Photo by Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Debut 2019 Team at Annual Intrasquad Meet

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln, Neb.-- The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team held its annual intrasquad meet at Mabel Lee Hall on Friday night in front of an estimated 250 fans. The Huskers competed on all four events in Olympic order.

Following the event, the gymnasts signed autographs for fans in attendance. No official individual or team scores were given.

“Tonight was a good opportunity to see where we need to work a little more in the gym,” Interim Head Coach Heather Brink said. “There were some really good things that we saw from some of the gymnasts. Having the crowd here kind of gives you that extra practice of adrenaline that we cannot mimic in practice. I think tonight gave the team a good opportunity to get that first one under their belt and move forward from here.”

Nebraska welcomes back three All-Americans this season. Three-time All-American Sienna Crouse will look to finish out her career strong during her senior season after earning first team honors on floor and second team honors on vault in 2018. Junior Taylor Houchin earned her first and second All-America honors last season, as she earned first team honors on vault and second team honors on balance beam. Rounding out the group of returning All-Americans is senior Megan Schweihofer, who earned second team honors on both floor and in the all around in 2018.

The Huskers are led by four seniors. Along with Crouse and Schweihofer, Catelyn Orel provides Nebraska and its senior class with a solid performer on the floor exercise and balance beam. Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient Kelli Chung will add depth on bars, balance beam and vault.

“We are a lot further along this season than we’ve been past, at least since I’ve been here,” Orel said. “That is super encouraging. I see the confidence that everyone has built over preseason. Today was a very solid start. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but we have time and that’s what the next couple of months are for.”

Nebraska will return two juniors, including Houchin. Sierra Hassel will be a major contributor for the Huskers this season. Hassel competed in every regular-season meet on beam and floor, and scored a personal best 9.875 on beam three times last season.

Nebraska will have four returning sophomores for the 2019 season. Kynsee Roby looks to build off her freshman year where she worked her way into an all-around role for the Huskers. She is joined by Makayla Curtis who will add depth to Nebraska’s lineup on floor, balance beam and vault. Megan Verceles Carr will look to break into the vault lineup, as she scored a season high 9.825 on the event last season. Anika Dujakovich, who competed in four meets last season for the Huskers will add depth of vault and floor.

Redshirt freshman Rachel Thompson looks to break into the beam lineup in her second season.

Five freshmen will look to help Nebraska back to the NCAA Championships, Adnerys De Jesus from Greenwich, Conn.; Sarah Hargrove from Hendersonville, N.C.; Abby Johnston from Parkland, Fla.; Kaylee Quinn from Rockaway, N.J.; and Megan Thompson from Gilbert, Ariz. 

“I’m so proud of our freshmen. They have been working so hard in the gym every single day,” Orel said. “I wasn’t surprised with how well they did tonight because that’s what they do every day and it is different with a crowd so it was cool to see how they were able to handle all the adrenaline.”

The 2019 schedule is highlighted by five home meets, including the annual Masters Classic. Nebraska will first compete at home on Jan. 12 against Washington in the Devaney Center at 7 p.m. (CT). The Huskers will also host Illinois (Jan. 26), Minnesota (Feb. 9), Southern Utah (March 2), and Boise State, Kentucky and Illinois State at the Masters Classic (March 16).

Nebraska will open its 2018 season on the road against the defending NCAA Champions, UCLA on Jan. 4.

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