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March 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was named the 2012 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year at the Big Ten Gymnastics Championships hosted by the University of the Iowa. Penn State finished sixth at the championships, posting a team score of 195.700.
Musser is the second Penn State gymnast in the last four years to be named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, as former Nittany Lion Brandi Personett was awarded the honor in 2009 and 2010. The 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Musser marks the seventh time a Nittany Lion has been selected.
In addition, Musser was named to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. She joined Nebraska's Jessie DeZiel, Jamie Schleppenbach, Emily Wong, Lora Evanstad and Janelle Giblin, Michigan's Joanna Sampson and Sachi Sugiyama, Emma Stevenson of Iowa, Kelsey Joannides of Illinois and Minnesota's amber Hammerschmidt.
The Nittany Lions competed in the second session of the Big Ten Championships as the No. 2 seed along with No. 1 seed Nebraska, No. 3 seed Ohio State and fourth seeded Minnesota. Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa all competed in the first session.
Penn State posted a team score of 49.100 on vault in the first rotation where Musser posted a 9.900 to lead the Lions. Senior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) tied her season high with a 9.850, while junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) scored a 9.825. Freshman Lexi Carroll (Olney, Md.) posted a 9.775, and both freshman Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) and sophomore Lindsay Musgrove (League City, Texas) each earned a 9.750.
In the second rotation, the Nittany Lions competed on bars where they combined for a team score of 48.925 for a 98.025 overall. Musser was Penn State's top perfomer with a 9.850. Bencsko was second on the team with a 9.80, while both senior Alexandra Stine (Philipsburg, Pa.) and Merriam each were awarded 9.775.
The Nittany Lions moved on to beam where Musser turned in a strong performance for a 9.850. Sophomore Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) scored a 9.800 and both senior Daryl Konsevick (Rutherford, N.J.) and Bencsko posted a 9.750. Penn State earned a team score of 48.850 on beam and improved their overall team score to 146.875.
For the fourth and final rotation, Penn State competed on floor. Three Nittany Lions, Musser, Merriam and Bencsko, all scored a 9.800, while Carrol earned a 9.725. Penn State's team score was 48.825 to bring them to their total of 195.700 for the meet.
Musser was Penn State's top all-arounder with a 39.400 to tie for third place. Bencsko scored a 39.200 to share 10th place, while Merriam finished 14th with a 39.100. Welsh was Penn State's fourth all-around competitor and she finished 18th with a 38.650.
The Nittany Lions will learn their fate for NCAA Regionals on Monday, March 26. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for 3 p.m. on NCAA.com.
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.