No. 14 Nittany Lions Complete Big Ten Championships with Fifth Place Showing
March 22, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 22, 2014 - The second session of the 2014 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships was filled with a number of high moments for the No. 14 Penn State women's gymnastics program, but it is the ending that will motivate the team as they move forward after a fifth place finish at the conference championships.
"I was happy with everything we did tonight," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "That may sound funny to some after our performance on balance beam, but the pluses really out-weight the minuses. We really came out and performed well on floor exercise, sticking all of our routines, and we took that momentum over to vault where we stuck nearly every routine, as well.
"We were on a roll after sticking all of our dismounts on uneven bars. We knew going into [balance beam] that we would need a school record score to beat Michigan, and to do that at the Big Ten Championships is tough, but we were just focused on preforming well on the toughest scoring event of the day. If we take the momentum and excitement that we generated on the first three events and use the frustration that we felt after letting it slip away on the balance beam we are going to be tough to beat at the NCAA Regional in two weeks."
Penn State raced out of the gate on the floor exercise and put up a 49.425 to tie for the seventh highest score in team history and equal their highest score ever at the Big Ten Championships. They followed that up with a 49.250 on the vault and then added a season-best 49.300 on the uneven bars.
A pair of all-arounders helped bulk up the Nittany Lions scored, as junior Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) and senior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) each tallied totals of better than 39.400 in the competition.
Welsh notched a pair of 9.850 marks on the evening after opening the meet with a pair of 9.900 scores on the floor exercise and vault. Her vault mark was a new personal best, topping her 9.875 from earlier this month at New Hampshire, and the 9.900 on the floor exercise was the third time this year she topped the 9.000 mark on the event. She finished fourth overall in the all-around with a career-best 39.500.
Stauder saved one of her best performances for the home crowd and the opening of championship season. The senior finished tied for fifth overall with a score of 39.425 and tied for second on the uneven bars to earn All-Championship Team honors. She notched a 9.900 on the uneven bars to tie for second, while finishing tied for fourth on the balance beam at 9.850. She also scored 9.775 on the vault and 8.875 on the floor exercise.
"Kassidy was pretty much perfect on everything tonight," said Thompson. "To get to the end of your career and to be able to do the things she has done - being at the Big Ten Championships and having all of that pressure and emotion, it is just amazing. All of the accolades are so well deserved and really shows that hard work and dedication pay off."
The Blue and White got a huge contribution from their freshman class, as well.
"Our freshmen were outstanding today," said Thompson. "Emma [Sibson] stuck her first pass on the floor routine and was off and running on that event and then stuck one of the toughest vaults in the conference to bring the crowd to their feet. Nicole [Medvitz] hadn't competed on bars in two weeks and was almost flawless on the event. She them steps up on balance beam and performs one of the toughest routines and does a great job to help our team."
The Nittany Lions will now turn their attention to hosting the 2014 NCAA Regional Championships on April 5 inside historic Rec Hall, looking to earn a trip to the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
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