Recently in Women's Gymnastics Category
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
Pa. -- With "heart" and "energy", the Penn State women's gymnastics team will take
on the Big Ten Championships this weekend. The Nittany Lions are hosting the
competition for the first time in seven years.
Each week, the
Lions choose one word for the "Word of the Week" to focus on before each meet.
This week, however, with it being a championship meet, the team decided to
focus on two words: heart and energy.
"The heart of our
team is just amazing. Our chemistry, helping one another every time we get up
[for an event]," junior Krystal Welsh said.
championship meet being at home for the Lions, there is sure to be a lot of
"Because it's in
our house, there is going to be a whole lot of energy and we're going to bring
a lot of energy too," senior Kassidy Stauder said. "It's championship season,
it's championship competition. So it's that much more exciting."
championship meet provides familiarity and the opportunity for a large cheering
section for the Nittany Lions.
"I'm just so
excited to hear our fans in the stands. Any time we go to Big Tens anywhere, we
only have a certain amount of people there. This will have family, friends, and
other athletes cheering us on," Welsh said.
"It makes it so much easier to compete in our own arena, too."
Nittany Lions will be competing in Session Two at 5 p.m. on Saturday with No. 8
Michigan, No. 9 Nebraska and No. 13 Illinois. The Lions defeated Illinois and
Michigan, but fell to Nebraska at home earlier in the season.
"Everyone is a
tough competitor because it depends on who shows up that night," Stauder said.
"But looking at the season, [the toughest competitor] would be Nebraska. We
lost to them at a home meet and we definitely want to protect our house against
Leading up to the
meet, the Nittany Lions will be doing different many things to prepare.
In practice, the
group worked on the "little details".
going to work on sticks. That's always our only downfall," Stauder said. "At
our last meet, we had an incredible meet, but we just left some tenths out
there on the floor with sticks."
The night before
the meet, the gymnasts and coaches come together for a team meeting. On the day
of the meet, the team has a "POP" meeting. "POP" means "Pride of the Process".
In this meeting, the gymnasts participate in mental routines and get themselves
in the competition mode.
Welsh and Stauder
found the three "keys" to being successful in the Big Ten Championships:
"We do our best when we are having fun. Our coaches
always say that our best is good enough," Stauder said. "We just need to go out there and have fun
and do our best."
what the team does in practice into the meets:
"It's important to transfer what we do in the White Building
to what we're going to do in Rec Hall, not letting the crowd or the judges sitting
watching let that affect us," Stauder said.
"Go out there and know that everything in the universe is
going to happen the way it's supposed to," Stauder said.
"We know we're going to hit. We know we are going to do well," Welsh said.
Watch the Lions compete to become the champions of the Big Ten in Rec Hall on
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's a rather unusual thing, a husband and wife
coaching, together. For Jeff and Rachelle Thompson, coaching together is a
normal activity, one that has occupied 15 of their 21 years of marriage.
The year was 1991. Jeff was in his second season as a full time coach at
the University of Wisconsin and Rachelle was a senior at Louisiana State University.
Wisconsin had just announced that they were dropping five varsity sports that
year, one of which was gymnastics.
"They made the announcement right before NCAA regionals and we had a gymnast
qualify," Jeff said. "So, I went to coach her at the tournament while the head
coach stayed home to fight the legal battle."
Rachelle, a three-time NCAA All-American was set to compete at the regional
tournament at Auburn University.
"We were in the bookstore at Toomer's Corner and we literally ran into each
other," Rachelle said.
"We knew each other, but we had never spoken to each other," Jeff added.
After the tournament, Jeff asked Rachelle to come and coach at one of
Wisconsin's summer camps and a year later they were married.
No, the dynamic duo didn't do back-handsprings down the aisle, as Jeff
isn't a gymnast. He is a rugby player turned gymnastics coach, a passion he
developed through his master's degree in biomechanics and through his childhood
involvement at the local YMCA.
"I have always been interested in the science behind gymnastics," Jeff
said. "I have always been passionate about the sport. My high school graduation
ring has a gymnast on the side of it and my high school didn't even have a
gymnastics team. It's weird, I know."
The pair began coaching together at Auburn University in 1999. At the start
of their tenure with the Tigers, Jeff was the head coach and Rachelle served as
a choreographer and volunteer coach. She was promoted to assistant coach in
2002 and associate head coach in 2006. In the duo's time with the Tigers they
produced four NCAA All-Americans, four All-SEC team members, three SEC gymnasts
of the year, nine NCAA Championship qualifiers and four NCAA regional event
"We have learned a lot about each other over the years," Rachelle said. "We
have learned to balance our working relationship and our marriage in a unique
way that makes it enjoyable."
If you have the opportunity to watch the Thompsons coach, you will see
Rachelle doing some of the motions of her girls' routines, while Jeff is relaxed,
watching from the sidelines.
