The Nebraska women's gymnastics team has been named the preseason favorite in the Big Ten for the 2013 season, the conference office announced Wednesday. The defending Big Ten champion Huskers were picked to finish first by conference coaches for the second consecutive year. Nebraska will begin the season ranked No. 7 nationally, the highest among conference teams.
Michigan, Nebraska's season-opening opponent, earned the No. 2 spot in the poll. Ohio State (No. 3), Penn State (No. 4) and Minnesota (No. 5) rounded out the top five.
A sophomore from Rogers, Minn., DeZiel will be one of Nebraska's top threats in the gym this season. The 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, DeZiel earned three All-America honors in her first season at Nebraska, including two first-team awards (FX, AA) and one second-team accolade (V). She was the Big Ten Floor Champion in 2012 and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after capturing the Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week award nine times during the regular season.
Wong returns to Nebraska for her junior season after capturing the Big Ten All-Around title in 2012. The four-time All-American has earned two career first-team honors (2012: BB, 2011: UB) and two second-team awards (2012: FX, AA). Wong was an All-Big Ten Championship team selection on four events in 2012 (V, BB, FX, AA) and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. A standout in the classroom and the gym, Wong was an Academic-All Big Ten honoree in 2012 and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
Nebraska will open their season on Jan. 12 on the road at Michigan. The Huskers' first home meet of the year will be Jan. 19, when NU hosts Michigan State at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. That meet is slated for a 6 p.m. CST start.
Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll
Dec. 12, 2012
3. Ohio State
4. Penn State
8. Michigan State
Big Ten Women's Gymnasts to Watch List
Dec. 12, 2012
Giana O'Connor, Fr., Illinois
Alina Weinstein, Sr., Illinois
Emma Stevenson, Sr., Iowa
Emma Willis, So., Iowa
Natalie Beilstein, Sr., Michigan
Joanna Sampson, Jr., Michigan
Lisa Burt, Fr., Michigan State
Nicola Deans, Fr., Michigan State
Janell Campbell, Sr., Minnesota
Lindsay Mable, Fr., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, So., Nebraska
Emily Wong, Jr., Nebraska
Sarah Miller, Jr., Ohio State
Melanie Shaffer, Jr., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, Sr., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, Sr., Penn State