The Huskers are set to travel to Seattle, Wash. for NCAA Regional competition on Saturday, April 5
Photo by Nate Olsen/Nebraska Communications

NU Gymnastics Set for NCAA Seattle Regional

By NU Athletic Communications

Saturday, April 5 | Seattle, Wash. (Alaska Airlines Arena)
6 p.m. CT (4 p.m. PT)
No. 4 Alabama, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 16 Boise State, No. 20 Denver, No. 25 BYU, Washington. 

The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will open its 30th consecutive year of postseason competition this weekend, traveling to Seattle, Wash., for NCAA Regional competition on Saturday, April 5. As the No. 2 seed, NU will be joined in competition by fourth-ranked and top-seed Alabama, as well as Boise State, Denver, BYU and Washington.

The Seattle Regional will take place at the Alaska Airlines Arena on the campus of the University of Washington and is set for a 6 p.m. CT start. Fans unable to attend the meet can watch a free live stream of the competition at or follow live scoring online. Live updates will also be provided on the official Twitter account of the Husker women’s gymnastics team (@HuskersWGym).

The regional will feature an additional five at-large all-around competitors and one individual event specialist per event. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors not on advancing teams will automatically move onto the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala., on April 18-20. If an individual event winner is not part of a qualifying team or a qualifying all-arounder, they will also receive a berth in the National Championship meet.

The Huskers (20-3, 12-2 Big Ten) will enter this weekend’s competition on the hunt for the program’s 22nd NCAA Championship appearance. Last season the Huskers dropped a heartbreaker at the NCAA Morgantown Regional, finishing third overall with a team score of 195.875. The Big Red missed a berth in the 2013 NCAA Championships by only .150, coming in behind Michigan (196.725) and Illinois (196.025).

Gymnast to Watch: Emily Wong
• Eight-time All-American
• Fourth ranked all-around gymnast in the country
• Finalist for the 2014 AAI Award
• 2014 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year
• Scored a perfect 10.00 on floor at the Big Ten Championships
• Earned two All-Big Ten Championship team honors (BB, FX)

Last Time Out: Huskers Place Second at Big Ten Championships
The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team took home second-place at the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, March 22 evening in University Park, Pa. The Huskers posted a team score of 196.950 in the evening session but could not overcome Michigan’s 197.550 mark from the first session earlier in the day.

The Huskers finished second ahead of third-place Minnesota (196.675), Illinois (196.625) and Penn State (196.475) rounded out the top five. Nebraska improves to 20-3 overall and 12-2 in the conference.

Three Huskers were named to the Big Ten All-Championship team for finishing in the top three of an individual event or in the all-around. Jessie DeZiel (V, UB), Hollie Blanske (AA, BB, FX) and Emily Wong (BB, FX) were all recognized on the team. Also after the meet, Wong was recognized as the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for her success this season.

Wong also took home two Big Ten event titles on floor and beam. On floor, she tied with Michigan’s Joanna Sampson for top honors as both posted a perfect 10.00 on the event. Wong now ties for the top floor score in school history with Richelle Simpson who earned a perfect 10.00 in 2003. On beam, Wong recorded her new career-high score of 9.95 to claim top honors on the event.

Sophomore Hollie Blanske stepped-up for the Huskers, as she delivered her best all-around performance, soaring to a 39.600. Blanske took second-place in the all-around behind Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable (39.650). Blanske’s performance included two career-high scores on floor (9.95) and beam (9.90).

The Huskers started the evening on bars, posting a 49.200 led by DeZiel. The junior produced a 9.90 with her strong routine, while Blanske and A. Lauer tabbed identical marks of 9.85. Lauer’s score of 9.85 marked her new career-high on the event. Laeng and Stephens both rounded out the bar lineup, claiming identical 9.80 scores.

After the first rotation Penn State took an early lead notching a 49.325 on floor. Illinois earned a 49.100 on vault and Minnesota a 48.975 on beam.

Nebraska took to beam for the second rotation experiencing some uncharacteristic struggles managing to tally a 48.925. Wong, anchored the Big Red sticking a new career-high 9.95 score to take top honors, while Blanske added on a 9.90. A. Lauer picked up her second career-high of the meet on beam notching a 9.80 score.

Penn State held onto their lead after the second rotation posting a 49.250 on vault to improve its team score to 98.675. Minnesota and Illinois both recorded a 98.325 score, while Nebraska nearly trailed at 98.125.

The Big Red catapulted to an incredible 49.500 on floor led by Wong’s perfect 10.00. Blanske produced a powerful performance of 9.95 to earn a new career-high on the event, while DeZiel tabbed a 9.925 to match her best score. Stephens (9.825), Laeng (9.80), and Schleppenbach (9.80) all rounded out the floor lineup.