"We don't normally fight with each other, but if we do its always about
gymnastics," Jeff said with a laugh.
"But, I am always right," Rachelle chimed in.
And like any smart husband, Jeff agreed.
The Thompsons traded in their orange and navy blue coaching jackets in 2010
in exchange for the Big Ten coaching position at Penn State.
"This was a huge turning point for us," Rachelle said. "We came here
wanting to win a national championship."
The Thompsons had an incredible freshman-coaching season in the Big Ten.
Their team placed second at the 2011 Big Ten Championships and was the No. 2
seed heading into the NCAA Regional Championships.
"I think we were blessed with two sons because every year we have 15
daughters," Jeff said.
The duo has its coaching methods down to a science, but the true success as
coaches is visible in the classroom. Winning an all-around championship is
always a resume-worthy accomplishment, but coupled with a strong academic
record, one is unstoppable. From their time at Auburn to their current position
at Penn State, there has never been a year where the two haven't had a handful
of Academic All-Americans.
"Coaching together has definitely influenced our parenting," Rachelle said.
"I want to coach the girls to our best ability, but I also want to prepare them
for their life after gymnastics. I can teach them how to flip in the air, but I
can also teach them how to do their laundry, manage their money and grocery
This year marks their fourth season with the Nittany Lions and so far, they
have only lost two meets and secured the first 20-win season is the program's
history. Penn State is ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 14 in the NCAA
"We measure our success over the past four years by looking at Kassidy
[Stauder] and Lindsay [Musgrove]," Rachelle said.
"I am proud of the gymnasts and people that have become," Jeff said.
"They are just amazing," Rachelle said.
It is obvious that the pair loves nothing more than to coach by each
other's side, a reality that is a primary ingredient in their coaching
philosophy. For 15 years the Thompsons have spent most of their days together,
in the same gym, with the same people, but they wouldn't have it any other way.
"I couldn't imagine a day without coaching with him," Rachelle said. "We
are best friends."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The postseason push for Penn State teams in March is on.
The first weekend of
the month kicked off in fine fashion with two teams tallying Big Ten championships
to go along with an individual being named the top performer at the Big Ten Men's
Swimming & Diving Championships.
In dramatic fashion, the Nittany Lion women's track & field team notched
its third conference crown at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday
afternoon. It all came down to the
4x400-meter relay with the Lions leading Michigan by just half a point heading
into the final event. The Lions stormed
to a victory in the relay to seal the title.
"The women were outstanding today," said Director of Track &
Field and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Michigan pressed us hard
throughout the weekend, but we kept our composure and competed great. This is a
championship win to remember."
Roughly 45 minutes after the women's track & field team was crowned champion,
the Lady Lion basketball team finished off a 77-62 triumph over Michigan to
clinch a share of its third-straight Big Ten regular season title. The Lady Lions join Ohio State and Iowa as
the only programs to win three or more consecutive Big Ten titles.
"It's the first time in program history that we have won three Big Ten
Championships in a row," head coach Coquese Washington said. "When this program
has such a storied legacy, to be able to do something that this program hasn't
done before, it's pretty hard. The program has accomplished so much and for
this class and team to do something that sets them apart, that's really cool."
In the pool, sophomore Shane Ryan capped off a strong outing for the Nittany
Lion men's swimming team by becoming the first Penn State men's swimmer to be
named Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday. Ryan broke the Big Ten record in the 100m
freestyle, topping a mark set by former Northwestern Wildcat and 2012 London
Olympics medalist Matt Grevers. Ryan is the
first Nittany Lion to win two individual gold medals at the Big Ten
Championships. His efforts powered the
men's team to fifth in the team standings.
The men's team's performance came one week after the Nittany Lion
women's swimming & diving team took third at the Big Ten Women's
With a standout weekend in the books, the Nittany Lions are full steam ahead in
postseason mode beginning on Friday when the Lady Lions kick off play as the
No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. Penn State will meet either Northwestern or
Ohio State at noon (BTN) on Friday. The
semifinals take place on Saturday, with the tournament final on Sunday in
Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
On Saturday, the three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State wrestling team
will begin its Big Ten title defense at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Head coach Cael Sanderson and the Nittany
Lions will look for their fourth-straight Big Ten title over the weekend. Additionally, seniors Ed Ruth and David
Taylor have an opportunity to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten
individual champions. Junior Matt Brown
is the third Nittany Lion in the lineup with a Big Ten individual title. The Big Ten finals will air live on BTN
Sunday at 2 p.m.
There are several marquee events on the horizon following the action this
weekend. The 2014 Big Ten Men's
Basketball Tournament is slated to begin on March 13 in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lion men's hoops team will finish
off its regular season this week with games at Northwestern and Minnesota. The Lions will learn their seed for the
tournament on Sunday.
The track and field squads will also be in action during the third weekend in
March. Penn State will travel to
Albaquerque for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15.
