Huskers Hope to Make History at NCAA Championships
Duluth, Ga. I Gwinnett Center I April 20-22, 2012
Friday, April 20: Semifinals, 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 21: Super Six Finals, 3 p.m. (ESPN3.com/ESPNU-tape delay, Wednesday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.)
Sunday, April 22: Individual Event Finals, Noon (ESPN3.com)
*All times central
The No. 6 Nebraska women's gymnastics team will make its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships this weekend, when they travel to Duluth, Ga., to compete in the 2012 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships on April 20-22.
The Huskers were one of 12 teams to advance to the championships after a second-place finish at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional on April 7. NU will compete in the afternoon semifinal session at 11 a.m. (CST) on Friday, April 20, against No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 7 Utah, No. 10 Stanford and No. 11 LSU. The top three finishers will advance to the Super Six finals on Saturday, April 21, against the top three teams from the other semifinal session which includes No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 12 Ohio State.
Saturday's Super Six finals can be seen live at ESPN3.com and will also be shown on tape delay on ESPNU on Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. Individual event finals, which start at Noon on Sunday, April 22, will be shown live on ESPN3.com. Fans can also get live score updates by following the Huskers' twitter account at www.twitter.com/HuskersWGYM.
The Huskers own a 23-3 record on the season and have only dropped one contest away from the Devaney Center, falling to Utah at the Salt Lake City regional. Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jessie DeZiel leads the Husker squad. The Rogers., Min., native finished the regular season as the No. 3 ranked all-arounder in the country with an RQS of 39.52. Sophomore Emily Wong, who was the Big Ten all-around champion, also ranked inside the top 10 in the all-around standings at No. 6, with a 39.465 RQS.
Nebraska has seen two of the five other teams competing in its session. Nebraska upset No. 5 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., on Feb. 3, posting a 196.750. The Huskers have faced off against Utah twice this year, going 1-1 in those meets. In their first meeting, NU defeated the Utes, 197.600-197.450, on March 9, before falling to them at the regional. Both meets were in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Husker History at the NCAA Championships
After securing their 28th consecutive post-season appearance with their placement in the Salt Lake City Regional, the Huskers have now advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 21st time in school history. Nebraska has advanced to the Super Six finals 10 times in program history and tied for its highest finish in school history in 2011, when they took home fourth place in Cleveland, Ohio.
Individually, Nebraska has crowned five champions, including two from current assistant coach Heather Brink, who won the all-around and vault national titles in 2000. Brink was the first Nebraska gymnast to ever win multiple national titles. Richelle Simpson followed in Brink's steps by winning the all-around and floor titles in 2003. Michele Bryant was the first NU gymnast to win an individual national title, winning the vault championship in 1990.
Looking Back: 2011 NCAA Championships
The Nebraska women's gymnastics team posted a score of 196.725 Saturday, April 16, 2011 to finish fourth at the Super Six Finals of the 2011 NCAA Championships at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
With their fourth-place finish, the Huskers matched their best finish at the NCAA Championships in school history. The last time Nebraska came in fourth at the NCAA Championships was in 2003, when Nebraska posted a score of 197.125.
Alabama took the 2011 team title with a score of 197.65. UCLA came in second, posting a total of 197.375. Oklahoma was third (197.25), while Utah finished fifth (196.50) and Michigan ended in sixth (196.425).
Last Time Out: DeZiel Leads Huskers at NCAA Salt Lake City Regional
The Nebraska women's gymnastics team advanced to its third straight NCAA Championships on Saturday, April 7, finishing in second place at the 2012 NCAA Salt Lake City Regional, posting a 196.525 team score. No. 8 Utah, the host of the regional, took the top spot by scoring a 196.825.
NU was led by true freshman Jessie DeZiel, who took home the all-around crown and a pair of event titles on vault (9.95) and floor (9.90). The Rogers, Minn., native scored a 39.40 in the all-around, and was trailed by junior Janelle Giblin, who finished in second with a 39.375. DeZiel was the first Husker to win a regional all-around title since Emily Parsons in 2006. Sophomore Emily Wong also took home some hardware on the night, winning the beam title with her 9.875.
