Photo by Athlete’s Eye Photography

2018 Season Review: Nebraska Sees Final Super Six

By NU Athletic Communications

The University of Nebraska women's gymnastics team ended 2018 with a sixth-place finish in the nation after qualifying for the final Super Six, scoring 196.800 the weekend of April 20-21 at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo., finishing the season with a 28-15 record. 

Nebraska posted its highest national finish since 2014 when the Cornhuskers also finished sixth. Nebraska made its 12th appearance at the Super Six Finals, which ranks fifth in the nation for appearances in the Super Six. The NCAA will not continue the Super Six format in 2019, and will move to a final with four teams. The Huskers qualified for Super Six with a third-place finish at NCAA Semifinal I, scoring 197.0125 to edge out Georgia. 

The Huskers posted their highest score in five years at the Raleigh Regional, scoring 197.525, eclipsing the 197.500 mark for the first time since 2013. Nebraska finished second at the Regional to advance to the National Semifinals. Taylor Houchin became the first Husker since 2014 to win two event titles when the sophomore won the bars title outright (9.975) and claimed a share of the vault title with a 9.945.

Nebraska received a total of eight All-America honors in 2018. Senior Grace Williams earned second team honors on balance beam and floor, the first of her career. Junior Sienna Crouse earned first team honors on floor, and second team All-America honors on vault, adding to her first team All-America honors on vault in 2017. Taylor Houchin earned first team All-American status on vault, and second-team honors on balance beam, the first of her career. Megan Schweihofer rounded out the group, adding second team honors on floor and in the all-around. Crouse posted the highest vault score of any competitor at the NCAA champinships, but posted it during Super Six Finals, whereas individual champions are awarded during semifinal competition. Nebraska's eight All-American honors are the most since 2012, and the two first-team honors mark the first time since 2015 NU had multiple first-teamers.

Additionally, Danielle Breen was awarded the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the National Championships, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the highest level of competition in her respective sport. Breen is the first women's gymnast from Nebraska to earn the award. 

Nebraska finished in third in the Big Ten regular season standings, but finished second at the NCAA Championships, scoring 196.950 in the afternoon session. Schweihofer won the Big Ten All-Around title with a career-high 39.525, and shared the floot title a score if 9.95. She became the first Husker to win the Big Ten all-around title since 2013 when Emily Wong achieved the feat. Nebraska claimed at least a share of four individual conference titles on the day, the first time since 2013, when NU swept all individual titles. Williams shared the Big Ten balance beam crown with a score of 9.90 and Houchin clinched a piece of the vault title with a score of 9.90. 

NU again shined in the classroom, as nine Huskers were named Academic All-Big Ten, while 13 gymnasts were named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for the fall semester. The Huskers were also recognized for their work in the community, with al 16 Huskers being named to the Tom Oaborne Citizenship Team. 

Last Time Out: Huskers Finish Sixth at Final Super Six
Nebraska women’s gymnastics finished sixth in the nation at the Super Six Finals on Saturday night in St. Louis, Mo., with a final team score of 196.800. Nebraska’s Sienna Crouse posted the highest vault score by any individual competitor with a 9.9625, sticking her routine and rounding out her decorated 2018 season, serving as Nebraska’s shining star at Super Six. 

UCLA won the National Championship, as Peng-Peng Lee singlehandedly stole the national championship from Oklahoma, scoring her second perfect 10 of the night on bars, helping the Bruins to a 198.075 team score, narrowly defeating Oklahoma which scored 198.0375. Lee scored her first perfect 10 of the night on bars. Florida finished third at Super Six, scoring 197.850 with LSU close behind in fourth with 197.8375. Utah finished fifth with 196.900 and Nebraska posted its best national finish since 2014, finishing sixth with a score of 196.800.

Four Huskers Earn Eight All-America Honors 
Nebraska received a total of eight All-America honors in 2018. Senior Grace Williams earned second team honors on balance beam and floor, the first of her career. Junior Sienna Crouse earned first team honors on floor, and second team All-America honors on vault, adding to her first team All-America honors on vault in 2017. Taylor Houchin earned first team All-American status on vault, and second-team honors on balance beam, the first of her career. Megan Schweihofer rounded out the group, adding second team honors on floor and in the all-around. Crouse posted the highest vault score of any competitor at the NCAA champinships, but posted it during Super Six Finals, whereas individual champions are awarded during semifinal competition. Nebraska's eight All-American honors are the most since 2012, and the two first-team honors mark the first time since 2015 NU had multiple first-teamers.

Nebraska Earns NCAA Championships Spot with Highest Team Score in Five Years
Nebraska punched their ticket to the NCAA National Semifinals after finishing in second place at the NCAA Raleigh Regional with a season-high team score of 197.525, its best score in five years. Sophomore Taylor Houchin was named the Regional Champion on bars with a 9.975, and the Regional Co-Champion on vault with a 9.95. 