Head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lion football team will wrap up
winter conditioning this week in preparation for the start of spring practice
on March 17. The Nittany Lions will
practice 15 times before the Blue-White Game on April 12 (1:30 p.m.).
The fourth weekend of March will feature no fewer than six postseason events
for Penn State teams. The No. 1
wrestling team will begin its NCAA title defense on March 20 in Oklahoma City
at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
The finals will take place on March 22.
The ESPN family of networks will televise all six of the NCAA Wrestling
In Happy Valley, the women's gymnastics team plays host to the Big Ten Championships
in Rec Hall on March 22. Across campus,
the Bryce Jordan Center is slated to host the first and second rounds of the
NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
Games are slated for 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on March 23 and 7 p.m. on
Out of town, the first Big Ten Hockey Tournament will take place in Saint Paul,
Minn., beginning on March 20. The NCAA
Women's Swimming & Diving Championships begin on March 20 in Minneapolis,
as well. The Penn State fencing teams
also kick of NCAA Championships competition in Columbus on March 20.
The month will wrap up with a weekend featuring the NCAA Men's Swimming &
Diving Championships, which begin on March 27 in Austin, Texas. The Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships
begin on March 28 in Lincoln, Neb.
With two titles already in hand, it will be a busy month ahead for Penn State
teams competing in postseason competition.
Stay tuned for complete coverage of the postseason push on
Key Dates Ahead in March
March 7 - Noon (BTN) - Lady
Lions vs. Ohio State/Northwestern (Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals -
March 8 - 11 a.m./6 p.m. - Big Ten
Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 9 - 12/2 p.m. (BTN) - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 13-16 - Big Ten Men's
Basketball Tournament (Indianapolis)
March 14-15 - NCAA Indoor Track
& Field Championships (Albuquerque, N.M.)
March 17 - First Day of Spring
March 20-22 - NCAA Wrestling
Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.); NCAA Fencing Championships (Columbus,
Ohio); NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships (Minneapolis, Minn.);
Big Ten Men's Hockey Tournament (Saint Paul, Minn.)
March 22 - 12/5 p.m. - Big Ten
Women's Gymnastics Championships (University Park, Pa.)
March 23 - 12:30/3 p.m. - NCAA
Women's Basketball First Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 25 - 7 p.m. - NCAA Women's
Basketball Second Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 27-29 - NCAA Men's Swimming
& Diving Championships (Austin, Texas)
March 28-29 - Big Ten Men's
Gymnastics Championships (Lincoln, Neb.)
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State women's gymnastics team funneled
into the locker room before Friday's meet, they knew that they had to win. The
win wouldn't just signify a near-perfect home record, but it would be the icing
on top of the cake for the seniors. Emotions were running high as the Nittany
Lions made their way onto the mat; each teammate presented a little, handmade
gift to the seniors.
The team delivered
a solid, heartwarming performance in their win at Friday's quad meet. The
Nittany Lions won their last home meet of the season with a score of 196.600,
beating Western Michigan, Bridgeport, and Yale.
Across the board,
the Nittany Lions delivered a solid performance; a great close to the home
season for seniors Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder.
Penn State started
the quad meet on vault with a lineup much shorter than they are used to. After
suffering injuries at last week's meet, junior all-arounder Randi Lau did not
compete. With her absence, the Nittany Lions competed with five vaulters,
instead of the usual six. Musgrove and Stauder scored 9.850, with Emma Sibson,
Krystal Welsh, and Sidney Sanabria-Robles each scoring a 9.875, posting a total
event score of 49.325.
Head coach Jeff
Thompson was most impressed with his team's vault performance, the event that
housed the their highest score of the evening.
"With it being
senior night, I was a little worried that we weren't going to have a great
night," Thompson said. "We only had five girls compete on vault and they each
knew they had to hit. We got off to a great start."
The team followed
suit on bars with Stauder posting a 9.925 and junior Alex Witt posting a career
high 9.850 in her first meet after recovering from an injury. The team finished
their rotation on the uneven bars with a score of 49.225.
"What a great way
for Alex [Witt] to come back," Thompson said. "She put up the second highest
score on bars."
The Nittany Lions
put up a score of 49.075 on balance beam and 48.975 on floor, sweeping the top
three spots in the all-around.
"What a great way
to win on senior night," Thompson said. "The kids fell back on their training
and they did what they had to do to win."
Saying Goodbye to Musgrove and Stauder
and Coach Thompson each started their Penn State careers at the same time four
years ago. In a touching video tribute to the seniors prior to the awards
ceremony and in the post-match press conference, it was clear how much these
seniors mean to their coaching staff. It was hard to miss the tears welling up
in Coach Thompson's eyes as he reminisced on his seniors.
"It is always hard to say goodbye to seniors, but this class is different,"
Thompson said. "They are the first group who started and finished with us.
Those girls signed up for one thing and were stuck with us. We give them a lot
of credit and a lot of thanks because it would have been easy for them to
change their mind and go somewhere else."
