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Nittany Lions Pull Out the Win In Quad Meet

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By Sallie Sharer Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The women's gymnastics team came in first place with a score of 195.500 in their quad meet against Pittsburgh, Rutgers and the Iowa on Saturday night at Rec Hall.

8515277.jpegThe Lions narrowly beat out Iowa, who came in second with a score of 195.325.

Coming off of two injuries the week before, Penn State had a lot to prove and there was plenty of motivation for the Lions Saturday night.

Despite the two injuries that cost Penn State the win last weekend in its home opener, the team collaborated and was able to post the scores they have been training for.

"They trained hard all week, and they knew they were going to be without Maddy (Merriam) and Sam (Musto), and they knew had to step up and had to hit," head coach Jeff Thompson said.

In their first rotation, the Lions were on vault where they posted consistent and high scores for the team giving them an early lead. Uneven bars followed suit, and it was not until a shaky beam performance where the competition caught up.

Stepping in for senior and co-captain Madison Merriam on beam last weekend, sophomore Krystal Welsh gave another solid performance after training all week.

"She was our top freshman last year, and she is used to the pressure of competition week in and week out," Thompson said. "She is coming back from the injury and the stronger she gets the stronger she will do for us. She stayed on and that's the main thing."

Merriam was able to compete this week on vault and the uneven bars despite her foot injury last week.

When freshman Samantha Musto was injured during her floor routine last weekend in Rec Hall, the floor exercise event would be crucial to ensuring Penn State's win and changing this weeks outcome for the team.

"When it came to floor, we knew the meet was really close," Thompson said. "We had to match Iowa score for score, and having struggled on floor last week, the confidence this week is what carried them through. They did everything the best they could do, and it was fun to watch."

With five hits on floor, senior and co-captain Sharaya Musser was the last to compete in the event for the night.

It was also Musser's birthday.

With a hit, and a score of 9.850 on floor, Musser sealed the all-around title for the night with an overall score of 39.525.

In her last season as a Nittany Lion, Musser was pleased to have celebrated her birthday with a win for Penn State.

"This is the first time the competition has fallen on my birthday," Musser said, "and it was a nice present to pull out the win, and it was a lot of fun."

It was also a special night for junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles who competed in the all-around on Saturday night 39.100 earning her the prestigious Anne Carr Award.

Stepping up to fill in the holes in the lineup was an important theme for the team this week.

"We have been practicing that in the gym," Sanabria-Robles said. "We have a thing where we say you can either grab onto the rope or hold the rope and that's just keeping going, it doesn't matter if you fall, the team has your back and we're going to do our job."

The collaboration paid off for the Lions, and left the team still full of energy by meets end.

"This is going to give us a lot of momentum," coach Thompson said, "and even if we didn't win the meet, the fact that we hit all of our floor routines, they would have been just as excited win or lose."

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In the thirty years I have gone to Penn State for football games, this was my first Gymnastics event, but not my last. Great excitement, action, and an all around great time. WE ARE.....

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