No. 10 Women's Gymnastics Earns Second Place Finish at Big Ten Championship
March 19, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The 10th-ranked Penn State women's gymnastics team earned a second place finish at the 2011 Big Ten Championship hosted by Minnesota with a score of 196.375. Michigan took the conference crown for the fifth straight season with a 196.600. Illinois finished third with a 196.075, Minnesota placed fourth with a 195.325, Ohio State claimed fifth with a 194.900, Iowa took sixth with a 194.850 and Michigan State scored a 194.425 for seventh.
The all-around title remained in Nittany Lions hands with sophomore Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) with a 39.475 and sophomore Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md,) tied for second with a 39.275. Junior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) also competed in the all-around and scored a 38.475 for 14th place.
"We are so proud of all of our kids," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "It was an outstanding day with Sharaya tying for first on vault and Natalie taking the uneven bars crown. All in all we may not have won the Big Ten Championship, but we came away with a few Big Ten Champions. I just couldn't be more proud of the kids and how far they have come this season."
The Nittany Lions, as a team, scored a 49.075 on vault, a 49.225 on the uneven bars, a 48.750 on beam and a 49.325 on floor.
Penn State opened the meet on vault where three Nittany Lions finished in the top 10. Freshman Kristin Blades (Gainesville, Va.) and Merriam were part of a four-way tie for 10th place scoring a 9.825. Musser finished in first place to share the title with Illinois' Amber See after scoring a 9.900.
The Nittany Lions moved onto the uneven bars in the second rotation where junior Natalie Ettl (Waukesha, Wis.) claimed the conference crown with a 9.925. Ten gymnasts scored a 9.850 to share third place, including junior Alex Stine (Philipsburg, Pa.) and Merriam. Stine tied her career-high on the event. Musser finished 13th on the event with a 9.825 and Bencsko finished 22nd with a 9.775.
After a bye, the Lions moved to beam. Musser was Penn State's top performer on beam tying for second with a 9.850. Junior Daryl Konsevick (Rutherford, N.J.) took 11th with a 9.775 and senior Danielle Hover (Hamburg, N.Y.) finished tied for 14th with a 9.750. Freshman Cassidy Bogar (League City, Texas) scored a 9.700, good enough for 20th place.
After another bye, Penn State finished the meet on floor where two Nittany Lions finished in the top five. Merriam led the Nittany Lions finishing second tying her career-high with a 9.925. Musser scored a 9.900 to take fourth, while Konsevick and freshman Lindsay Musgrove (League City, Texas) shared 14th place with a 9.850. Musgrove tied her personal best. In addition, Bogar set a career-high scoring a 9.800 on the event.
The Big Ten Network will re-air the 2011 Big Ten Championship on three occasions. The meet will be rebroadcast at 2 a.m. on March 20, 2 p.m. on March 23 and at 3 p.m. on March 27.
The Nittany Lions now await the NCAA Regional draw to learn its final ranking and where it will be sent for the NCAA Regional Championships, which will take place Saturday, April 2, with times to be determined. The six programs hosting an NCAA Regional in 2011 are Michigan, Georgia, Oregon State, Denver, Oklahoma and Alabama.