Musgrove made her
transition to Penn State in 2010; she quickly adjusted to the rigorous schedule
of Big Ten gymnastics and relished at the opportunity to succeed academically.
The Texas native has not only been a major contributor on vault, balance beam and
floor for the Nittany Lions, but she has been recognized for equally impressive
performance in the classroom. Musgrove was awarded Academic All-Big Ten honors
and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Awards every season except her freshman year,
making the dean's list all but one semester.
"Being able to
represent such an amazing school and being apart of a team is a whole other
family away from home," Musgrove said. "It has been an amazing four years."
competed in the NCAA Regional Championships each year of her collegiate
gymnastics career. She reflected on her first time competing in Rec Hall and
how that experience has fueled her passion for the past four years.
"When you compete
in club gymnastics there is only one set of bleachers and you perform in front
of your family," Musgrove said. "Competing in Rec Hall is just so different
than that. There are fans in the stands, your classmates, and even little girls
who look up to you. Being able to do what I have been training for since I was
2 is just amazing."
graduate this semester with a degree in bio behavioral health, with the
intention of going to medical school. She hopes to use her degree to continue
her passion for sports; trading in her leotard for a lab coat and become a
sports medicine doctor.
"We have grown so
much over the past four years," Stauder said. "I am happy I go through this
experience with Lindsay [Musgrove]."
Stauder has made a
lasting impact competitively on the Penn State women's gymnastics team. She
encompasses the definition of consistency, striving to finish on the top of the
leaderboard in every event that she competes in.
"We have been
afforded such a great opportunity to be here," Stauder said. "From our
professors, teammates, coaches, nutritionists, and everyone who has helped make
this time the best for us, we have been given the opportunity to go so far."
As a Pennsylvania
girl born and bread, coming to Penn State has always been a dream of Stauder's.
In the course of her four years as a Nittany Lion she has constantly set the
bar higher for herself, beating her career bests on a regular basis. This
Friday's meet was no different: she set a new career high all-around score with
"I wasn't really
thinking about the all-around score going into the meet," Stauder said. "It's a
great feeling on senior night to go out with great scores and to improve week
Stauder is hoping
to beat her scores of last year's Big Ten performance where she finished third
in the all-around, took second on the balance beam, and tied for fifth on bars
and floor. She hopes that when she turns her tassel in May that she can improve
last year's scores as she has been doing all season. Stauder will graduate with
a degree in elementary education and with a personality perfectly suited for
"I think what I
will miss the most about those two is that they are unpredictable," Thompson
said. "Every day in the gym it is always something different. This is one of
the closest teams that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching. They genuinely
love each other."
Coach Thompson is
notorious for sharing a "word of the week" with his team. When asked if he had
one word to describe his seniors he didn't hesitate when he chose the word
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week in and week out the Penn State women's gymnastics
team strives to "compete how they practice." Head coach Jeff Thompson believes
that this is the key to winning big meets and scoring a lot of points. For
seniors Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder, being consistent comes naturally,
but it's the little details that prove to be the most difficult.
"Gymnastics is based on the tiny little details," Musgrove said.
"Nerves make you a little shaky or you might want to push harder to do better
in a meet, but that never works in your favor. That is why we try to compete
how we train every single day. We have been sticking all the time in practice,
so we just have to keep doing the same thing."
Over the past few weeks, the Nittany Lions have not only been
consistent, they have been putting up impressive scores. Coming off of a
196.150-197.225 loss to No.8 Nebraska on Feb.8, Penn State used the close match
as a measuring stick of comparison, realizing they can compete against the big
teams. The Feb. 15 match proved just that: Penn State beat No.15 Illinois
"That meet against Illinois really built our confidence," Musgrove said.
"We have been working on all of the little details in practice and we are
hoping to see the same thing happen this weekend."
The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall this Friday after winning a quad
meet at Rutgers last weekend, besting Rutgers, Temple and Ursinus with a first
place score of 195.825. Penn State will host a quad meet of its own Friday at 7
p.m., welcoming Yale, Western Michigan and Bridgeport to Happy Valley. This
Friday's quad meet will be senior night for Musgrove and Stauder, who will be
competing in Rec Hall for the last time before the Nittany Lions host the Big
Ten Championships on March 22.
To encourage the mantra of "competing how you practice," Coach Thompson
offers a "word of the week" for his Nittany Lions to use as inspiration in
practice and on the competition floor. For this week, the word is "navigate."
Penn State returned home last weekend with another "W," but was forced to
navigate around an injury suffered by junior all-arounder Randi Lau.
"This weekend is going to be a true test of how well we did navigate
with Randi being out," Musgrove said. "We have to replace her on every event,
so we have girls coming back from their injuries to compete this weekend."
Friday's quad meet is the first home meet in almost a month that is not
a double dual and Musgrove said that the team would miss having the men's
gymnastics team cheering them on.
