NCAA Championships Await Nebraska
Birmingham, Ala • Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex • April 18-20
Friday, April 20: Two Semifinal meets, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• Both sessions, live video at NCAA.com
Saturday, April 21: Super Six Finals, 6 p.m.
• ESPN3.com, ESPNU-tape delay, Wednesday, April 23 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 22: Individual Event Finals, 2 p.m.
• ESPN3.com, ESPNU-tape delay, Wednesday, April 23 at 8 p.m.
• Nebraska Head Coach: Dan Kendig (21st Year)
• Current Team Record: 25-4
• 2014 High Score: 197.225 (at Penn State, 2/8/14)
• 2013 NCAA Finish: N/A
The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will travel to Birmingham, Ala. for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships this weekend. The team will take the floor at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex after advancing to the championships from the NCAA Seattle Regional. The NCAA Championships are slated to take place on April 18-20. The event will begin on Friday, April 18 with team preliminaries. Preliminary competition is split between two sessions, with the first beginning at 1 p.m. CT and the second taking place at 7 p.m. CT.
After moving into a bracket format for the 2014 post-season, Nebraska will face advancing teams from the Penn State, Fayetteville and Seattle Regionals. The Huskers will take on No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, and No. 15 Penn State in the evening final. Semifinal I consists of NO. 6 Georgia, No. 11 Illinois, No. 3 LSU, No. 7 Michigan, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 10 Stanford.
The top-three team finishers from each session will qualify for the Super Six team finals on Saturday, April 19 at 6 p.m. CT. In addition, the top four individuals on each event in Friday’s semifinal competition (plus ties) will compete in the individual event finals on Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m. CT.
Fans wishing to follow the meet may do so through live video and live stats. The NCAA will provide live video for both preliminary sessions at NCAA.com, while the Super Six team finals and individual event finals will be available live on espn.go.com as ESPN3 will provide coverage. ESPNU will also broadcast the event on tape delay on Wednesday, April 23 at 8 p.m. CT. Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clark will be on the call for ESPN’s broadcast.
Rotation Order at NCAA Championships: NU Competes in Semifinal II
Below is the rotation order for the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. Semifinal rotation orders were decided by a random draw, with Nebraska starting the evening on floor. NU’s full order will be floor, vault, bye, bars, beam, bye. Arkansas’ all-around individual qualifier Amanda Wellick will be in rotation with Nebraska, as well as Taylor Noonan from Central Michigan, who will join the Huskers on beam.
Semifinal I - 1 p.m. CT
Rotation Vault Bye Bars Beam Bye Floor
1. Georgia Illinois Michigan Oklahoma LSU Stanford
2. Stanford Georgia Illinois Michigan Oklahoma LSU
3. LSU Stanford Georgia Illinois Michigan Oklahoma
4. Oklahoma LSU Stanford Georgia Illinois Michigan
5. Michigan Oklahoma LSU Stanford Georgia Illinois
6. Illinois Michigan Oklahoma LSU Stanford Georgia
Individual All-Arounders in Semifinal I:
Moriah Martin, Denver (Georgia) Lindsay Mable, Minnesota (Illinois)
Chelsea Tang, Oregon State (Michigan) Madeline Gardiner, Oregon State (Oklahoma)
Kalliah McCartney, Sacramento State (LSU) Alicia Asturias, California (Stanford)
Semifinal II - 7 p.m. CT
Rotation Vault Bye Bars Beam Bye Floor
1. Florida Alabama Utah UCLA Penn State Nebraska
2. Nebraska Florida Alabama Utah UCLA Penn State
3. Penn State Nebraska Florida Alabama Utah UCLA
4. UCLA Penn State Nebraska Florida Alabama Utah
5. Utah UCLA Penn State Nebraska Florida Alabama
6. Alabama Utah UCLA Penn State Nebraska Florida
Individual All-Arounders in Semifinal II:
Alexid Gunzelman, Rutgers (Florida) Katherine Grable, Arkansas (Utah)
Caitlin Brown, Iowa State (Alabama) Marie Case, Kent State (UCLA)
Hope Sloanhoffer, West Virginia (Penn State) Amanda Wellick, Arkansas (Nebraska)
Husker History at the NCAA Championships
After securing their 30th consecutive post-season appearance with its placement in the Seattle Regional, the Huskers have advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 22nd 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: 2013 NCAA Championships (only individuals competitors)
Two Nebraska gymnasts bagged a total of six All-America honors in Session I of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship Semifinals. Emily Wong earned first-team accolades on vault, floor and in the all-around and second-team laurels on beam. Jessie DeZiel also snagged second-team honors on beam and in the all-around. Joining Wong and DeZiel in competition at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus was senior Brittany Skinner, who competed on vault.
