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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman Lauren Bridgens (Darnestown, Md.) advanced to the NCAA Championships in the all-around Saturday at Rec Hall. For Bridgens, she tied for third in the all-around standings with a score of 39.200.
As a team, the No. 29 Nittany Lions finished fifth with a score of 194.900.
"Tonight was a really big night for us," head coach Sarah Brown said. "I thought it was an incredible environment here at Rec Hall and I'm very thankful for all the work that was put in promoting this competition. It was a great competition. There were some high-level gymnastics here and unfortunately, we started with a stumble on bars so, we just really had to work hard to pick it up each event.
"I thought the kids showed great resiliency and got better after each rotation," Brown continued. "I'm proud of the way we finished and I'm excited for next year moving forward. I'm very very excited for Lauren Bridgens and her opportunity as a freshman to advance to the national championship."
In the team standings, No. 5 Florida finished first (197.725), No. 8 Washington placed second (196.275), and No. 17 Arizona State rounded out the top-three (195.750). No. 30 New Hampshire took fourth (194.950), No. 29 Penn State (194.900) placed fifth and No. 27 West Virginia took sixth (194.400).
For Bridgens, she started the day by posting a 9.850 on the uneven bars and followed that up with a 9.700 on the balance beam. Bridgens closed out the meet with a 9.750 on floor and a 9.900 on vault.
The Nittany Lions began the University Park Regional with a 48.225 on the uneven bars. On their opening event, Bridgens and senior Briannah Tsang (Vancouver, British Columbia) each posted a 9.850, which tied them for sixth. In addition to Bridgens and Tsang, junior Sabrina Garcia (Etters, Pa.) and sophomore Tess McCracken (Plano, Texas) tied for 21st with a score of 9.750.
Then the Blue & White went to the balance beam where they scored a 48.800. Junior Mason Hosek (Pearland, Texas) scored a 9.850, which tied her for seventh and Tsang tied for 13th with her score of 9.800.
After a bye in the third rotation, Penn State took to the floor exercise where it scored a 48.775. On the floor exercise for PSU, junior Peyton Schuller (Erie, Pa.) led Penn State with a score of 9.800 to tie for 17th and freshman Alissa Bonsall (Higganum, Conn.) tied for 25th with a 9.775.
During the fifth rotation, Penn State posted a 49.100 on the vault. For the Nittany Lions on the vault, four Penn Staters finished in the top-10. On the vault, Bridgens tied for third with a 9.900 and Tsang tied for sixth with a 9.850. Along with Bridgens and Tsang, freshman Kourtney Chinnery (Suffolk, Va.) and junior Gianna LaGuardia (Thornton, Colo.) each posted a 9.800 to tie for ninth.
In the all-around standings, Bridgens tied for third (39.200) to secure one of the two all-around spots from the University Park Regional at the NCAA Championships, and Tsang closed out her Nittany Lion career with a sixth-place finish (39.175).
Bridgens will now compete in the NCAA Championships at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 20.
Selection information for individual event competitors will be available on NCAA.com after noon ET on Monday, April 9. The NCAA Individual Event Finals discontinued after the 2015 season. NCAA event champions are based on April 20 semifinal scores.