Husker Trio Heads to NCAA Championships
2013 NCAA WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
April 19-21 | Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion)
Three members of the Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for the 2013 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships this weekend. Emily Wong, Jessie DeZiel and Brittany Skinner will take the floor at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus after advancing to the championship as individual competitors from the NCAA Morgantown Regional. Wong and DeZiel will compete as individual all-around performers, while Skinner will perform on vault.
The NCAA Championships are slated to take place on April 19-21. The event will begin on Friday, April 19 with team preliminaries. Preliminary competition is split between two sessions, with the first beginning at 2 p.m. CT and the second taking place at 8 p.m. CT. Wong, DeZiel and Skinner will all compete in the first session of the day. DeZiel will rotate through events with Minnesota, Wong with LSU, and Skinner will compete on vault with 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 individual finishers on each event in both sessions will advance to the individual event finals on Sunday, April 21 at 3 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. The Super Six team finals and individual event finals will be broadcast live on ESPN3. ESPNU will also broadcast the event on tape delay on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. CT. Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson-Clarke will be on the call for ESPN’s broadcasts.
Noting NU's Championship Competitors
Jessie DeZiel | So. | Rogers, Minn. (Twin City Twisters)
- First-team All-American on floor and in the all-around in 2012; second-team selection on vault.
- Vault co-champion at the Big Ten Championships (9.95) and NCAA Morgantown Regional (9.95).
- NACGC/W first-team All-American on vault and in the all-around this season.
Brittany Skinner | Sr. | Los Altos, Calif. (Airborne)
- Vault co-champion at the Big Ten Championships (9.95) and NCAA Morgantown Regional (9.95).
- Finished regular season tied for 17th nationally on vault with an RQS of 9.910.
- Second-team All-Big Ten pick and All-Big Ten Championship team selection on vault.
Emily Wong | Jr. | Grand Forks, N.D. (Red River Valley Gymnastics)
- Four-time All-American; first-team selection on beam and second-team pick on floor and in the all-around in 2012.
- 2013 Big Ten Champion or co-champion on bars (9.925), beam (9.90), floor (9.975) and in the all-around (39.725).
- NACGC/W first-team All-American on bars, beam, floor and in the all-around in 2013.
NCAA Championships Ticket Information
Fans wishing to purchase tickets for this weekend’s championship may do so online at UCLABruins.com or by calling the UCLA ticket office at (310) UCLA-WIN. All session passes are available for the weekend and are $55 for reserved adult seating and $40 for adult general admission. Reserved student and youth tickets are $40, while general admission student and youth tickets are $32. Discounted rates for groups of 10+ adults and student/youth are also available.
Huskers Drop Heartbreaker at NCAA Regionals
Nebraska finished third in a heartbreaker at the NCAA Morgantown Regional on April 6, 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 Championship qualification since 2009. The Huskers closed 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 bars 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.
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 sixth, taking home a 194.350.
Huskers Finish Season Ranked No. 13 Nationally
Nebraska finished the 2013 regular season ranked No. 13 nationally with a national qualifying score (NQS) of 393.020. NQS is calculated by combining a team’s regional qualifying score (RQS) with its NCAA regional score. NU’s RQS of 197.145 was eighth nationally, but the squad’s team effort of 195.875 at the NCAA Morgantown Regional dropped it to its final spot of No. 13 overall.
Florida enters NCAA competition ranked first overall with an NQS of 396.240 that includes their nation-high regional score of 198.400. Oklahoma (394.945) and Alabama (394.815) round out the top three heading into NCAA competition.
Husker Individuals at the NCAA Championships
Jessie DeZiel, Brittany Skinner and Emily Wong will each have a chance to join the list of Husker gymnasts who have earned All-America honors as individuals at the NCAA Championships. In the last 15 years, four Nebraska athletes have earned four All-America awards as qualifying individuals: Kylie Stone (2009: UB, second team), Emily Parsons (2008: BB, first team; all-around, second team), Desiré Sniatynski (2008: UB, first team) and Heather Brink (1998: V, second team).
Three Huskers Earn NACGC/W All-America Honors
Three members of the 2013 team earned a total of seven regular season All-America awards from the National Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Association (NACGC/W) on Friday, April 5. DeZiel, Janelle Giblin and Wong all captured honors for their performances throughout the Huskers’ 2013 campaign.
Wong led all NU gymnasts with four total first-team All-America awards, garnering honors on bars, beam, floor and in the all-around. DeZiel captured a pair of first-team laurels on vault and in the all-around, and Giblin picked up second-team accolades on uneven bars.
Emily Wong: All-Around Outstanding
Emily Wong has set herself apart as one of the finest all-around competitors in the nation throughout 2013. Wong finished the regular season ranked No. 4 nationally in the all-around with an RQS of 39.610 and boasts top 20 rankings on every event. She has captured 23 event titles this season, including a team-high seven in the all-around.
