No. 9 Women's Gymnastics Defeats Minnesota
Jan. 28, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The ninth-ranked Penn State women's gymnastics team hit all 24 routines to clinch a 195.475-195.150 victory at Minnesota. The Nittany Lions trailed in the first two rotations, but rallied in the third and fourth to secure the win.
"Although the score does not reflect it, this was our best meet of the season," said associate head coach Rachelle Thompson. "It came down to the final rotation with us on beam. We rocked it. The girls refused to be held down and we walked away with the win. The team has so much spirit and so much fight and tonight they rallied. They proved they understand what, `We Are! Penn State!' means."
The Nittany Lions had five all-around competitors with junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) bringing home her fourth all-around title of the season with a 39.275. Senior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) placed second with a 39.125 and junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.), who hit all four of her routines and was named the team MVP, took third with a 39.075. Sophomore Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) posted a 38.900 for fifth and freshman Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) earned a 38.850 for sixth.
Penn State opened the meet on the uneven bars where Merriam and Bencsko were Penn State's top two finishers placing third and fourth, respectively. Merriam posted a 9.775, while Bencsko scored a 9.725. Senior Alexandra Stine (Philipsburg, Pa.) tied for fifth with a 9.700 and Musser tied for eighth with a 9.675. Stauder and Welsh both scored a 9.650 to share tenth place.
After the first rotation, the Lions had a team score of 48.525, while the Gophers, who started the meet on vault, led with a 48.875.
The Nittany Lions moved on to vault where the team earned a 49.000. Despite the Gophers only scoring a 48.675 on bars, Penn State continued to trail in the meet, 97.500-97.525. Musser earned her first individual event title of the meet with a 9.875. Merriam tied for second place with a 9.825. Bencsko and Welsh shared fourth with a 9.775, which tied Welsh's career-high. Freshman Lexi Carroll (Olney, Md.) broke into the vault lineup for the first time in her career and placed eighth with a 9.750.
Musser again led the Lions, this time on floor exercise where she scored a 9.825 for the crown. Stauder was Penn State's next top performer on the event with a 9.775 for fourth. Bencsko also posted a 9.775 for fourth, while senior Daryl Konsevick (Rutherford, N.J.) scored a 9.750 for seventh. Welsh and Merriam were Penn State's other two competitors on the event and both earned a 9.675.
Altogether the team scored a 48.800 on floor to push ahead of Minnesota with a team score of 146.325. Minnesota, who competed on beam in the third rotation, posted a 48.725 to end up trailing the Lions with a team score of 146.275.
Penn State closed out the meet on beam where the team had to hit every routine to maintain the lead for the triumph. The team did just that posting a 49.150, while Minnesota scored a 48.875 on floor.
Musser captured her third title of the evening with a 9.900. Bencsko took second with a 9.850 and Stauder, Merriam and Konsevick tied for fourth each scoring a 9.800. Welsh also competed on floor and posted a 9.750 for eighth.
Penn State remains on the road with a trip to Iowa on Feb. 3. Meet action is set for 8 p.m. ET.