"Quad meets are really exciting and full of energy," Musgrove said. "I
am looking forward to the whole meet over all. It is our last home meet before
the Big Tens. Right now, we are trying to get the best home scores we can get
so that we will be ranked at the best sport possible."
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- At age four, Penn State gymnast Sidney Sanabria-Robles
was hanging and swinging on anything and everything. Her parents decided to put
her in gymnastics because they thought it would be a good fit. And it was.
Eighteen years later,
Sanabria-Robles, is still dominating the vault, floor, uneven bars, and beam,
helping the Penn State women's gymnastics be the 20th-ranked team in
Last weekend, Sanabria-Robles
placed first in the all around against No. 14 Illinois with a score of 39.245.
She also received the Ann Carr Award, an honor given to the most inspirational female
gymnast at each home meet. This was the second time Sanabria-Robles has won
this award in her career.
"We work hard in
the gym all the time, so it's always nice to get recognized, especially when
you actually do what you do in practice in the meet, which is hard for me," Sanabria-Robles
The Caguas, Puerto
Rico, native is far from her family, but they still support her from miles
"I talk to them all of the time. They're always paying attention and making
sure I have everything I need. They are just there for me. In everything,"
In addition to her
family, Sanabria-Robles's motivation for gymnastics comes from within herself.
"It's important to do the sport for yourself," Sanabria-Robles said. "As long as you love what you're doing and
you have a goal in mind, which our goal is to make it to Nationals as a team,
you will be [motivated]."
Before each event,
Sanabria-Robles visualizes herself performing her routine perfectly. During the
routine, she said she takes it one skill at a time and stays focused and with
The key to a
successful performance for Sanabria-Robles begins with transferring what she
does in the gym to the meet. The next step is having confidence. Sanabria-Robles
said she felt very confident in her performance last weekend against Illinois.
Head coach Jeff
Thompson said in the beginning of Sanabria-Robles' Penn State career, her
confidence was not where it is today.
"Her gymnastics and
competition has gotten so much better because her confidence has grown,"
Thomspon said. "She takes it one skill at a time, one event at a time, and
doesn't allow herself to get overwhelmed."
there are many things the team does to ensure success during meets. First is
staying calm and trusting that the work the girls put in is going to transfer
itself in the competition. Another important aspect is staying positive. Sticking landings is also an important aspect
of the sport that if done correctly, will ensure success.
"From this point
forward, sticking is going to be a part of every assignment. There's no point
in rewarding them for doing something that doesn't end well," Thompson said "Every
step on a landing is a tenth of a point, so the more of those we can eliminate,
the higher we can score."
This week in
practice, Sanabria-Robles will be working on dismounts and taking her time
during routines before she competes this weekend.
As a team, the Nittany
Lions will be focusing on the "word of the week" this week in practice. This
week's word is "aspire."
"Aspire to get to
the next level, aspire to be one day better, which is our slogan for this year.
One day better," Sanabria-Robles said.
The "true team"
aspect of Penn State gymnastics is Sanabria-Robles's favorite part about being
on the team.
about each other and we go out there and give it our all and everyone is
rooting for everyone to do their best," Sanabria-Robles said.
The Nittany Lions
are preparing this week to travel to Rutgers, where they will participate in a
quad meet against Rutgers, Temple, and Ursinus. Sanabria-Robles said preparing
for a quad meet is the same as preparing for a meet against one team.
"We try to think of
every meet at the most important meet because we're not going to be thinking
about the meet five weeks from now," Sanabria-Robles said. "No matter who you're going against, you're
still going to give it your all no matter what."
Although the team
will be missing Penn State's THON this weekend because they will be competing,
they created a video to show during the "Pep Rally" that recognizes Penn State
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When women's gymnastics' head coach Jeff
Thompson walked into the press room after Saturday's meet he had one thing to
say, "I knew our girls could do this."
His smile lit up the room as he tried to communicate how proud he was of the
performance of his Nittany Lions.
Last weekend's meet
against Nebraska was a tough one to watch; seeing the women's gymnastics team
tie their season high score, but fall short of a victory because of "sticks."
The team's goal for this Saturday's meet was to "stick it," and they rose to
the occasion, besting No.15 Illinois 196.675-196.500.
The Nittany Lions
started out Saturday's double dual with their vault routines, posting a team
score of 49.000. Sidney Sanabria-Robles and Emma Sibson led Penn State's vault
program, posting scores of 9.875 and 9.850 respectively.
sticking as many vault landings today, but when we got done with our bar rotation
I knew we were on a roll," Thompson said. "The girls came to win today."
Kassidy Stauder led
Penn State's bar rotation with a score of 9.875, with both Krystal Welsh and Sanabria-Robles
posting 9.850 in their bar routines. The team posted a total bar score of
Stauder, Weslsh and Sanabria-Robles were the top performers in the all around. Sanabria-Robles
took home the gold with an all-around score of 39.425, her first of her
"They [Stauder, Welsh, Sanabria-Robles] gave impressive performances today,"
Thompson said. "This is a huge confidence booster for them."
