The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team was picked second in the 2017 Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released by the conference on Thursday.
“We’re excited to be seen as one of the top teams,” Nebraska head coach Dan Kendig said. “We know that we have work to do this season, and we’re up to the challenge. We’re going to work hard and try to be the top team this year.”
Defending Big Ten champion Michigan was ranked first in the poll, while defending Big Ten regular season champion Minnesota took third. Illinois placed fourth, while Iowa and Penn State tied for fifth.
In addition, senior Jennie Laeng and sophomore Sienna Crouse were named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list. Laeng was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season, while Crouse saw action as a three-event specialist in 2016 and looks to take the next step this year.
“Jennie’s really stepped up and wants to make sure she goes out on a great note in her final season,” Kendig said. “She’s worked hard, not only in her gymnastics, but also in her leadership.”
“Sienna is working hard on all four events,” Kendig said. “She finished last season on a really high note, and we’re expecting much of the same from her this year.”
NU, which will begin the season ranked 12th in the NACGC/W Preseason Coaches’ Poll, returns 10 gymnasts from last year’s team, which finished eighth at the NCAA Championships.
Nebraska’s 2017 schedule is highlighted by four home events, including the NCAA Lincoln Regional at the Devaney Center on April 1. The Huskers will also host Penn State on Jan. 15, Iowa on Feb. 5 and the annual Masters Classic on Feb. 25. NU’s road schedule features a meet with defending NCAA champion Oklahoma, as well as meets at Michigan and Minnesota.
The 2017 season opens on Sunday, Jan. 15, as the Huskers welcome Penn State to the Devaney Center. The meet is a part of the Tumble N Rumble, as the Nebraska wrestling team will host Michigan simultaneously at the Devaney Center, with both events scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
2017 Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll
T5. Penn State
7. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
2017 Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch
Jennie Laeng, Sr., Nebraska
Sienna Crouse, So., Nebraska
Lizzy LeDuc, So., Illinois
Karen Howell, Fr., Illinois
Mollie Drenth, Sr., Iowa
Angel Metcalf, Sr., Iowa
Sarah Faller, Sr., Maryland
Alecia Farina, Fr., Maryland
Talia Chiarelli, Sr., Michigan
Emma McLean, Soph., Michigan
Kira Frederick, Sr., Michigan State
Anna Gamelo, So., Michigan State
Ciara Gardner, Jr., Minnesota
Abby DeMuse, Jr., Minnesota
Kaitlyn Hofland, Jr., Ohio State
Olivia Aepli, Fr., Ohio State
Briannah Tsang, Jr., Penn State
Kiera Brown, Sr., Penn State
Elizabeth Groden, Jr., Rutgers
Chloe DeVries, Fr., Rutgers