The Huskers started on bars, where they were led by a pair of strong performances from Giblin and Lora Evenstad in the fourth and fifth spots respectively. The duo each scored a 9.875 to help NU scored a 49.125 on the event. Wong led the event off with a 9.825 and was followed by DeZiel, who scored a 9.80. Brittany Skinner tallied a 9.75 to round out the action for NU.
On beam, NU tallied a 48.975 in their second rotation to take a total of 98.10 into their bye rotation. Wong led all NU gymnasts with her meet-high 9.875, while Giblin and Lauer each scored a 9.80. DeZiel scored a 9.75 in the fourth spot, while Busacker matched DeZiel's score in the final spot. Busacker, who was filling in for an injured Jamie Schleppenbach, was competing in only her third meet on the beam.
After each team had completed two events, the Huskers sat in second place behind Utah, 98.55-98.10, heading into their third event on the floor. Just like much of the season, DeZiel and Evenstad anchored the event with two strong performances. DeZiel posted a meet-high 9.90, while Evenstad closed with a 9.85 to give NU their 49.15. Skinner posted a 9.85 and Giblin tallied a 9.825, while Lauer kicked the event off with a 9.725.
The Huskers clinched their second-place finish by posting a 49.275 on vault. Lauer continued her impressive night by tying her career-high 9.85 in the Huskers' first routine. Both Skinner and Giblin matched Lauer's score of 9.85, while Evenstad posted a 9.80. DeZiel stole the show in NU's final spot, posting 9.95, which was tied for her career high.
Five Huskers Earn All-Big Ten Honors
The Huskers placed a league-high five gymnasts on the 2012 All-Big Ten first and second teams, which were announced by the conference on Monday, March 19.
Four Huskers were placed on the first team after finishing in the top three in the conference at a single event or finishing in the top six in the all-around. Jessie DeZiel, Lora Evenstad, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong were all placed on the first team, while Jamie Schleppenbach was a second-team honoree after finishing in the top six on vault. DeZiel and Wong both rank inside the top five nationally in the all-around and check in as the No. 2 and 3 all-around competitors in the Big Ten, respectively. Both DeZiel and Wong were named to their first all-conference team. Evenstad ranks inside the top three in the conference on bars (9.90) and floor (9.90) to secure her spot on the first-team. The senior is a three-time all-conference pick after being named to the All-Big 12 team the previous two seasons. Giblin was a first-team member ranking first in the vault (9.93) and bars (9.91). The San Ramon, Calif., native has won the bars title in nine out of the Huskers' 10 meets and has five vault titles.
Schleppenbach earned second-team honors after finishing the regular season ranked at No. 5 on vault with an RQS of 9.90. The Lincoln native has won three vault titles and posted a career-high 9.95 twice this season, including in the Huskers' road victory over No. 7 Utah.
Huskers Snag First Big Ten Championship
The No. 6 Nebraska women's gymnastics team captured the 2012 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, March 24, in Iowa City, Iowa. The Huskers posted a 197.100 and were led by sophomore Emily Wong, who won the all-around Big Ten crown by posting a career-high 39.60, which is the third-highest all-around score in Nebraska history at a conference championship meet.
The Huskers finished ahead of second-place Ohio State (196.225) and third-place Minnesota (195.95). Michigan (195.875) and Illinois (195.85) rounded out the top five. The Huskers' score of 197.100 is tied for the sixth-highest away meet score in school history.
Nebraska, who won back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 2002 and 2003, posted the third-highest team score in conference championship history at Nebraska. Wong played a huge part in the Huskers' success, capturing Big Ten event titles on beam (9.90) and floor (9.90) to go along with her all-around crown. Lora Evenstad won the Big Ten bars (9.925) title and tied for the title on floor with Jessie DeZiel and Wong, who all posted a 9.90 on the event. DeZiel finished second in the all-around with a 39.525.
DeZiel, Kendig Earn Conference Honors
After taking the Big Ten women's gymnastics landscape by storm, Nebraska freshman Jessie DeZiel was awarded for her efforts with the 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year award, while Head Coach Dan Kendig was given the Big Ten Coach of the Year after the conference championships on Saturday, March 24. DeZiel became the first Husker gymnast to win a conference newcomer of the year award since Lora Evenstad captured the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2009.
