Freshman Jessie DeZiel captured three All-America honors in her first season at NU.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

New Conference, Same Excellence for NU in 2012

By NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska women's gymnastics team didn't hold back in their first season of Big Ten competition, capturing the conference championship and taking second at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional en route to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Duluth, Ga. Jessie DeZiel, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong garnered eight total All-America honors at the Championships while also qualifying for individual event finals. NU's appearance at the NCAA Championships was its 21st in program history, while the team's Big Ten championship marked the program's 22nd conference title since 1975.

Senior Lora Evenstad finished her decorated Husker career at the NCAA Championships in Duluth. The two-time All-American from Grand Forks, N.D., brought a high level of consistency to the 2012 Husker squad as she competed primarily on vault, bars and floor. Evenstad matched or set career highs on four events throughout the season: bars (9.925), beam (9.875), floor (9.925) and all-around (39.475). In addition, the senior brought home a total of 10 event titles throughout the season, including five on bars and four on floor.

Evenstad affirmed her position as one of the top competitors in the conference throughout the season, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors prior to the conference championships. At the Big Ten Championships, Evenstad brought home conference titles on bars (9.925) and floor (9.900) and earned All-Big Ten Championship accolades on the same pair of events. Evenstad was also a force in the classroom, earning academic All-Big Ten honors during her final year as a Husker.

Katelyn Busacker joined the Huskers in the fall of 2011 and added immediate depth to NU's bars and beam lineups. The native of Papillion, Neb., was a three-year letterwinner at Ball State before transferring to Nebraska. Busacker competed in five meets for NU during her senior season, posting a season-high 9.625 on bars against Iowa State and adding a 9.825 on beam against Oklahoma. Busacker also competed for the Big Red at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional and in the NCAA Semifinals.

Janelle Giblin continued to establish herself as one of Nebraska's most consistent and skilled threats in her junior season, capturing first-team All-America honors on vault and second-team accolades on bars in 2012. Giblin showcased her talent on both apparatuses throughout the season, picking up a total of five vault titles and nine bars titles as well as one all-around. The junior captured or matched career highs on all four events as well as in the all-around. One of Giblin's strongest competitions came against Iowa State on March 16, when she posted career highs on vault (9.950), bars (9.950) and floor (9.875) en route to a career-best all-around score of 39.525. Giblin's efforts paid off at the end of the season, as she picked up first-team All-Big Ten honors as well as a spot on the All-Big Ten Championship team on bars. Giblin rounded out her excellent season with a pair of All-America honors at the NCAA Championships as well as a sixth-place finish on vault (9.7625) at the NCAA Individual Event Finals.

Brittany Skinner brought big skills and dependability to the 2012 Husker lineup, competing in all but one meet for the Big Red and seeing action in all-around competition eight times. Skinner set or matched career highs on three events during the season (vault, 9.925; bars, 9.825; beam, 9.875), as well as in the all-around (39.350). Skinner wrapped up her junior season by competing at the NCAA Championships for the third time during her career at Nebraska.

Junior Kassandra Nathe was unable to compete in 2012 due to injury.

Sophomore Deanna Barmore contributed extra depth to the NU vault lineup in 2012, appearing in three meets at the early in the season. Barmore's mark of 9.875 on vault was her best during the season and was also a career best.

Jamie Schleppenbach continued her work as one of Nebraska's top vaulters in 2012, while also competing in the all-around in every regular season meet for the Big Red. Schleppenbach brought home three individual vault titles in 2012 while also adding one beam and one all-around title. Perhaps her best performance of the year came against Utah on March 9, when Schleppenbach posted career-high marks on three events en route to winning the vault (9.950), beam (9.900) and all-around (39.575) titles on the day. Schleppenbach's performance helped boost the Huskers to a 197.600-197.450 upset win over the Utes in Salt Lake City and earned her Big Ten Gymnast-of-the-Week honors for March 12. Schleppenbach earned second-team All-Big Ten honors during the regular season and added a spot on the All-Big Ten Championship team on vault following the conference meet. Schleppenbach was also recognized as an academic All-Big Ten selection.

Emily Wong solidified her role as one of Nebraska's top all-around competitors in 2012, capturing first-team All-America honors on beam while adding second-team accolades on floor and in all-around competition. Wong competed in the all-around 12 times throughout the course of the season, picking up two individual all-around titles while adding five crowns on beam, three on floor and one apiece on bars and vault. One of Wong's finest performances of the year came at the Big Ten Championships, where the sophomore won beam (9.900) and floor (9.900), on her way to Nebraska's first Big Ten individual all-around title (39.600). Wong's efforts earned her a spot on the All-Big Ten Championship team on vault, beam, floor and in the all-around. Wong also picked up first-team All-Big Ten honors as well as academic All-Big Ten accolades from the conference. Wong wrapped up her season by capturing the beam title (9.875) at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional and finishing in 10th on beam (9.825) in the NCAA Individual Event Finals.

