-bests for both athletes. The score also ties for the second-highest all-around mark in the nation this season, coming in equal to a mark set by UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa and just behind Oklahoma's Brie Olson (39.700). Only seven athletes in the nation this season have exceeded the 39.600 mark in the all-around; Wong and DeZiel have done so a combined four times.
One of the Best, Bar None
Though Janelle Giblin's 10.0 routine was a major factor, Nebraska used outstanding performances from all six competitors on uneven bars to seal a team score of 49.625. Of Nebraska's six gymnasts on the even, five posted or tied career-bests on bars to aid the Big Red.
Although Janelle Giblin's perfect 10.0 routine on uneven bars was a major factor, the Huskers required stellar performances from all six competitors to seal the deal on the outstanding team showing. Of Nebraska's six gymnasts on the event, five posted or tied career-bests on bars to aid the Big Red.
Leading the way was Giblin's 10.0; the senior was narrowly trailed by Emily Wong's 9.95 outing on the event.The performance marked the second time this season Wong has picked up a 9.95 on bars.
Jessie DeZiel added a new career-best on the evening, posting a 9.925. DeZiel had posted her previous best of 9.90 four times before shattering that mark against the Hawkeyes.
Kassandra Nathe and Brittany Skinner earned identical scores of 9.875 on the evening. Nathe anchored Nebraska's efforts on bar with her performance, topping her previous career-high of 9.85 that she had most recently posted at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Skinner's effort tied her career-best, marking the second time this season she has done so.
Nebraska's efforts added up to a team mark of 49.625, the second-highest bars score posted in the nation this season. The score is also the second-highest in school history, trailing only Nebraska's effort of 49.725 posted at the 2001 Big 12 Championships.
Big Ten Championships to Air Live on BTN
The Big Ten Network (BTN) has announced that it will televise both session of the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships live on March 23. The first session of the event will air at 12 noon CST, while the second session is set for a 5 p.m. CST start. Michigan State will host the event in East Lansing, Mich., at the Breslin Center.
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 447-171-4 record overall and a 298-69-2 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 are second-year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller. Brink continues her role in the gym as the team's beam coach while assisting with floor choreography. Brink has boosted Nebraska's scores on beam this season while guiding Jennifer Lauer and Emily Wong to a combined six titles on the event. 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 continues to lead NU's efforts on vault and floor in 2013. Miller's gymnasts have snagged 10 titles on vault and eight on floor this season. 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, aids NU's full-time staff in 2013. Field will assist head coach Dan Kendig on the uneven bars while also working with the Huskers' strength and conditioning program.
Huskers Sign Two for 2014
The Huskers announced the addition of a pair of multi-talented recruits for 2014 in November. Dan Kendig and the Big Red will welcome Ashley Lambert and Jennie Laeng next year, rounding out the Husker roster and giving the Huskers increased depth and new skills in their lineup.
"We are very excited about the signing of both Ashley and Jennie," Kendig said. "They will both bring a vast amount of experience and skill to our team next year. They complement each other extremely well: Ashley is powerful and her best events are floor and vault, while Jennie will be a force on bars and beam."
A native of Virginia, Lambert is a level ten gymnast that has trained at World Class Gymnastics under coaches Tami Harrison and Troy Miller. Lambert is a four-time Junior Olympic National Qualifier. In 2012, she notched a fifth-place finish in all-around competition and a second-place finish on floor at Regionals. Lambert also picked up a third-place finish in all-around at the Regional level in 2011 that included first-place finishes on vault and floor.
A level ten gymnast from Ohio, Laeng trains at Olympic Dreams Gymnastics and has qualified for both Junior Olympic Nationals and the Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament. In 2011, Laeng finished first in all-around and beam competition at the Junior Olympic National Invitational. She added a fifth-place finish on bars and seventh on beam at the 2012 Junior Olympic National Championship.