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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 26 Penn State women's gymnastics team (1-1, 0-1 B1G) heads to Maryland (3-3, 0-1 B1G) for its first road meet of the 2018 season on Friday, Jan. 19. The meet is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland.
Last weekend, the Nittany Lions opened its Big Ten season with a 195.550-195.050 loss to the preseason-No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Against Nebraska, the two teams were tied at 146.500 after the third rotation and Nebraska was able to capture the victory by outscoring Penn State, 49.050-48.550, in the final rotation.
Individually, Briannah Tsang won the all-around title and the floor exercise title outright in addition to tying for the uneven bars title with freshman Alissa Bonsall. For Tsang's performance against Nebraska, she was tabbed the Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week.
As a team against Nebraska, the Nittany Lions tallied season-best scores on three events (vault, uneven bars, and floor exercise) en route to a season-best team score of 195.050.
The meet will be streamed on BTN2Go.com and fans must have an account to access the video.
The Maryland Terrapins enter the meet with an overall record of 3-3 and a record of 0-1 in Big Ten action. The Terrapins are coming off a second-place finish in a quad meet last weekend at Minnesota.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota took the title (194.200), followed by Maryland (194.025), Northern Illinois (193.575) and Winona State (184.750).
As a team nationally, Maryland is tied for 37th in scoring average (194.063), is tied for 35th in vault average (48.688), is tied for 43rd in uneven bars average (48.238), is 25th in balance beam average (48.725) and is 52nd in floor exercise average (48.413).
The then-No. 17 Penn State women's gymnastics team fell to the preseason-No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 195.550-195.050. Senior Briannah Tsang captured the floor exercise title and the all-around title in addition to tying for the uneven bars title with freshman Alissa Bonsall.
With the score tied at 146.500 after the third rotation, Nebraska captured the victory after outscoring Penn State, 49.050-48.550, in the final rotation.
B1G CO-GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
Following a season-best all-around score of 39.425 against Nebraska, senior Briannah Tsang was named the Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week. Her Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor was the second of her career.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tsang won the all-around title and floor exercise title outright in addition to tying for the uneven bars title.
On the day, Tsang tallied scores of 9.900 (floor exercise & uneven bars), 9.825 (vault), and 9.800 (balance beam) en route to a season-best all-around score of 39.425.
B1G FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Following the season opener against Eastern Michigan, Lauren Bridgens was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
In her Penn State debut, Bridgens tied for the vault title (9.825), placed second on the uneven bars (9.800), finished fourth on the balance beam (9.700) and on the floor exercise (9.725). Bridgens closed out the day with a score of 39.050 in the all-around as she shared the all-around title with Briannah Tsang.
BROWN BEGINS FIRST YEAR AT PSU
Head coach Sarah Brown is in her first year at the helm of the Penn State women's gymnastics program. Brown was tabbed the eighth head coach in program history on May 4, 2017.
Becerra comes to Penn State after spending the 2017 season as an assistant coach under Coach Brown at Eastern Michigan.
Drass, a 1990 Penn State graduate, returns to Happy Valley with a wealth of coaching experience. Most recently, Drass served as the assistant head coach for the University of Pittsburgh women's gymnastics team from 2014-17. While at Penn State, Drass was a member of the Penn State men's gymnastics program.
The 2017 Penn State women's gymnastics season featured the Nittany Lions posting an overall record of 11-8, which included a Big Ten record of 4-5. As a team, the Nittany Lions qualified for its 36th-straight NCAA Regional meet and they finished the year with a No. 31 ranking.
Garcia received regular season All-America honors from the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches for Women (NACGC/W).
She garnered Penn State women's gymnastics' 94th All-America honor, as she was named a Second Team All-American on the uneven bars.
PSU ON BTN THREE TIMES
The Penn State women's gymnastics team will be on the Big Ten Network three times during the 2018 season. Penn State's lone regular season appearance on BTN will be its meet at Michigan State on Feb. 4. The meet will be streamed live on BTN2Go.com starting at 1 p.m. and will be shown via a tape delay starting at 4 p.m. on BTN.
Along with its meet at Michigan State, both sessions of the Big Five Meet and the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships will be aired live on BTN on March 17 and March 24, respectively. Penn State will compete in the 5:30 p.m. session of the Big Five Meet and will either compete at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. at the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team is comprised of 10 returners and four newcomers. The Nittany Lions welcome freshmen Alissa Bonsall, Lauren Bridgens, Kourtney Chinnery, and Ava Verdeflor to the program.
The Nittany Lions return a veteran laden squad in 2018. Sabrina Garcia and Briannah Tsang competed as individuals in the all-around at the 2017 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
Along with Garcia and Tsang, Mason Hosek, Gianna LaGuardia, and Peyton Schuller return to the Nittany Lions in 2018. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Hosek has competed in 21 of 24 meets, LaGuardia has competed in 17 of 24 meets, and Schuller has competed in 18 of 24 meets.
TSANG'S 47 TITLES
Senior Briannah Tsang has captured 35 individual titles and 12 all-around titles in her Nittany Lion career.
Two meets into the 2018 season and Tsang has six titles to her name. On the year, she has won each event once and has captured two all-around titles.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team opened its 2018 season with three freshmen making their Nittany Lions debut.