Freshman Jessie DeZiel had a stellar first season with the Huskers, winning a staggering 23 individual event titles, including seven all-around crowns. DeZiel earned first-team All-America honors on floor and all-around at the 2012 NCAA Championships while adding second-team accolades on vault. DeZiel was one of Nebraska's top performers on floor and vault, bringing home eight floor titles and an additional five vault titles throughout the season. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week nine times during the season and earned another two Big Ten Gymnast-of-the-Week awards. DeZiel was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year at the 2012 conference championships, adding to her first-team All-Big Ten selection and her All-Big Ten Championship team honors on floor and all-around. DeZiel's season-best marks on vault (9.950), floor (9.950) and in all-around (39.600) were also the top scores for the Huskers on the season. DeZiel finished her year by capturing the vault, floor and all-around titles at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional and finishing sixth nationally on floor (9.900).

Freshman Amanda Lauer joined the Huskers for the 2012 season and spent the year expanding her skills to make the transition to collegiate gymnastics.

Jennifer Lauer contributed on vault, beam and floor during her first season with the Huskers. Lauer competed for the Huskers at the NCAA Salt Lake City regional on vault (9.850), beam (9.800) and floor (9.725) for the Big Red. The freshman also took to the beam for the Huskers at the NCAA Semifinals, finishing with a score of 9.825.

Desiré Stephens saw limited action in 2012, giving the Huskers depth on vault. The freshman competed on vault against Minnesota, posting a score of 9.825.

Head Coach Dan Kendig led the Huskers to a 24-7 record on the season, bringing his career record through 19 seasons at Nebraska to 440-170-4. Kendig, the winningest coach in Nebraska women's gymnastics history, has coached 40 All-Americans to 121 first- or second-team honors.

2012 Season Highlights

National and Conference Prominence
-Nebraska finished with a 24-7 record and finished eighth at the NCAA Championships, marking the Huskers' 29th consecutive NCAA postseason appearance.
-Three Huskers garnered a total of eight All-America accolades: Jessie DeZiel (FX, V, AA), Emily Wong (BB, FX, AA) and Janelle Giblin (V, UB).
-A conference-leading four Huskers earned first-team All-Big Ten honors: Jessie DeZiel, Lora Evenstad, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong. Jamie Schleppenbach added a second-team All-Big Ten award for the Huskers.
-Following the Big Ten Championships, Nebraska had a conference-best five selections to the Big Ten All-Championship team for finishing in the top three of an individual event or in the all-around: Jessie DeZiel (FX, AA), Jamie Schleppenbach (V), Emily Wong (V, BB, FX, AA), Lora Evenstad (UB, FX) and Janelle Giblin (UB).
-Freshman Jessie DeZiel earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year honors following her outstanding performance at the conference championship.

Success in the Big Ten
-Jessie DeZiel was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week nine times during the 2012 season (Jan. 16, Jan. 23, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, Feb. 20, March 5, March 12, March 19). DeZiel captured an additional two Big Ten Gymnast-of-the-Week honors (Jan. 16, Feb. 20).
-Lora Evenstad (Jan. 23) and Jamie Schleppenbach (March 12) each picked up additional Big Ten Gymnast-of-the-Week honors in 2012.

Superior Staff
-Head Coach Dan Kendig finished his 19th season at Nebraska with a 440-170-4 mark, continuing his impressive career as the winningest coach in NU women's gymnastics history.
-Kendig earned Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honors after leading Nebraska to a conference title in the Huskers' first season of competition in the Big Ten.
-Kendig led the Husker bars squad with 15 titles on the season, paced by All-American Janelle Giblin's nine titles.
-Nebraska's floor team also tallied 15 individual titles, led by All-American Jessie DeZiel, who took home eight floor titles on the season. Teammate and fellow All-American Emily Wong added an additional three floor titles during 2012.
-On vault the Huskers totaled 14 titles on the year, highlighted by All-Americans Janelle Giblin and Jessie DeZiel.
-Nebraska captured nine individual titles on beam in 2011, led by five titles from All-American Emily Wong.

Academic Excellence
-Five Huskers were named to the academic All-Big Ten team during the spring: Deanna Barmore, Lora Evenstad, Janelle Giblin, Jamie Schleppenbach and Emily Wong.
-Five Nebraska gymnasts were honored for academic excellence by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women as Scholastic All-Americans: Kailyn Hawkins, Amanda Lauer, Jennifer Lauer, Kassandra Nathe and Emily Wong.


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