A winner of 14 individual titles on the year, DeZiel was a standout performer in the all-around, taking home first place a team-high six times. DeZiel made a splash in NU's opening meet posting a 39.575, which was the school record for score in a season debut and scored a career-high 39.60 in Huskers' meet at Minnesota. The talented freshman has won four vault, three beam and six floor titles this season. At the 2012 Big Ten Championships, DeZiel won the floor title and finished second in the all-around with a 39.525.
All-Around Proves Pivotal for NU
One of the most remarkable stats for the Huskers this season has been the amount of all-around competitors they have sent into competition. Entering the NCAA Championships, the Huskers have had 55 gymnasts compete in the all-around throughout the season, which averages out to over four all-arounders per meet. In contrast, Nebraska had 10 gymnasts compete in an all-around competition in 2011 and had 17 in 2010.
Husker Assistants Earn Regional Awards
First year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller were both awarded Co-South Central Assistant Coaches of the Year after the Huskers regional meet on April 7. Both Brink and Miller were brought onto staff before the 2012 season and have played key roles in the development on several events.
Brink, who is the primary coach on beam, helped NU rank No. 9 in the final regular-season RQS national rankings with a 49.13. In total, NU has won nine individual beam titles on the year and posted a season-high 49.35 in the opening meet against Denver.
Miller made an immediate impact on the Huskers vault and floor routines, which were the two strongest events for NU for much of the season. Nebraska finished the year with a 49.43 vault RQS, which was the third-highest in the country, and a 49.315 RQS on floor, which placed them at No. 5 in the country. Miller's events accounted for 30 individual titles throughout the year.
Huskers Dominate Big Ten Weekly Awards
The Huskers finished the regular season with a league-high 13 individual Big Ten Conference weekly awards, more than double any other team in the conference. A major reason the Huskers' were so successful was the performance of freshman Jessie DeZiel, who won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week nine out of the ten times she was eligible. The Rogers, Minn., native also took home the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week two times on Jan. 16 and Feb. 20.
Senior Lora Evenstad won the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 23 for her performance on the road against Iowa State, where she won the all-around with a 39.45. Sophomore Jamie Schleppenbach was the gymnast of the week after helping the Huskers defeat No. 7 Utah on road. The Lincoln, Neb., native won two event titles and finished first in the all-around, while helping NU post the second-highest away meet score in school history.
Five Different Huskers Win All-Around Titles
With Janelle Giblin's all-around victory against Iowa State on March 16, the Huskers had five separate gymnasts win an all-around title in a single season for the first time since at least 1997. Jessie DeZiel leads the way with six titles, while Emily Wong has won two after winning the Big Ten all-around competition. Lora Evenstad, Jamie Schleppenbach and Giblin each have one.
NU Makes History, Finishes Perfect on the Road in Regular Season
The Huskers accomplished something no other team in school history has done when they defeated Utah on Friday, March 9. With the victory, the Huskers finished the regular season undefeated in away meets for the first time in school history. NU finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 mark on the road, including four wins over top 25 opponents. Road victories included triumphs over No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 7 Arkansas and No. 7 Utah.
Giblin Dominates on Bars
Junior Janelle Giblin has been dominant on bars this season, scoring a 9.85 or above in every meet which helped her capture nine event titles in 12 possible meets. Giblin posted a career-high 9.95 in the Huskers' victory over Iowa State on March 24 and was the No. 2 bars performer in the country with a 9.91 RQS. Giblin scored a 9.90 at the Big Ten Championships and a 9.875 at regionals.
Huskers in the Rankings
The Huskers enter the NCAA Championships ranked at No. 6 in the country with a 393.555 National Qualifying Score.
The Huskers finished the regular-season meet schedule inside the top 10 on all four events as a team and feature two all-arounders ranked inside the top 10. On vault, NU checked in at No. 3 with an RQS of 49.430 and is No. 2 on bars (49.345). The Huskers were the No. 5 floor team in the country with a 49.315 RQS and ranked at No. 9 on beam with an RQS of 49.13.