Heading into the final event Penn State continued their lead with a score of 147.975. Minnesota narrowly led the Huskers 147.700-147.625, while Illinois comes in fourth at 147.300.

The Huskers finished their evening on vault where the team posted 49.325. All-American DeZiel paced NU with a strong 9.925, while Blanske tacked on a 9.90 score. The duo of Laeng and Martin both produced 9.85 marks, while Wong (9.80) and Stephens (9.80) rounded out the lineup.

After the final rotation NU’s vault score boosted its efforts to a final score of 196.950 to topple Minnesota (196.675), Illinois (196.625) and Penn State (196.475).

Breaking Down the NCAA Seattle Regional Field
Nebraska will head west for postseason competition this weekend in Seattle, Wash. The Seattle Regional field consists of six of the nation’s top 35 teams, led by top 10 squads in No. 4 Alabama and the No. 9 Huskers. The Crimson Tide and NU will be joined by a pair of top-20 teams in No. 16 Boise State and No. 20 Denver, alongside BYU and Washington.

Alabama enters the Seattle Regional as the No. 1 overall seed and the fourth ranked team in the nation. The Crimson Tide won the 2014 SEC Championship meet with a score of 197.875 over Florida (197.700) and LSU (197.325). Diandra Milliner took home her second-consecutive floor crown recording a 9.95 while also claiming the vault title (9.975). Kim Jacob is ranked 14th nationally in the all-around pulling down an RQS of 39.415.

Three-seed and 16th ranked Boise State holds an 18-5 record and are 3-4 against top-25 opponents this season. The Broncos have earned a season-best of 196.975 and a program-best RQS of 196.395. Boise State took second place at the inaugural Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships with a score of 196.90 falling by only .025 to the University of Denver (196.925). The Broncos’ Ciera Perkins was the Mountain Rim Gymnast of the year while Diana Meja was Co-Freshman of the year.

Seeded fourth overall with a No. 20 national ranking, the Denver Pioneers took first at the inaugural Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships earning a team score of 196.925. This is Denver’s 16th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. The Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships are the only conference in the country to have all member institutions qualify for regionals.

The BYU Cougars enter Regional competition as the No. 5 seed and the No. 25th overall team in the country with an RQS of 195.820. The Cougars finished behind Denver and Boise State at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships posting a score of 196.100. Head coach Brad Cattermole was named the 2014 MRGC Coach of the year.

Host team and No. 6 seed Washington will round out the team competition field at the Seattle Regional. The Huskies earned a 195.125 at the Pac-12 Championships to place eighth. Senior Aliza Vaccher scored a 9.95 on vault to take home top honors on the event. Washington picked up their season high score against Stanford claiming a 196.200.

Joining competitors from the six qualifying teams will be eight individual gymnasts from three schools. Sacramento State sends Jessie Williams, Kalliah McCartney, Kailey Hansen, Julia Konner, Kalia Kilwien and Dallas Smith. Alaska Anchorage gymnast Stefany Bryan will join the competition along with Seattle Pacific’s Maria Hundley and Kailee Tindall.

Due to an insufficient number of all-around competitors qualifying for regional competition, the allocated slots were filled with individual event specialists with the next highest score and who have achieved the minimum
RQS of 9.4. Those athletes consist of Kailey Hansen, Kalia Kilwien and Dallas Smith.

Up Next for Nebraska
This weekend’s performance will dictate whether the Huskers qualify for its 22nd NCAA Championship appearance in program history. The top two finishers from each of the six regional sites around the country will advance to the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

Hosted by the University of Alabama at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, the national championships will feature competition between the 12 best gymnastics teams in the nation on April 18-20. The event will kick off on Friday, April 18 with the team preliminaries. Preliminary competition will be split between two sessions, with the first beginning at 2 p.m. CT and the second taking place at 8 p.m. CT. The top three finishers in each session will advance to the Super Six team finals on Saturday, April 19th at 6 p.m. to vie for the 2014 national title. Individual NCAA event champions will be crowned in the event finals on Sunday, April 20 beginning at 3 p.m. CT.

Looking Back: 2013 NCAA Morgantown Regional
Morgantown, W.Va. - The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team finished third in a heartbreaker at the NCAA Morgantown Regional, earning a team score of 195.875. The Huskers missed a berth in the NCAA Championships by only .150 points, coming in behind Michigan (196.725) and Illinois (196.025). NU’s performance marks the first time the squad has missed NCAA qualification since 2009. The Huskers will close their 2013 team campaign with a 16-3 (12-2) mark in regular season action and a 3-2 record in postseason competition.

