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Jan. 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 16th-ranked Penn State women's gymnastics team opened the 2013 season with a second place finish in its tri-meet with Denver and Lindenwood on Saturday night on the University of Denver campus. The Nittany Lions finished with a team score of 193.725 while Denver's final score was 194.650. Lindenwood, who was competing in its first ever collegiate gymnastics meet, finished with a final team score of 184.150.
"We were really proud of our girls tonight," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "It wasn't the exact team result we wanted, but we had lots of bright spots. When you have half a team that is comprised of freshmen, sometimes the jitters will get to them in their first meet. I think we all learned a lot from our experiences though and I think we will have a very good team this year."
Senior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted the top all-around score in the entire meet, earning a mark of 39.300. Sophomore Lexi Carroll (Olney, Md.) also competed in the all-around, and earned the third best mark with a score of 38.525. Freshman Samantha Musto (Mays Landing, N.J.) made her collegiate debut and posted a 38.350 all-around score, good for fourth overall.
The Nittany Lions started the 2013 season on the uneven bars, as the team posted a cumulative total of 48.950. Musser and Musto led the way for the bars, as they both posted scored of 9.875. Junior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) and Carroll put up matching scores of 9.750 while senior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) finished at 9.700 and Witt posted 9.650 in her first career appearance on the bars. Through one event, the Nittany Lions were ahead of Denver (48.800) and Lindenwood (46.850).
Next up was the balance beam, where Musser led the way with a 9.725. Stauder finished with a 9.700 while freshman Alix Faden (Roslyn, N.Y.) made her first career appearance on the beam and posted a solid 9.650. Also making her first appearance on the beam was Carroll, who put up a score of 9.475. After two events, Denver took the lead at 97.725, while Penn State stood at 96.600 and Lindenwood accumulated 93.425.
Musser posted the top score for the Lions of 9.825 on the floor. Junior Lindsay Musgrove (League City, Texas) put up a 9.650 while Musto continued her debut with a 9.550. Carroll posted a 9.525 while Merriam rounded out Penn State's top five with a score 9.475 on the floor. Through three events, Denver held 1.400 point advantage on the Nittany Lions.
Penn State's best score of the night came over on the vault. The Nittany Lions put up a mark of 49.100, led by Merriam's 9.900, which was an individual meet-high on the vault. Musser and Carroll each posted scores of 9.875 while Musgrove, Witt and Musto finished at 9.725.
"Our girls got off to a great start on the bars tonight," said Thompson. We struggled on beam and had some mistakes on floor, but it was a good experience for them all to get out there. We went to vault and absolutely destroyed that, posting our top score of the night."
Penn State next travels to UIC on Jan. 12.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team is on Twitter. Follow @PennStateWGYM for the inside scoop. You can also find updates on the Nittany Lion gymnasts at GoPSUsports.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pennstatewomensgymnastics.