The Huskers are set to travel to University Park, Pa. for the 2014 Big Ten Championships
Photo by Nate Olsen/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Seek Fourth-Straight Championship Crown

By NU Athletic Communications

2014 Big Ten Championships
Date: Saturday, March 22 
Location: University Park, Pa.
Arena: Rec Hall
Live Stats:
TV: Both sessions live on BTN
Twitter: @HuskersWGym

Session I: 11 a.m. CT
    • Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State
Session II: 4 p.m. CT
    • Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State 

The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will open postseason competition this weekend at the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships in University Park, Pa. The meet will take place on Saturday, March 22 in Rec Hall and will be split into afternoon and evening sessions. The Huskers (14-2, 6-1 Big Ten) are slated to compete in the evening session at 4 p.m. CT alongside Illinois, Minnesota and Penn State. 

Fans can catch both sessions of the championship meet live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State will provide live scoring and full results online at Live updates can also be accessed on Twitter by following the official Nebraska women’s gymnastics account, @HuskersWGym.

Last weekend, NU took home a share of the 2014 regular-season conference title with Minnesota after both teams finished the regular season with a 6-1 conference record. The Huskers enter this weekend on the hunt for their fourth-straight championship meet title. Nebraska claimed top honors at the 2011 Big 12 Championships and the 2012 and 2013 Big Ten Championships, while capturing a total of 26 all conference championship team awards.

Nebraska's Gymnast to Watch: Emily Wong
• Two-time defending Big Ten all-around champion (39.725).
• Defending Big Ten champion on bars (9.925), beam (9.90) and floor (9.975).
• No. 1 ranked all-around gymnast in the Big Ten.
• No. 4 ranked all-around gymnast in the country.
• Finalist for the 2014 AAI Award .
• Three-time first-team All-Big Ten pick and owns nine All-Big Ten Championship Team honors.

Breaking Down the Championships
This year’s Big Ten championship field will feature a total of six top-25 teams, including a pair of top-10 squads in No. 8 Michigan and No. 9 Nebraska. Additionally, six of the eight teams competing have posted their top score of the season during the month of March.

The two sessions of the championship meet were determined last weekend at the two Big Ten quad meets. The two top teams at each meet advanced to the evening session while the other two teams will compete in the afternoon session.

The afternoon session of the championships will see competition between Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. The Michigan Wolverines were the Big Ten runner-up last season, are ranked No. 8 in the country and bring an RQS of 196.900. Michigan will be lead into competition by senior Joanna Sampson who is ranked fifth nationally behind Emily Wong.

The evening session of the championships will feature Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Penn State. All four programs have posted scores of 197.000 or better this season. The Minnesota Gophers shared the regular-season Big Ten championship title with Nebraska as they each finished the 2014 regular-season with a conference record of 6-1.

This weekend’s meet will also be a battle for the conference’s top honors in the all-around competition. Six all-around performers are ranked in the top-25 nationally including: Michigan’s Joanna Sampson (No. 5), Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable (No. 11), Nebraska’s Jessie DeZiel (No. 16) and Emily Wong (No. 4), Penn State’s Kassidy Strauder (No. 17), and Ohio State’s Melanie Shaffer (No. 24).

Last Time Out: Huskers Capture Big Ten Title
The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team captured a share of the regular-season Big Ten conference title last Saturday 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 first-place on bars (9.925) and floor (9.95) en-route to her ninth consecutive all-around crown (39.625). 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 event 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.

Huskers in the Rankings: Holding steady at No. 9
The Huskers’ 197.050 effort at the Big Ten quad meet last weekend held the team in the top-10 of this week’s GymInfo national rankings, released March 17. Nebraska earned an RQS of 196.830 to stay in its No. 9 slot. The defending National Champion Florida Gators (197.790) jumped ahead of LSU (197.720) this week, who held the No. 1 ranking for the past three weeks. Oklahoma remains third (197.660), Alabama (197.405) fourth and Utah (197.365) fifth to round out the top-five teams nationally.

NU is ranked in the top-15 on every event led by a 10th ranking on both vault (49.310) and beam (49.170) while adding a 12th place ranking on bars (49.215) and 13th on floor (49.205).

