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March 2, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State women's gymnastics team came from behind in the fourth rotation to win a tri-meet with No. 23 Michigan and North Carolina. The Nittany Lions posted a 196.000, while the Wolverines scored a 195.900 and North Carolina earned a 195.750.
"What an exciting meet," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "I love the way our team fought until the very end. They had a different type of week of practice and we had them walk into the arena tonight planning to win. Although after uneven bars it looked like that may not happen, we did our best floor routines of the year to come from behind and win by one-tenth. I just wish I knew it was that close, it would've been a lot more exciting for me at the end."
Junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was honored as the Ann Carr Award winner as the most inspirational Penn State gymnast at the meet. She scored a season-high 39.650 in the all-around for the title.
Freshman Alex Witt (Odessa, Fla.) started the Nittany Lions off with a career-high 9.800 on the vault, where the Nittany Lions would put together their best team effort of the season. Junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) added a season-high 9.900, while Musser tied her season high with a 9.950. The team finished the vault with a season-high score of 49.275, leading all three teams. Michigan tallied a 49.100 on the uneven bars and North Carolina scored a 49.000 on the floor exercise.
The Nittany Lions were on the uneven bars next. Sophomore Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) and Musser each scored a 9.875 to lead the PSU team, while Merriam added a 9.850. Penn State's 48.425 on the event wasn't enough to keep the Nittany Lions ahead of the pack as Michigan posted a 49.050 on the balance beam to take the lead with a team score of 98.150. North Carolina earned a 48.800 on the vault, which put the Tar Heels in second after the second rotation. Penn State sat in third with a 97.700.
The balance beam was up next for the Nittany Lions, and Musser did not disappoint, anchoring the line-up with a 9.900. Seniors Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and Daryl Konsevick (Rutherford, N.J.) each added a 9.825 on the beam, helping Penn State to a team score of 48.950. The balance beam score gave Penn State a 146.650 for the meet, putting them in third. Michigan continued to lead with a team score of 146.925 after posting a 48.775 on the floor. North Carolina maintained a slight edge on the Nittany Lions with a 146.725 after a 48.925 on bars.
A stellar effort on the floor exercise ultimately won the meet for the Nittany Lions, who posted a season-high 49.350. Musser led the Lions with a season-high 9.925, while Merriam tied her season-best 9.900. Bencsko scored a 9.875 and Konsevick posted a 9.850. Sophomore Lindsay Musgrove (League City, Texas) rounded out Penn State's top performers with a 9.800. Michigan moved into second place with a 48.975 on vault, while North Carolina earned a 49.025 on beam to secure their third place finish. The victory over the Wolverines brings the Nittany Lions' record vs. UM to 7-22 all-time. The Nittany Lions remain a perfect 7-0 vs. the Tar Heels.
Penn State travels to Pittsburgh for its next meet on March 11 at 6 p.m.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team is on Twitter. Follow @PSUGym 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.