Wong notched a pair of top-10 finishes on floor exercise and vault on the final day of the 2013 NCAA Championships. The junior capped the meet by snagging 3rd place on floor and 10th on vault at the individual event finals. Wong was also honored for tying for third nationally in the all-around competition at the meet. Wong’s score of 39.525 was third among all competitors between the two preliminary sessions of the NCAA Championship meet on Friday.
Looking Back: 2012 NCAA Championships (last time team advanced)
The Nebraska gymnastics team was unable to advance to the Super Six finals at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, finishing in fifth place in the first semifinal at the Gwinnet Center in Duluth, Ga. Nu posted a 196.625. UCLA (197.400) finished first, followed by Utah (197.200) and Stanford (197.125).
Several Huskers earned All-America honors and advanced to the individual event finals. Jessie DeZiel was a first-team All-American on floor and in the all-around, while also earning second-team honors on vault. Emily Wong took home first team honors on beam, while Janelle Giblin was a first-teamer on vault.
At the individual event finals of the 2012 NCAA Women’s gymnastics championships, the Huskers captured three top-10 finishes on three separate events, including a pair of six-place finishes for Janelle Giblin on vault and Jessie DeZiel on floor. Emily Wong finished in 10th on beam.
Last Time Out: Huskers Advance to NCAA Championships
The ninth ranked Nebraska women’s gymnastics team posted a score of 196.975 at the Alaska Airlines Arena to finish second at the NCAA Seattle Regional and earn a berth to the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. April 18-20.
The Huskers scored a 49.000 or better on all four events to secure the 22nd NCAA Championships appearance in school history. Nebraska finished second behind Alabama (197.550) and ahead of Denver (195.625), Washington (195.550), Boise State (195.275) and BYU (194.650).
Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel both earned event titles on the day. DeZiel won her second consecutive Regional vault title with a score of 9.95. Wong collected both the bar (9.95) and floor (9.90) titles en-route to her 10th all-around crown this season with a score of 39.625.
Nebraska opened the meet on floor notching a 49.125 led by Wong’s 9.90 score. Blanske recorded a 9.85 while Ariel Martin and Jamie Schleppenbach both delivered 9.80 performances. Desire’ Stephens rounded out the floor lineup with a 9.775 mark.
The Big Red took to vault catapulting to a 49.475 team score. DeZiel fueled NU notching a 9.95, while the duo of Wong and Stephens tacked on 9.90 efforts. This marks Stephens new career-high score for the event. Blanske powered to a 9.875 and Martin rounded out the solid vault lineup with a 9.85.
After each team had competed on two events, Nebraska sat in second place behind Alabama 98.625-98.600, heading into their third event on bars. Boise State closely trailed at 98.375, with Denver (97.925), Washington (97.675) and BYU (97.125) rounding out the team scores, respectively.
Following their second bye of the evening the Huskers moved to bars soaring to a 49.300 team score. Wong led NU in the anchor spot matching her career-high score of 9.95 to take top honors. DeZiel also tied her best mark on the event sticking a 9.925. Freshman Laeng produced a strong routine tabbing a 9.825, while Stephens and Blanske rounded out the lineup putting up 9.80 scores.
NU clinched their second-place finish by posting a 49.075 on beam. Wong continued her impressive night by posting a 9.875 score along side teammate Laeng. DeZiel added a 9.825, while A. Lauer (9.775) and Blanske (9.725) rounded out the lineup.
Huskers Snag Third Big Ten Title, First Regular-Season Crown
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team captured a share of the regular-season Big Ten conference title this season in East Lansing, Mich. The Huskers posted its second-highest team score of the season (197.050) at one of the Big Ten quad meets to defeat Illinois (196.875), Michigan State (196.200) and Ohio State (195.675).
In Ann Arbor, Mich., the other Big Ten quad meet was held, where the Minnesota Gophers (196.700) took home the victory over Penn State (196.475), Michigan (196.025) and Iowa (194.750). Nebraska and Minnesota both finished the regular season with an identical Big Ten record of 6-1 to give them a share of the conference title.
The Huskers success was fueled by the four all-around competitors: senior Emily Wong, junior Jessie DeZiel, sophomore Hollie Blanske and freshman Jennie Laeng. Emily Wong took home a first-place finish on bars (9.925) and floor (9.95) en-route to her ninth consecutive all-around crown (39.625) for the regular season. DeZiel claimed the beam title to finish second-place in the all-around (39.425), while Laeng in her second appearance in the all-around notched a career-high score of 39.325.
Nebraska opened the meet on vault posting a strong 49.375 team score. Five Huskers composed of Blanske, DeZiel, Laeng, Ariel Martin and Wong all hit identical marks of 9.875. This gives Laeng her new career-high mark on the event.
The Big Red took to bars notching a 49.250, led by Wong’s 9.925 score. DeZiel earned a 9.875 while Laeng and Stephens both tacked on identical scores of 9.825. Amanda Lauer saw her first appearance on bars sticking a 9.80 and a new career-high mark.