Two individuals pulled down a total of eight appearances in the rankings, led by Emily Wong’s five top-25 scores. One of the nation’s premier all-around competitors, Wong is fourth in the all-around with an RQS of 39.585. She is also 25th on vault (9.895), eighth on bars (9.915), 14th on beam (9.890) and ninth on floor (9.935).

Jessie DeZiel earned three individual rankings this week, including 16th in the all-around (39.360). DeZiel moved up in the vault rankings after posting scores of 9.975 in two meets, appearing in a tie for ninth with an RQS of 9.925. She also added a 23rd ranking on beam (9.870).

Wong Wins Final Big Ten Gymnast of the Week
Nebraska gymnast Emily Wong won her fifth Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award on Monday, March 17 when the Big Ten Conference announced its last set of weekly awards for the 2014 season. The senior from Grand Forks, ND., won the award five out of the 10 times she was eligible, claiming the honor for the last three straight weeks. Wong finishes her Husker career with seven total Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors.

Wong fueled the Husker’s to victory in its final regular-season meet last weekend against Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State to claim the Big Ten regular-season conference title. Wong finished top-five on every event including first-place finishes on bars (9.925) and floor where she matched her season-high score of 9.95 for the fourth time this season. She finished fourth on both vault (9.875) and beam (9.875) en-route to her ninth consecutive all-around crown (39.625).

The talented senior finished the regular-season as the No. 1 ranked all-arounder in the Big Ten as well as No. 4 in the country with an RQS of 39.585. Wong still remains undefeated in the all-around collecting an incredible nine straight titles. She pulls down national rankings on every individual event including 25th on vault (9.895), eighth on bars (9.915), 14th on beam (9.890) and ninth on floor (9.935).

Three Huskers Earn All-Big Ten Honors
The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team saw three Huskers earn spots on the 2014 Big Ten All-Conference teams, the league office announced Tuesday.

Two Huskers earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for their performances throughout the season. Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong took home their third first-team awards in three seasons, while Hollie Blanske picked up her first career honor, as she was named to the second-team.

The two-time defending Big Ten all-around champion, Wong ranks first in the conference in the all-around with an RQS of 39.585. Heading into competition this weekend, the senior also ranks first on bars (9.915), second on floor (9.935) and beam (9.890) and fifth on vault (9.895). She has collected 32 event titles this season, including nine consecutive all-around crowns. Her first-team award marks the third all-conference selection of her career.

DeZiel is the conference’s fourth-ranked all-around performer, holding an RQS of 39.360 and a high score of 39.575 this season. She is also ranked in the Big Ten’s top-10 on three individual events, coming in second on vault (9.925), third on bars (9.875) and fourth on beam (9.870). DeZiel has earned nine event titles this season including two all-around crowns. She has captured three career first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Blanske picked up her first All-Big Ten selection with second-team accolades. The sophomore is ranked 11th in the all-around in the Big Ten, with an RQS of 39.190 and a career-high 39.425 score this season. Blanske also holds down three top-10 rankings of 10th on vault (9.870), ninth on bars (9.855) and 10th on floor (9.870).

All-Big Ten honorees were chosen based on a selection process implemented last season. The top-10 student-athletes were allotted points based on their Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) standing, with 10 points given to the No. 1 ranked athlete and one point given to the No. 10 ranked athlete. All points from each event and in the all-around were then combined, with ties given the same number of points. The student-athletes with the 12 highest points were named to the first team, while the next 12 captured second-team accolades.

Up Next for Nebraska:
Dan Kendig’s squad has placed itself in prime position to capture the programs 31st consecutive postseason appearance in 2014. Nebraska will aim for one more strong performance this weekend to boost its RQS for favorable seeding heading into NCAA Regional competition on April 5. The 2014 regional sites are Fayetteville, Ark., Athens, Ga., Baton Rouge, La., Minneapolis, Minn., University Park, Pa., or Seattle, Wash.

The National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics committee will conduct selections for the NCAA Championships. The field of 36 teams will be announced in a selection show on Monday, March 24. Six teams will be named to each of the six regional sites. The top-18 teams are then seeded and placed on a national basis, based on their respective RQS scores.



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