Bonsall opened up her Nittany Lion career with a third-place finish on the vault (9.800), a third-place finish on the uneven bars (9.775), a fifth-place finish on the balance beam (9.625), an 11th-place finish on the floor exercise (9.550), and a fourth-place finish in the all-around (38.750).
In Bridgens' Nittany Lion debut, she tied for the vault title (9.825), took second on the uneven bars (9.800), placed fourth on the balance beam (9.700), took fourth on the floor exercise (9.725), and tied for the all-around title (39.050).
Chinnery made her debut with a 9.725 on the vault to place sixth.
Against Nebraska, Verdeflor made her Nittany Lion lineup debut with a 9.250 on the uneven bars to place 10th.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team was selected 25th in the 2018 National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Nittany Lions closed out the 2017 season ranked No. 31.
Penn State will compete against 11 programs that are ranked in the NACGC/W Preseason Coaches' Poll during the 2018 season.
Along with the NACGC/W Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Nittany Lions were selected fifth in the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll.
HOME SWEET HOME
The 2018 slate features five regular season home meets for the Nittany Lions inside Rec Hall. Along with the five regular season home season meets, Penn State will be one of the six NCAA Regional hosts.
Penn State opens its home slate against Eastern Michigan (Jan. 6) followed by hosting Nebraska (Jan. 13). After a road meet at Maryland, the Nittany Lions return home to host Illinois for a double dual on Jan. 27.
The Blue & White close out its regular season home slate with back-to-back meets in February. Penn State will host Cornell & Penn in a tri-meet on Feb. 17 before welcoming George Washington to Rec Hall on Feb. 24.
If Penn State is one of the 36 teams to qualify for the NCAA Regional round, the Nittany Lions will be automatically seeded in the University Park Regional on April 7.
Bridgens enters her first year as a Nittany Lion after competing at Hill's Gymnastics under coaches Kelli Hill, Cynthia Smaha, and Tian Zhang. Last summer, Bridgens tallied a pair of top-10 finishes at the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships, as she finished second on vault (9.875) and she tied for eighth on floor (9.625).
During her time at Penn State, Tsang has qualified for the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships each of the past two seasons.
At the 2017 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, she placed 30th in the all-around with a score of 39.1000, and her best finish of the evening came on the floor exercise as she tied for 18th with a 9.9000.
The 2015 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, Tsang has won 41 career titles, has received All-Big Ten First Team honors twice (2016 & 2017), tallied All-Big Ten Second Team honors in 2015, and was named to the 2017 Big Ten All-Championships Team.
Last season, seven Nittany Lions were honored by the Big Ten for their work in the classroom.
Along with the Academic All-Big Ten selections, eight Nittany Lions were named to the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) list of 2017 scholar-athletes.
As a team, the Nittany Lions recorded an overall GPA of 3.2213 during the 2016-17 school year.
FUTURE NITTANY LIONS
Melissa Astarita and Dymiana Cox have signed their National Letters of Intent to attend Penn State University and participate in women's gymnastics starting in the 2019 season.
Astarita joins the Nittany Lions after competing at Action Gymnastics under coach Magdalena During. A native of Morganville, New Jersey, Melissa is the daughter of Michael and Natalie Astarita. While at Penn State, Melissa plans to major in mathematics.
Cox joins the Penn State women's gymnastics program after competing for Parkettes Gymnastics under coaches Robin Netwall, John Holman, Bill and Donna Strauss. A native of Elmont, New York, Dymiana is the daughter of Darrell and Jessica Cox. While at Penn State, Dymiana plans to major in kinesiology and intends to attend medical school following graduation.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Penn State enjoys one of the most historic collegiate gymnastics venues in the country and they take pride in giving the home crowd something to cheer for, including a lot of wins.
Since 1975, Penn State owns a 234-60 overall record in home meets. The Nittany Lions are 231-60 at Rec Hall and are 3-0 in meets contested inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
The loss to North Carolina State on Jan. 9, 2016, snapped a seven-meet winning streak inside Rec Hall. The seven-meet winning streak was the fourth-best in program history.
Penn State swept its last two home meets in 2014 and was unblemished in its five home dates in 2015.
The longest unbeaten streaks in school history are as follows: (Streaks are listed by meets, not wins. Meaning if Penn State hosted three teams needed to be victorious vs. all three opponents to extend the streak.)
1977-82 28 meets
1999-2001 11 meets
1975-77 10 meets
2014-15 7 meets
2013-14/2009-10/2005 6 meets
2007/1992-93 5 meets
2011/1991/1986-87 4 meets
NITTANY LION DUO COMPETES AT JO CHAMPIONSHIPS
Penn State women's gymnastics freshmen Alissa Bonsall and Lauren Bridgens brought home top-10 event finishes in the Senior F section of the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on May 6-7.
At the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships, Bonsall's meet was highlighted by tying for ninth on bars (9.600) and a 10th-place finish on floor (9.600), while Bridgens finished second on vault (9.875) and she tied for eighth on floor (9.625).
The Nittany Lions return home for their first double dual of the 2018 season. Both Penn State gymnastics programs will host Illinois on Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. at Rec Hall.