Wong’s consistent excellence was on full display at the 2013 Big Ten Championship meet, where the junior took home her second consecutive conference all-around title with a career-high 39.725. That score was the second-highest in Nebraska’s conference championship history and included individual Big Ten titles on bars (9.925), beam (9.90) and floor (9.975). Wong added four All-Big Ten Championship Team selections to give her eight over the past two seasons alone. Additionally, her four titles at the championship meet ties five other former conference gymnasts for the most titles in a single season. Her seven career Big Ten titles is tied for third-most all time. A back-to-back conference all-around champion, Wong is the first in the Big Ten to achieve that feat since Penn State’s Brandi Personett in 2007-08.
Wong has made her mark in the Husker record books this season as well, earning a spot in the top 10 on multiple events. Her 39.725 in the all-around at the Big Ten Championships gave her the seventh-best score in school history. She also became the first Husker to break the 39.700 mark in all-around competition since Richelle Simpson and Tami Harris in 2004. Wong’s career-best 9.975 on floor exercise at the conference championship meet also tied her for fifth all-time on the event and gave her the highest floor score by a Husker since Emily Parsons in 2008.
DeZiel Dazzles for Huskers
Jessie DeZiel wrapped up the regular season ranked eighth in the nation in the all-around with an RQS of 39.525. DeZiel and teammate Emily Wong made Nebraska one of only two teams nationally to have two or more all-arounders ranked in the nation’s top 10, joining Florida’s Bridget Sloan, Kytra Hunter and Ashanée Dickerson.
Perhaps nowhere was DeZiel’s excellence in the gym more notable than on vault, where the sophomore served as the anchor of a stellar Husker lineup. After entering the month of March ranked in a tie for 92nd on the event, DeZiel closed the regular season by posting four consecutive scores of 9.95 to rise to No. 7 nationally with an RQS of 9.930.
After earning a share of the vault title at the NCAA Morgantown Regional with her fifth 9.95 in five meets, DeZiel has earned or tied for five titles on her signature event in March and April. During that time she also boosted Nebraska’s vaulting corps, as they posted the top three scores on the event in the nation this season. NU earned efforts of 49.650 against Iowa and at the NCAA Morgantown Regional as well as a school record 49.725 at the Big Ten Championships.
Skinner Shines in Senior Season
After being limited in Nebraska’s first two meets of the season, Brittany Skinner returned to the Husker lineup with a bang at Ohio State on Jan. 25. The senior won vault in her first outing of the season, tying her career-high of 9.925 on the event. She followed up with an additional pair of titles on the event in February, earning a 9.925 vs. Penn State at home and a 9.90 at Arizona.
Skinner has displayed some of her best efforts late in her senior campaign. She put up the finest all-around outing of her career when she returned to her hometown for Nebraska’s meet at Cal on March 16, posting a 39.525 overall. That effort included career-high marks of 9.90 on beam and 9.875 on floor, as well as a 9.925 on vault and 9.825 on bars.
Skinner followed up with a career-best 9.95 at the Big Ten Championships to tie for the conference vault title and earn All-Big Ten Championship Team honors on the event. Just two weeks later, she struck again with an identical 9.95 at the NCAA Morgantown Regional to tie with teammates DeZiel and Wong for the event title. By placing first in an event, she qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual.
Kendig Climbs All-Time Coaching Wins List
Nebraska Head Coach Dan Kendig has continued to climb Nebraska’s list of all-time coaching wins leaders in 2013, logging 19 victories to hold 472 in 20 seasons. That total is good for fourth all-time across all sports in Husker history. In 29 years of coaching at three institutions, Kendig holds a 553-282-5 record all-time and a winning percentage of .658.
Kendig trails only current softball Head Coach Rhonda Revelle (779), former baseball Head Coach John Sanders (767) and former volleyball Head Coach Terry Pettit (694) on the list of all-time wins leaders at Nebraska.
Kendig Architect of 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 472-176-4 record overall and a 300-71-2 regular season mark. An eight-time conference coach of the year selection, Kendig earned Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honors last season after guiding the 2012 Huskers to the program’s 22nd conference title. He guided the 2013 Huskers as they repeated the feat this season, capturing a conference championship for the third consecutive year.
Kendig has also led the Huskers to 15 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 19 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 tutelage in 2013, the Huskers posted a 19-5 record overall that included a 3-2 mark in NCAA postseason action. Three of Kendig’s gymnasts will vie for All-America honors at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
NU Assistants Boost Husker Efforts 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 boosted Nebraska to a No. 5 national ranking on the event prior to NCAA postseason competition while guiding Jennifer Lauer and Emily Wong to a combined nine titles. Her leadership was instrumental in coaching Lauer and Wong to shares of top conference honors 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 20 titles on vault and 10 on floor this season. He has also coached the Huskers’ vaulting corps to the nation’s three highest scores on the event this season, including a school-record 49.725 at the Big Ten Championship. 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 assistant coach Owen Field, now in his third season in that position, aids NU’s full-time staff in 2013. Field assists 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 in Ashley Lambert and Jennie Laeng for 2014 in November.
A native of Virginia, Lambert is a Level 10 gymnast who has trained at World Class Gymnastics under coaches Tami Harrison and Troy Miller. Lambert is a four-time Junior Olympic National Qualifier. She earned the all-around title at the 2013 Level 10 Virginia State Championships in March, including gold medals on vault and bars. 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 10 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 the all-around and beam competitions 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.