Heading into the
floor and bar rotation, Illinois was in the lead, but the Nittany Lions quickly
answered. Illinois is arguably one of the best beam teams in the Big Ten, a
fact that coach Thompson was well aware of heading into the meet.
they would secure a lead with their beam routine," Thompson said. "We took
control in our house, and we showed them who owns Rec Hall."
The Nittany Lions
and the Fighting Illini ultimately tied on beam, each posting scores of 49.175.
The most impressive display of how tough the Big Ten gymnastics competition is was
during the Nittany Lions' floor routine. After tying Illinois on beam, winning
the floor rotation was a must in order to for the Nittany Lions to win. Welsh
posted a 9.900, along with Randi Lau, Lindsay Musgrove and Stauder each scoring
"We were so excited
to go out there and do what we do in practice," Welsh said. "We did that with
every routine today. I am so, so happy."
With all of the
excitement and impressive performances in this Saturday's meet, it was hard to
miss all of the pink in Rec Hall. This weekend's meet was dedicated to breast
cancer and the strength of those who are doing their best to "stick it" to the
"Wearing pink today
added another element to us wanting to win," Stauder said. "Those women are
fighters, they deserve to see our support and know that we are rooting for
For coach Thompson,
this meet proved two things about his team: that his team is competitive
against the elite teams in the conference and that the rest of this season will
be nothing short of exciting.
"Heading into the
rest of the season and the Big Ten Tournament, I can't wait to see what these
girls will do," Thompson said. "We just need to keep competing how we practice.
We have to keep taking charge. When you get a team down you have to keep
pounding them and keep them down. That is what it takes to be a national championship
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Thirteen years ago, a little girl walked into
her first gymnastics class in Victoria, British Columbia. The soft spoken,
always smiling Emma Sibson never expected to become completely obsessed with
When Sibson was eight, she realized that going through the motions in a
practice facility wasn't going to cut it for her; she wanted to compete. Her
family moved to Allen, Texas, where she joined the Dallas based World Olympic
Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) and began her competitive career.
Sibson was welcomed with open arms; even at such a young age she showed promise
to her coaches .The WOGA girls took a liking to a young Sibson
as soon as she walked through the door. The team operated on a big
sister/little sister support system, a system that Sibson says paired her with
one of the most "influential big sisters she could have asked for." Sibson got
to call none other than 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin "big sister."
got to train with Nastia (Liukin) and Carly Patterson," Sibson said. "I
remember during the Olympic games staying up super late to watch them on
television. It was crazy that I knew them and got to practice with them."
2004, Sibson transferred to Zenith Elite Gymnastics Academy in McKinney, Texas,
where she would become a level 10 gymnast by 2008. Sibson was competing all
across the state of Texas, gracing the podium at several local and regional
competitions. From the beginning of her competitive career, the vault has
always been her happy place.
me, vault is the most empowering event," Sibson said. "In every other event,
you get to stick a landing multiple times. On vault, you have one opportunity
to stick the landing and score points. That's what I love about it."
love for vault helped her continue to impress judges at her level 10
competitions. In 2010, Sibson finished first in vault and floor at the Level 10
Regionals in Texas, where she then qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals.
She won the Junior Olympic Vault title and qualified to the Visa Championships
and competed at the Elite Canada tournament in Quebec City, where she placed
eighth in the all-around, fifth on floor and third in vault. Sibson was named
to the British Columbia gymnastics team where she competed at the 2010 Canada
Winter Games in Nova Scotia. Her team walked away with a silver medal, and
Sibson returned to the States with a bronze medal in vault.
apart of that team was definitely a high point in my career," Sibson said. "It
was such a great experience."
dedication to the sport goes without saying. She attended high school at Spring
Creek Academy in Plano, Texas, a school designed for competitive athletes,
where they only went to class for two and a half hours in the afternoon, giving
them off in the morning to train.
After her performance in the Canada Winter Games, Sibson and her coaches had
their eyes on the Olympics. But, Sibson's Olympic dreams were cut short when
she broke her ankle during her senior year at Spring Creek Academy.
"I realized I wanted to go to the Olympic trials when I was competing for
Canada Elite," Sibson said. "Sometimes things just aren't meant to be."
Realizing that she would never be able to grace the Olympic podium, she made it
her goal to make the collegiate podium her new home; Sibson signed on to become
a Nittany Lion.
"Competing in college has always been a dream of mine," Sibson said. "Penn
State was the right place to make that happen."
This season, the freshman Nittany Lion has proven to be a vital component to
the women's gymnastics team. Sibson is Penn State's top performer in vault with
a high score of 9.950, along with contributing top performances on floor and
balance beam. Sibson says that she was able to relax her nerves this season
because of the seamless transition she experienced in coming to Penn State.