Despite a difficult team finish, three Huskers earned individual berths at the NCAA Championships. Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel led the way, earning appearances as the top two all-around competitors not on qualifying teams. Wong finished second overall in the all-around with a 39.225, while DeZiel won a tiebreaker to advance with a 39.200. Brittany Skinner finished as the regional champion on vault (9.95) to qualify as well.

After beginning the evening on a bye, Nebraska opened competition on uneven bars. NU battled several uncharacteristic mistakes on the event, but rallied to earn a 48.875 team score. After the Huskers began with a fall on the event, Skinner displayed great focus to earn a team-best 9.85. Giblin snagged a team-leading 9.85 as well. DeZiel and Kassandra Nathe both had solid performances, earning identical marks of 9.80.

The Huskers moved to beam for the third rotation of the evening, earning a mark of 48.525. Wong led the way, bouncing back from a tough bar routine to earn an NU-best 9.825. Giblin and Jennifer Lauer each tacked on 9.725 routines for Nebraska, while DeZiel posted a 9.675.

By the third rotation, all six teams had competed on two events at the meet. Michigan led all squads with a 98.575 between two events. Illinois followed in second at 97.925, while Kentucky took the third-place slot at 97.800. Nebraska came in at third with a 97.400, and North Carolina and West Virginia rounded out the six team squads with respective scores of 97.075 and 96.925.

NU moved to a bye following beam, looking to regroup before the squad’s final two events of the meet. The Big Red returned in the fourth rotation for floor exercise, tallying a team score of 48.800. Wong led NU for the second consecutive rotation, capturing a 9.875. Hollie Blanske also had a solid outing on the event with a 9.80, while DeZiel earned a 9.775.

Sitting in fifth overall heading into their final rotation, NU needed a stellar outing on vault to have a shot at advancing to nationals. The squad put on a show, earning the best NCAA postseason score in program history at 49.650. DeZiel, Wong and Skinner tied for top honors on the event with identical scores of 9.95. Blanske took fourth overall following her teammates with a 9.925 performance, while Giblin added a 9.875.

Despite the Huskers best efforts, Illinois hit a 49.175 on beam to edge the Huskers for the second qualifying spot. The Illini’s effort gave them the third NCAA qualification in program history. Michigan took the top spot, finishing at 196.725. Kentucky captured fourth at 195.575, and West Virginia came in fifth with a score of 194.475. North Carolina rounded out the competition at fifth, taking a 194.350.

Husker NCAA Regional History
This weekends regional competition marks Nebraska’s 30th consecutive postseason appearance, dating back to 1985. The Huskers own five total regional championships, with the last coming in 2003. In addition, Nebraska has finished inside the top two at regional competition in 12 of the past 15 seasons.

Nine Huskers Earn Academic All-Big Ten Honors
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team placed nine student-athletes on the Academic All-Big Ten list, the conference office announced Wednesday. The Huskers’ nine honorees led all conference gymnastics squads and gave the women’s gymnastics program 159 total academic all-conference selections. The Big Ten conference recognized a total of 676 winter sport student-athletes with 81 coming from Nebraska.

Jordyn Beck, Hollie Blanske, Jessie DeZiel, Amanda Lauer, Jennifer Lauer, Madison McConkey, Jamie Schleppenbach, Desire’ Stephens and Emily Wong were all named to the academic all-conference listing. In order to earn Academic All-Big Ten accolades, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner in at least their second year of competition and carry a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA.

Schleppenbach and Wong led the way for NU with their third career academic all-conference honor. The seniors have previously earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2012 and 2013. Wong is also an Academic All-American, three-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-American and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

DeZiel, Stephens and both Lauer sisters all took home their second academic all-conference award of their careers. Amanda and Jennifer Lauer also earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors last season and are two-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-Americans. DeZiel and Stephens each picked up All-Big Ten accolades for the second consecutive season.

Sophomores Beck, Blanske and McConkey were all awarded academic all-conference honors in their first season of eligibility for the award. Blanske is also a previous NACGC/W Scholastic All-American award winner.

Emily Wong: All-Around Outstanding
Emily Wong has set herself apart as one of the finest all-around competitors in the nation throughout 2014. Heading into NCAA Regional competition, Wong is ranked No. 4 nationally in the all-around with an RQS of 39.585. She has captured 31 event titles this season, including nine in the all-around competition remaining undefeated during the regular season.
Wong’s excellence was shown at the 2014 Big Ten Championship meet. Although the senior suffered a fall on bars she came back to claim both the beam and floor titles while posting two career high marks on the events. On beam Wong took top honors with a 9.95, while recording a perfect 10.00 on floor to become only the second Husker gymnast to post a 10.00 mark on the event.


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