The Nebraska women's gymnastics team wrapped up its 2017 season with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships with a score of 197.2125 the weekend of April 14-15 at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo, finishing the season with a 29-10 record.
The Cornhuskers posted their highest national finish since finishing sixth in 2014, and NU's team score was its second-highest in the program's 25 NCAA Semifinal appearances, just behind a score of 197.325 in 2003. Nebraska's 29 victories this season were its most since posting 32 wins in 2003.
Nebraska won its second Big Ten regular season championship in 2017, and its 25th overall conference championship after going 8-1 against Big Ten competition in 2017. The Huskers finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships with a score of 196.475, and posted a second-place finish at the NCAA Lincoln Regional with a score of 196.625 to advance to the NCAA Championships.
The Huskers received a total of four All-America honors in 2017. Senior Ashley Lambert added two more All-America honors to give her three for her career, earning second-team honors on vault and floor in 2017. Sienna Crouse and Danielle Breen both earned All-America accolades for the first time, as Crouse notched first-team honors on vault, while Breen garnered second-team recognition on beam.
Taylor Houchin became the second NU gymnast to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, joining Jessie DeZiel, who earned the honor in 2012. Houchin, Lambert and senior Jennie Laeng earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2017, while Breen, Crouse and Megan Schweihofer received second-team honors. Laeng, Crouse and Houchin each earned Big Ten All-Championships Team honors, as Laeng finished tied for second on bars, while Crouse and Houchin tied for third on vault at the conference meet.
The 2017 Huskers left their mark on the program's record books, led by Houchin's Nebraska freshman-record all-around score of 39.650 at the Masters Classic. Houchin also tied a Nebraska freshman record with a 9.95 on floor twice in 2017, both at the GymQuarters Invitational and the Masters Classic. Danielle Breen's 9.95 on beam at the NCAA Lincoln Regional tied the program record in NCAA postseason competition.
NU again shined in the classroom, as nine Huskers were named Academic All-Big Ten, while 13 Nebraska gymnasts were named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for the fall semester. The Huskers were also honored for their work in the community, capturing the prestigious Women's Life Skills Award of Excellence at NU's student-athlete awards ceremony, A Night at the Lied. All 15 Huskers were named to the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team in 2017.
Last Time Out: Huskers Finish Seventh at NCAA Championships
Nebraska finished fourth in the second semifinal session at the NCAA Championships with a season-high score of 197.2125, just missing a spot in the Super Six by 0.3875 to Alabama, which finished third with a score of 197.6000 on April 14 at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo. LSU won the session with a score of 198.2750, while Florida finished second with a score of 197.8125. NU's score was good for seventh at the NCAA Championships.
Huskers Earn Four All-America Honors in 2017
Sienna Crouse earned first-team All-America honors on vault, while Ashley Lambert notched a pair of second-team accolades and Danielle Breen picked up second-team honors on beam at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Crouse earned her first-career All-America honors, as she finished fourth on vault in the second semifinal with a career-high 9.9125. Lambert earned second-team honors on vault after tying for fifth with a score of 9.90, while garnering second-team honors on floor after tying for eighth with a score of 9.9125 to end her Husker career with three All-America honors. One meet after posting a career-high 9.95 on beam, Breen earned second-team honors on the event after tying for sixth with a score of 9.90.
Huskers Earn NCAA Championships Spot with Strong Final Rotation
Nebraska earned a spot in the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the NCAA Lincoln Regional with a score of 196.625. LSU won the regional with a score of 197.450. Leading third-place Boise State by just 0.125 heading into the final rotation, NU sealed the second-place finish with a strong 49.250 on beam, led by Danielle Breen's career-high 9.95.
Breen Wins NCAA Regional Beam Title
Danielle Breen won her third beam title of the year, as she took the top spot at the NCAA Lincoln Regional with a career-high 9.95 in Nebraska's final routine of the night to clinch NU's second-place finish and a spot in the NCAA Championships. The Huskers had a fall in their fourth routine, but Grace Williams posted a 9.90 and Breen anchored the lineup with her 9.95. Breen's score tied a Nebraska postseason record on the event.
Houchin Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Taylor Houchin was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, voted on by the conference's coaches and announced following the Big Ten Championships on March 18. The Republic, Mo., native emerged as one of Nebraska's top all-arounders in her first season as a Husker, as she set a Nebraska freshman record with a 39.650 in the all-around at the Masters Classic on Feb. 25. Houchin hit a score of 9.95 on floor twice, which tied a program freshman record on the event. She became the second Husker to win the award since NU joined the Big Ten before the 2012 season, following Jessie DeZiel in 2012.
Crouse, Houchin and Laeng Named to All-Championships Team
Three Huskers were named to the Big Ten All-Championships Team as top-three finishers on individual events at the conference meet. Senior Jennie Laeng was named to the team on uneven bars for the third-consecutive season, as she tied for second with a score of 9.90. Crouse and Houchin both tied for third on vault, as the pair scored 9.875s.
NU Clinches a Share of the Big Ten Regular Season Title
The Cornhuskers clinched their first Big Ten regular season championship since the 2014 season, sharing the title with Michigan as the two teams posted 8-1 records in conference action in the regular season. 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 March 13. 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.
Huskers Honored at “A Night at the Lied”
The Nebraska women's gymnastics team received numerous awards at NU's student-athlete awards ceremony, A Night at the Lied on April 9 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The Huskers captured the prestigious Women's Life Skills Awards of Excellence for their exceptional commitment to NU's award-winning Life Skills program, the first time receiving the award since it began in 2004. Jennie Laeng was honored as one of five Outstanding Scholar Award winners, which is presented to Husker student-athletes in their final season of eligibility or who are graduating next month while carrying a 3.90 or better GPA. She also earned Nebraska Life Skills' most prestigious individual award, the Heart & Soul Award. Danielle Breen and Megan Kuo were honored with a Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award, named in honor of late former Husker punter Sam Foltz and presented to 27 student-athletes across all Nebraska's sports that exhibit strong leadership qualities, commitment to service and ability to encourage/empower peers.