"My coaches made it so easy for me to go from club competition to competing in
the Big Ten," Sibson said. "It is so hard to leave home and I wouldn't have
been able to do it without them. Your performance is no longer just for
yourself, it's for your team."
Sibson has found her home in Happy Valley on the mat, but also with her
teammates. She is known to be a goofball, giving her team some laughs and
making the best out of every situation. Her light-hearted attitude became clear
when she asked her teammates to help her execute a prank on the men's hockey
"At Christmas, the guys kept working so hard on decorating their tree," Sibson
said. "I decided that I wanted to steal it from them when they were at
practice. So I got a few girls to help me. Their reaction to what happened was
totally worth it."
When she isn't thinking about ways to make people laugh, Sibson has her eyes
set on the Big Ten tournament and helping her team qualify for nationals.
"I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete for such a great school and
great team," Sibson said. "Being able to contribute and be on the mat as a
freshman is definitely one of the proudest moments for me so far in my career."
Her team's national goals were solidified last weekend in their performance
against No. 8 Nebraska. The girls were just tenths of a point behind the
Cornhuskers, which gave them the confidence they needed to keep pushing
themselves, day after day in practice.
"Last week opened our eyes to what we can do," Sibson said. "We can be a top team. I have no doubt about
Sibson and the Nittany Lions take on Illinois this Saturday in a double dual
with the men's gymnastics team at Rec Hall.
"I have grown up as competitor and as a person since coming to Penn State,"
Sibson said. "I am so excited to see what the rest of this season will bring."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday's contest at Rec Hall was unique with
both Penn State's men's and women's gymnastics teams competing together. As
both teams made their way out onto the mat, they engaged the crowd in the
infamous "WE ARE" cheer. The women took on the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the men
battled it out with the Temple Owls.
Men's Team is Victorious in Contest
The Nittany Lions
have been consistent across the board when it comes to putting up points. From
their season-opener at Army to this Saturday's contest against Temple, the
men's gymnastics team has achieved scores in the 420 to 430 range. This weekend
was no different; the Nittany Lions bested Temple 431.550 to 401.600.
Head coach Randy Jepson spoke to his team's resilience during the season thus
far, as many have had to step up to the plate due to teammates' injuries.
"We have been
pretty beat up and injured," said Jepson. "We had to call on guys who may not
normally compete in a certain event. They were tested and they stepped up to
the plate today."
Coach Jepson believes that part of his team's success is due to the
contributions of the unsung heroes.
"We are lucky to have
guys like Jeremy Munn and Tristan Duverglas," said Jepson. "They really stepped
Munn is a freshman
walk-on who was called on this Saturday to fill spots on the floor and vault.
He scored 14.500 points for the Nittany Lions on floor and 14.200 points on the
first on vault with 15.500 points, a performance that Jepson says, "you would
see in the finals of the World Championships."
Coach Jepson was
thoroughly impressed with the performance of sophomore Alexis Torres. Torres
won the floor event with a score of 15.300.
"He is very
talented," said Jepson of Torres's performance. "Today was the first time I saw
him compete the way he has trained. His scores can only go up from here."
And then there is Trevor Howard...
The sophomore has
been the most consistent performer for the Nittany Lions. Howard competes in
all but one event. He put up big numbers on parallel bars (15.150) and vault
(14.800) against Temple this Saturday.
"I love competing
in double duals," said Howard. "The girls are always extremely supportive and
its great to see all of the fans and my family come out."
When Howard stepped
out to compete in his high bar rotation, he was the only gymnast on the mat. In
what was a chaotic atmosphere for most of the double dual, Rec Hall was silent
as they watched Howard put up 14.550 points on the high bar.
"High bar was
definitely my best even today," said Howard. "I have been working really hard
on it in practice. To be able to come out today, stick the landing and give the
crowd a show was awesome."
But, being the last
to compete is a challenge that Howard welcomes with open arms, as he uses that
pressure as preparation for National Team tryouts.
"I try to build off
these types of settings and set higher goals for myself," said Howard. "Coach
Jepson has me go last to help me prepare for those pressure sets."
Rec Hall's competitive setting isn't just for teams, but for
women's gymnastics' Krystal Welsh was especially excited for Saturday's double
dual. She not only got compete in front of her parents, but she had the rare
opportunity of sharing the mat with her brother and Temple Owl, Jakob
"I was so excited
to see him compete," said Jakob Welsh. "He was the first person I looked for
when I walked on the mat. We both made all-around so that makes me really
finished second for Penn State, and fourth in the all-around and Jakob Welsh
finished first for Temple.
Season best score gives Nittany Lions hope, despite loss to
No. 23 Penn State's
women's gymnastics put up a fight against No. 8 Nebraska this Saturday in the
double dual. Despite season best score of 196.150, the Nittany Lions fell short
of the Cornhuskers' score of 197.225.