True freshman Jessie DeZiel and sophomore Emily Wong are two of the top all-around performers in the country. DeZiel is ranked as the No. 3 all-arounder in the nation with a 39.52 RQS, while Wong isn't far behind at No. 6 with a 39.465. DeZiel ranks inside the top 10 on vault (7th, 9.92) and floor (9th, 9.905), while Wong is No. 9 on beam (9.89).
Junior Janelle Giblin continues to be one of the top bar performers in the country, where she ranked at No. 2 in the latest rankings. Giblin, who won her ninth bars title of the year against Iowa State on March 16, finished with a 9.91 RQS and is also No. 3 on vault with a 9.93 RQS. Senior Lora Evenstad ranks inside the top 10 on bars (2nd, 9.91) and is No. 13 on floor (9.90), while sophomore Jamie Schleppenbach is the No. 10 vaulter in the country with a 9.915 RQS.
Lauer Steps Up Big for Huskers on Beam
Jennifer Lauer has stepped up in a big way to help the Huskers find consistency on beam. The true freshman led off for NU in their last six meets and was instrumental in the Huskers' victory over Arkansas on Feb. 24, when she led the event off with a career-high 9.875. Lauer began the year as a two-event specialist on the vault and floor, but was inserted into the beam lineup when the Huskers needed to find consistency on the event.
Huskers Compete Against Nation's Best
Nebraska faced off against some of the top teams in the country during the regular season, having battled against four teams ranked inside the top 10. The Huskers defeated No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 7 Arkansas and No. 7 Utah this year, and fell to No. 1 Florida, 196.825-196.95, on March 4. NU owns a 12-2 record against ranked teams, including victories over No. 12 Penn State, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 20 Denver, No. 25 Minnesota (three times), No. 22 Michigan (twice), No. 20 Washington and No. 23 Illinois.
Huskers Post Six All-Around Scores at Masters Classic
For the first time in his 18-plus seasons at Nebraska, Head Coach Dan Kendig had all six gymnasts compete in the all-around when the Huskers took on Washington, Michigan and Southern Utah at the Masters Classic on Feb. 11. Jessie DeZiel, Lora Evenstad, Janelle Giblin, Jamie Schleppenbach, Brittany Skinner and Emily Wong all competed in the all-around, while DeZiel took home the crown with a 39.45. Nebraska finished with the top three spots in the all-around, with Wong finishing in second with a 39.375 and Skinner taking home third place with a career-high 39.35.
Kendig Builds One of Nation's Top Programs at Nebraska
Head Coach Dan Kendig is the all-time winningest coach in the 35 years of Nebraska women's gymnastics history. In 18 seasons at Nebraska, Kendig is 439-165-4 overall and 291-67-2 in regular-season meets. Kendig is in his 29th year of coaching and owns a career record of 549-277-5.
An nine-time Conference Coach of the Year, Kendig has guided the Huskers to 13 conference championships and three straight regional championships from 2000 to 2002. He was most recently named the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
He has also led Nebraska to 14 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 17 seasons, 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.
Under Kendig's guidance in 2011, Nebraska finished with a 22-12 overall record. The Huskers took fourth at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, in their 28th straight NCAA postseason appearance, which tied for the highest finish in school history. Five of Kendig's gymnasts --Lora Evenstad (FX), Brittany Skinner (BB), Janelle Giblin (V, AA), Jamie Schleppenbach (V) and Emily Wong (UB) -- earned All-America honors.
Miller, Brink Join Coaching Staff
Assistant coaches Dan Miller and Heather Brink began their college coaching careers when the Huskers took Denver after being hired this offseason. Brink will coach the balance beam, while also assisting with choreography on the floor exercises. Brink was an 11-time All-American at NU and became a two-time national champion in 2000 by winning the all-around and vault title as a senior.
Miller comes to Nebraska after serving as the owner and head coach at Arena Gymnastics in Joliet, Ill. Miller will coach the Husker vault and floor squads. In his career, Miller has coached over 50 Level 10 gymnasts and 16 national qualifiers.a natives on this year's team.