Louisiana State University finished first in the Raleigh Regional with a 197.625, claiming the other qualifying spot to the NCAA National Semifinal on April 20 in St. Louis, Mo. North Carolina State finished in third with 196.050, while Maryland finished fourth with a 195.850. George Washington and Oregon State rounded out the group with scores of 195.425 and 194.975, respectively.

Houchin Wins Two Regional Titles 
 Sophomore Taylor Houchin was named the Regional Champion on bars with a 9.975, and the Regional Co-Champion on vault with a 9.95. Houchin claimed the bars title and shared the vault title, the first time a Husker has clinched two individual titles at a regional since Emily Wong completed the feat in 2014. Nebraska’s 197.525 is the highest team score for Nebraska since March 13, 2013 at the Big Ten Championships. Nebraska did not qualify for the NCAA National Semifinals in 2013.

Nebraska Finishes Second at Big Ten Championships
Nebraska women’s gymnastics finished in second place at the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill., earning a final team score of 196.950. Michigan finished first at the Big Ten Championships with a score of 197.200.

Through Session I, Nebraska was the team to beat in Session II, where six teams battled to top the Cornhuskers. Only Michigan could best Nebraska, winning the Big Ten Championship title, but the Huskers claimed or shared four of the five individual titles on the day. Michigan won the Big Ten Championships with a score of 197.200, while Nebraska earned the runner-up spot with a score of 196.950. Illinois finished third with a 196.625, and Iowa finished fourth with a score of 196.400. Ohio State finished fifth (196.375), Minnesota finished sixth (196.225), Penn State finished seventh (195.500), Maryland finished eighth (195.250), Rutgers finished ninth (194.400) and Michigan State rounded out the Championships in tenth (194.400).

Schweihofer Wins B1G All-Around, Huskers Claim Four Individual Titles 
Megan Schweihofer won the Big Ten all-around title outright with a career-best score of 39.525. Schweihofer also shared the Big Ten floor title with Briannah Tsang of Penn State with a score of 9.95. Grace Williams shared the Big Ten balance beam title with Bridget Hodan of Illinois and Lauren Marinez of Michigan with a score of 9.90. Taylor Houchin shared the Big Ten vault title with Jamie Stone of Ohio State with a score of 9.90.

Four Huskers Named to Big Ten All-Championships Team
Four Nebraska gymnasts were named to the Big Ten All-Championships team, the most from any university. Grace Williams, Sienna Crouse, Taylor Houchin and Megan Schweihofer add the honor to their decorated Husker careers for their performances at the Big Ten Championships on March 24. 

Five Gymnasts Named All-Big Ten 
Five Nebraska women's gymnasts were named All-Big Ten, announced by the conference on Monday, March 19. Seniors Abbie Epperson and Grace Williams, juniors Sienna Crouse and Megan Schweihofer were named first team All-Big Ten, while sophomore Taylor Houchin was named second-team All-Big Ten for the 2018 season. 

Nine Gymnasts Earn Academic All-Big Ten Honors 
Nine Nebraska women's gymnasts earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, the list of honorees is headlined by senior Danielle Breen, a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-American and now a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Breen is joined by fellow seniors Abbie Epperson, a two-time selection, and Grace Williams, a three-time honoree. Juniors Sienna Crouse, Kelli Chung and Megan Schweihofer each earned Academic All-Big Ten for the second time in their Husker careers. Redshirt sophmore Catelyn Orel was named to the academic team, alongside sophomores Sierra Hassel and Taylor Houchin for their first career selections. 

Breen Sets Standard for Student-Athletes
Danielle Breen was awarded the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the National Championships, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the highest level of competition in her respective sport. Breen is the first women's gymnast from Nebraska to earn the award. Nebraska Athletics honored Danielle Breen as the Student-Athlete of the Year, and her photo and accomplishments can be seen in the West Stadium Lobby for the next year. Breen's outstanding academic excellence combined with her successful gymnastics career qualified her for the honor. Additionally, Breen was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor, the Nebraska Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award, and the Heart and Soul Award

Huskers Honored at "A Night at the Lied"
Nebraska Athletics honored Danielle Breen as the Student-Athlete of the Year, and her photo and accomplishments can be seen in the West Stadium Lobby for the next year. Breen's outstanding academic excellence combined with her successful gymnastics career qualified her for the honor. Additionally, Breen was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor, the Nebraska Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award, and the Heart and Soul Award. Also at Night of the Lied, Megan Schweihofer and Catelyn Orel were awarded the Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award, presented to student-athletes who take on a special interest in the community. 

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