Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Only three meets into the 2017 season, junior Briannah Tsang is off to a phenomenal start for the Nittany Lions. Tsang led the Penn State women's gymnastics team to its fourth win of the season on Saturday evening, with an all-around score of 39.325, against Maryland.
"It felt good to win the all-around title," Tsang said. "I don't come in thinking, 'Am I going to win the all-around today?'. I come in saying, 'I need to hit for my team,' so the title is just a bonus."
Tsang captured the title after owning the team's top score on vault (9.825) and balance beam (9.825). She also placed second overall on uneven parallel bars (9.950) and eighth on floor exercise (9.775). It was a close performance between Penn State and Maryland on the floor exercise, with the top three gymnasts all earning a score of 9.825, but Tsang's performance anchored Penn State's victory.
"Briannah Tsang came out and nailed a good routine to get us the victory," head coach Jeff Thompson said.
This was Tsang's seventh all-around title and second of the season, after winning her first in the season-opening Penn State quad meet against Bowling Green, BYU and Temple.
Nonetheless, it was not only Tsang's performance that led the Nittany Lions to a win.
Freshman Kristen Politz made a big impact throughout the meet. She finished second in the all-around with a score of 39.050. This was also her second all-around in her collegiate career. Politz placed fourth in the vault (9.750), uneven parallel bars (9.775) and balance beam (9.700). But in the final event of the evening, Politz showed a beautiful performance on floor exercise to secure first place with a score of 9.825.
"I was really proud of Kristen Politz, a freshman," coach Thompson said. "Last week, she jumped into the vault lineup and just did a layout. This week, she competed a full, did a great job and helped us out on vault."
With the great routines throughout the meet, Politz captured the Ann Carr award, given to the most inspirational Penn State gymnast at the meet.
"Winning that award felt amazing," Politz said. "I wasn't expecting it, but it was really an honor to get that award. I'm really proud of this team and the direction that we're heading in... [Finishing second] makes me feel amazing, too. It just builds my confidence going forward in the season and we're off to a really good start, so I'm really excited [for the year]."
Rec Hall held an electric crowd Saturday afternoon as it hosted the first double dual of the season for the men's and women's gymnastics teams, which created a supportive atmosphere throughout the meet.
"It's amazing to have both teams here," Politz said. "There's more support and fans, and it was so much fun. I can't wait for our second double dual. Even though it was a new experience, I'm really glad that I was able to compete."
Penn State finished with a season-high point total of 195.525.
"I was really proud of the girls," coach Thompson said. "We basically did everything that we wanted to do tonight. The goal was to go out there and hit all of our routines. We only had a couple of mistakes and we know that we can fix those because they do well on those events every day at practice. All in all, we started with great energy and ended with great energy in front of a great crowd with our men's [team], so I couldn't be more proud of our team and I'm looking forward to next week."