The Huskers carried their momentum over to beam for the third rotation, where the team pulled down a mark of 49.200. DeZiel fueled the Big Red matching her career-high score of 9.90, while the duo of Laeng and Wong both claimed 9.875 marks. Jamie Schleppenbach, Blanske and A. Lauer added scores of 9.775 to round out the beam lineup.
Nebraska sealed their victory on floor, posting a 49.225 on their final rotation of the night. Wong led the way with her 9.95 mark while Blanske contributed a solid 9.875. Martin picked up her new career-high score of 9.825 on the event. Stephens (9.80) and DeZiel (9.775) tacked on important scores to round out the Huskers floor squad.
Emily Wong: All-Around Outstanding
In her senior season at Nebraska, Emily Wong has cemented her position as one of the nation’s top all-around student-athletes in the country.
Wong is known for her contagious smile that shines brightest when she is with her friends, family and while performing her floor routine that earned her third-place at the NCAA Championships last year. Her smile has helped her overcome many challenges over the years, including the recent passing of her father last October. Wong competes this season with a heavy heart as she wishes her father was still cheering her on in the stands, as he did every meet since she started competing as a little girl. This setback has not slowed her down, instead it has fueled her to one of the best senior seasons by a Nebraska gymnast in school history. Through the 2014 regular season, Wong captured 32 event titles, remained undefeated in the all-around, while posting some of the top scores in the country. Her senior season has been dedicated to her father and her incredible strength has inspired the entire Nebraska gymnastics team to one of the best starts to a season since 1997.
As a junior, Wong tied for third nationally in the all-around at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Her seamless performance included a third place finish on floor and a 10th place finish on vault. An eight-time All-American in competition Wong has earned countless all-conference awards during her time at NU. In March of 2013 she became the first Big Ten gymnast to win back-to-back conference all-around titles since Penn State’s Brandi Personett (2007-08). Her four awards at the 2013 conference championships were the most in a single season for any Husker since Emily Parsons captured four honors in 2005. The Grand Forks, N.D., native has captured over 60 event titles throughout her career as a Husker and has spent most of her senior season ranked in the top-four nationally in the all-around.
At the Big Ten Championships Wong collected two career-high scores on beam (9.95) and on floor recording a perfect 10.00 to become only the second Nebraska gymnast to record a 10.00 on the event behind Richelle Simpson. Wong was awarded Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for her efforts during the season. She also earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week five times this season and has been nominated as one of the six AAI Award finalists.
Wong took home her 10th all-around crown at the 2014 NCAA Seattle Regional by delivering a notable performance. She recorded a career-high mark of 9.95 on bars and a 9.90 to take home top honors on both events en-route to the Regional all-around crown with a score of 39.625.
Wong is not only defined by her exceptional performances in the gym, but also her work in the classroom. She has earned numerous academic awards as a nutrition, health and exercise sciences major, including Academic All-America honors, three-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-America accolades and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honors. In March of this year, Wong was named the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Scholarship Award winner.
Wong has been a staple in the Lincoln community and has participated in an array of outreach activities through the Nebraska Life Skills program. She has volunteered with a variety of programs, including elementary and middle school visits, Breast Cancer Awareness events, Lincoln Children’s Zoo “Boo at the Zoo” and Cedars Youth Services. Wong will graduate in December of 2014 with a 3.918 GPA earning her Bachelor’s degree in nutrition, exercise and health sciences and a minor in psychology/child, youth and family studies. She intends to continue her education to become a physical therapist.
Two Huskers Earn NACGC/W All-America Awards
Two members of the Nebraska women’s gymnastics team earned a total of five regular season All-American awards from the National Collegiate Gymnastic Coaches Association (NACGC/W) on Tuesday. Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong both captured honors for their performances throughout the Huskers’ 2014 campaign.
Wong led NU collecting four total All-America honors with two first-team awards on floor and the all-around as well as two second-team selections on bars and beam. DeZiel picked up second-team honors on vault.
The 2014 Big Ten Gymnast of the year, Wong is the nation’s No. 4 all-around gymnast with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 39.585. She is also ranked in the top-15 on bars (9.915), beam (9.900) and floor (9.945). Wong earned her career-high score on floor last weekend at the Big Ten Championships posting a perfect 10.00 to become only the second Nebraska gymnast to record a 10.00 on the event behind Richelle Simpson.
Nationally, DeZiel ranks 19th in the all-around, holding an RQS of 39.360 while also adding a ninth-place slot on vault (9.935). She took home second-team All-America honors on vault for her regular-season efforts notching a score of 9.975 twice during the year. DeZiel finished third on vault at the 2014 Big Ten Championships with a 9.925 mark.
Wong, Wiedel Earn NU’s top Student-Athlete Awards
Emily Wong and Seth Wiedel captured two of Nebraska’s most coveted awards, as they were named Nebraska Female and Male Student-Athletes of the Year at the Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet.
As Nebraska’s Student-Athletes of the Year, Wong and Weidel will be NU’s recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.