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April 7, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team picked up two regional awards as junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned a bid to the NCAA National Championships with a third place finish in the all-around. The Nittany Lions finished fourth overall at the NCAA Regional Championships with a team score of 195.650.
Head coach Jeff Thompson was named the Northeast Region Coach of the Year, while Musser was awarded Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year laurels. Musser has earned her third straight bid to Nationals.
Musser scored a 39.450 in the all-around to secure a bid to nationals. She finished in the top four on three of the four events. Junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) totaled a 38.750, freshman Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) earned a 38.575 and senior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) posted a 38.525.
The Nittany Lions opened the meet with a bye before competing on the uneven bars in the second rotation. Penn State earned a team score of 49.050 led by Musser's 9.850. Merriam, senior Alex Stine (Philipsburg, Pa.), sophomore Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) and Welsh all posted a 9.800.
On beam in the third rotation, the Nittany Lions had to count a fall, but the final three competitors all hit their routines to close out the event. Stauder led off with a 9.800, while Bencsko earned a 9.600. Competing fifth was senior Daryl Konsevick (Rutherford, N.J.) who posted a 9.825, and Musser anchored the Lions and scored a 9.850.
Penn State spent rotation four on a bye before heading to floor exercise. The Nittany Lions had five gymnasts score 9.800 or better on their way to a team score of 49.050. Musser and Merriam were the top Nittany Lion competitors both earning a 9.825. Konsevick, Welsh and Bencsko all earned a 9.800.
Penn State concluded the meet on vault where Penn State posted a team score of 49.225. Musser led the Lions with a 9.925, while Merriam scored a 9.850 and Carroll each scored a 9.850. Senior Whitney Bencsko and Musgrove rounded out Penn State's top performers on the event each scoring a 9.800.
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.