No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten) at Big Ten Championships
Saturday, March 18, 4 p.m. (CT) – Piscataway, N.J. (Rutgers Athletic Center)
Huskers Set for Big Ten Championships on Saturday
The Big Ten regular-season co-champion Nebraska women’s gymnastics team has its sights set on the Big Ten Championships, which are being held this Saturday at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J. The Cornhuskers are set to compete in the evening session, which begins at 4 p.m. (CT), and the meet will be televised on BTN and streamed on BTN2Go with Bernie Guenther and Sharaya Musser on the call.
Nebraska (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten) will be joined in the evening session by No. 9 Michigan, No. 16 Iowa, No. 20 Illinois, No. 24 Ohio State and Penn State, while Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota and Rutgers will compete in the earlier session, which begins at 11 a.m. (CT).
NU enters Saturday following a first-place finish at the B1G Five meet in Champaign, Ill., with a score of 196.650 against Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State and Maryland. Jennie Laeng set a career high with a 39.400 to win the all-around title, while Grace Williams tied her career high with a clutch 9.95 on beam in NU’s final event to help Nebraska clinch the meet and a first-place finish in the conference’s regular-season standings. Ashley Lambert and Sienna Crouse shared the vault title with scores of 9.85 on the event. Laeng was named Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week on Monday for her performance at the meet.
The Big Ten also announced its all-conference teams on Monday, with Laeng, Lambert and Taylor Houchin picking up first-team honors, while Crouse, Danielle Breen and Megan Schweihofer were named second-team All-Big Ten.
The Huskers come into the meet with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.640. In the latest Road to Nationals rankings released Monday, the Huskers rank in the top-10 on bars and floor, coming in at ninth on bars with an RQS of 49.295 and 10th on floor with a score of 49.300.
Nebraska will begin the meet on beam, before rotating to a bye, followed by floor, vault, a bye and bars. Live scores will be available at ScarletKnights.com.
Last Time Out
Nebraska clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title following a first-place finish with a score of 196.650 at the B1G Five meet last Saturday at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. Jennie Laeng led the way for the Big Red, as she won the all-around title with a career-high score of 39.400. Grace Williams posted Nebraska’s highest beam score of the year with a career-high-tying 9.95 on the way to the event title, while Ashley Lambert and Sienna Crouse shared the vault title with scores of 9.85.
NU Clinches a Share of the Big Ten Regular Season Title
The Cornhuskers (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten) clinched their first Big Ten regular season championship since the 2014 season, sharing the title with Michigan (12-3, 8-1 Big Ten). The regular season championship is the second for NU since joining the conference before the 2012 season.
All-Big Ten Honors Awarded to Six Huskers
Nebraska gymnasts Taylor Houchin, Jennie Laeng and Ashley Lambert were named first-team All-Big Ten, while Danielle Breen, Sienna Crouse and Megan Schweihofer earned second-team honors, as the Big Ten announced its all-conference teams on Monday. The All-Big Ten teams were determined using Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS) from RoadToNationals.com. The top 15 individuals are taken from each event and the all-around, and the highest score is assigned 15 points, with the next-highest score assigned 14 points and on down the line to one point for the 15th-highest score. The 2017 All-Big Ten teams include 16 members on the first team, and 18 members on the second team due to ties.
Laeng Named Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week
Senior Jennie Laeng earned the second Gymnast of the Week award of her career after a top performance at the B1G Five meet last Saturday. Laeng paved the way for the Huskers to earn a first-place finish with a career high 39.400 in the all-around, as well as a pair of runner-up finishes on floor and beam. The honor was the second of Laeng’s career, as she also won the award on Jan. 11, 2016. She is NU’s second Big Ten Gymnast of the Week this season, as Taylor Houchin earned the honor on Feb. 27.
Scouting Session II
No. 20 Illinois enters the meet with a record of 17-5-1 and 6-3 in Big Ten action following a second-place finish at the Champaign B1G Five meet with a score of 196.450 last Saturday. The Fighting Illini have an RQS of 196.245 on the season. Illinois is led by sophomore Lizzy LeDuc, who was named first-team All-Big Ten and leads the team with an RQS of 39.120 in the all-around. Senior Mary Jane Horth also received first-team All-Big Ten honors, while junior Bridget Hodan and sophomore Brielle Nguyen received second-team honors. The Illini are coached by Kim Landrus, who is in her sixth season as head coach.