Head Coach Jeff
Thompson isn't going to let this tough loss hold his team back from
improvement. His coaching staff and team will look at the positives.
"We knew we had our
work cut out for us heading into today's meet," said Thompson. "We got off to a
great start of vault, but I think we got a little too excited."
The Nittany Lions
gave the Cornhuskers a run for their money on vault, especially with the
performance of freshman Emma Sibson. Sibson tied Nebraska's Jessie DeZiel with
a score of 9.950.
I was focused on staying relaxed," said Sibson. "I did my vault how I do it in
practice, which was a personal high for me, but there is always room for
Penn State was neck
and neck with Nebraska in vault, losing 49.400 to 49.150.
Stauder's focus and bringing practice performances to
Kassidy Stauder is
quickly becoming a household name in Big Ten gymnastics, as she owns her
performances in uneven parallel bars and beam. They key to her consistent
performances, she says, is her effort to perform her routines in competition
exactly how she does in practice. Stauder's numbers this weekend illustrate her
dedication to the notion, "practice makes perfect."
"Competing how we practice is becoming a team theme," said Stauder. "I warm up
the same way for a meet as I do in practice, which helps keep my performance
behind Nebraska's DeZiel and Emily Wong in the all-around with 39.350 points.
Coach Thompson is
looking forward to the rest of the season, especially after his team's
performance against Nebraska. With key meets in the Big Ten coming up, it is
imperative for the Nittany Lions to not lose sight of the positive strides made
in Saturday's dual.
"We lost events by
tenths of a point," said Thompson. "We can find those tenths of a point by
doing a few extra hand stands and sticking some more landings. We can only
build from the teams performance today."
teams will compete in another double dual next weekend at Rec Hall against
Illinois. The Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini will take the mat on
Saturday at 4 p.m.
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After a successful weekend at Ohio State, the 23rd-ranked
Penn State women's gymnastics team has found the keys to being successful.
Trust, starting and finishing well, being consistent, and taking what the team
does in practice and applying it to the meets.
Senior all around gymnast Kassidy Stauder and head coach Jeff Thompson know
what it takes to be victorious this weekend against No. 8 Nebraska in their
first home Big Ten meet of the season.
Each week, the Nittany Lions have a word of the week that they focus on. The
"Word of the Week" this week is trust. Trusting themselves. Trusting each
other. Trusting the coaches. Trusting the judges. Trusting their talent.
"[We are trusting ourselves to] go into the meet and [we are] trusting that
what we've down in the gym everyday is what we're capable of doing at the
meet," Stauder said. "[We are] trusting ourselves to just let it go and let it
all out there."
Starting and Finishing Well:
Previously, the team focused on a good start in the first event and a good
finish in the last event. Now the team is focusing on starting well in one
event and finishing well in that same event. This mindset helped the Lions
defeat Ohio State last weekend. The Lions will be kicking off the competition
on the vault this weekend against Nebraska.
"What I hope is that we get a great start on vault, but [also] we get off
to a great start on every event," Thompson said.
Last weekend, Stauder set a season-high mark on the floor with a 9.775.
Stauder said she and the team are working on their consistency, and are continuing
to put the whole meet together as a team. The Nittany Lions hit all 24
competitive routines last weekend and hope that they can be consistent and
continue this success against Nebraska.
Stauder said the team has done a great job of hitting their routines with
good handstands and dismounts and being aggressive in the meets. She said she
wants the team to continue this this weekend.
Thompson said the team is looking to build on the confidence that it gained
from the road win against Ohio State. The team is still competing for the Big
Ten regular season title. If the team continues to be consistent and
victorious, they have the chance to fulfill that dream.
"There were so many good things last weekend that we just want to continue
that feeling at home, with our crowd behind us. The atmosphere is going to be
really fun," Thompson said.
Performing How They Practice
"Go White." That's what the Nittany Lions chant from the side when their
teammates are performing. This means, "Go to White Building." The girls vision
themselves in the White Building, where they practice, to feel like they are
just at another practice, doing another routine, just like they do everyday.
This weekend is a double dual, in which both the women and men's team
compete at the same time. The women's and men's teams practice together, so
this weekend will be even more similar to practicing in the White Building. The
men's gymnastics team will be taking on Temple this weekend.
"We absolutely love double duals because we train with the guys everyday,
so it makes us feel even more like we're in White Building," Stauder said. "And
it brings a lot more energy and fun to the meet. I think the crowd really likes it too. They
enjoy being able to see both the women and the men compete."
The women's gymnastics team has won three consecutive meets and is looking
to continue the winning streak against Nebraska at home. Stauder said using the
equipment that the team is used to, having family and fans there, and not
having to deal with traveling gives the Nittany Lions an advantage.
The team will again host Nebraska in March during the Big Ten
"It's really cool because Big Ten [Championships] are going to be here, so
it's kind of like a trial run having the Big Ten schools here," Stauder said.