No. 16 Iowa is 15-6 on the season and 7-2 in Big Ten competition after a second-place finish at the Iowa City B1G Five meet with a score of 196.400 last Saturday. The Hawkeyes have an RQS of 196.400 on the season. Senior Mollie Drenth was named first-team All-Big Ten and leads the Hawkeyes with an RQS of 39.245 in the all-around. Senior Angel Metcalf was also named first-team All-Big Ten, while freshman Clair Kaji, junior Lanie Snyder and junior Melissa Zurawski were named second-team All-Big Ten. Larissa Libby is in her 13th season as the head coach of the program.
No. 9 Michigan is 12-3 on the season and 8-1 in Big Ten competition, as the Wolverines won the Iowa City B1G Five meet with a score of 197.150 to clinch a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship on Saturday. Michigan has an RQS of 196.880, which leads the Big Ten. Senior Nicole Artz, a first-team All-Big Ten performer, leads the conference with an RQS of 39.310 in the all-around. Senior Talia Chiarelli, sophomore Olivia Karas, sophomore Emma McLean and junior Paige Zaziski were also named first-team All-Big Ten, while junior Lauren Marinez was named second-team All-Big Ten. Michigan is led by 28th-year head coach Bev Plocki.
No. 24 Ohio State comes into Saturday with a record of 9-6 on the season and 5-4 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes finished third at the Champaign B1G Five meet with a score of 195.350. OSU has an RQS of 195.815 on the season. Junior Alexis Mattern, a first-team All-Big Ten performer, leads the Buckeyes with a RQS of 39.300, which ranks 22nd in the nation. Sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland was named second-team All-Big Ten. Carey Fagan is in her 13th season at the helm of the Buckeyes.
Penn State enters the meet with a record of 11-8 and 4-5 in Big Ten competition following a third-place finish at the Iowa City B1G Five meet with a score of 195.450 last Saturday. The Nittany Lions have an RQS of 195.460, which ranks 32nd in the nation. Junior Briannah Tsang was named first-team All-Big Ten and leads PSU with an RQS of 39.220 in the all-around. Sophomore Sabrina Garcia was also named first-team All-Big Ten, while senior Nicole Medvitz and freshman Kristen Politz earned second-team honors. The Nittany Lions are led by interim co-head coaches Josh Nilson and Kera Molinaro.
Last Year at the Big Ten Championships
The Big Ten Championships were held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center last year, as the Huskers took second with a score of 196.900. NU was led by Hollie Blanske, Danielle Breen, Grace Williams, Sienna Crouse and Jennie Laeng, who each earned spots on the all-championships team, as Blanske won vault with a 9.975 and Williams shared the beam title with a 9.925. Michigan took first place with a score of 197.125. Nebraska competed in Piscataway, N.J., earlier this season, where NU took first place at a quad meet with a score of 196.050 against Rutgers, Brown and West Chester on Jan. 21.
NCAA Regional Tickets Now Available
Tickets for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Lincoln Regional on Saturday, April 1 are available at the Nebraska Athletics Ticketing and Engagement Office. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tickets are $9 for reserved (B Level) seats, $7 for adult general admission (C Level) seats and $5 for general admission (C Level) seats for youth (high school and younger) and seniors (age 60+). The first 100 University of Nebraska-Lincoln students with a valid N-Card will get in free, after which students can be admitted for $5. Children under the age of 2 (23 months and younger) will get in free.
The Huskers will host one of six NCAA Regionals at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m. The meet will be streamed live at Huskers.com. NCAA regional competition consists of 36 teams determined based on their regional qualifying score and seeded by the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Committee. Included in the field are also 24 all-around competitors and 48 individual event specialists that are not on a qualifying team. Each regional will consist of six teams, four all-around competitors (not on a qualifying team), and two individual specialists per event (not on a qualifying team). The selection show to determine each team’s regional site will be streamed live on NCAA.com on Monday, March 20 at 3 p.m. (CT). The top two teams from each regional, along with a total of 12 all-around competitors and event specialists, will advance to the NCAA Championships on April 14-15.