Feb. 15, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 15, 2014 -For the third straight meet, the No. 21 Penn State women's gymnastics program posted a season-high score, claiming a 196.675-195.600 over Np. 15 Illinois in their annual Flip for the Cure meet inside Rec Hall.
The Blue and White claimed two individual events, but the Blue and White grabbed the top three all-arounders in the meet. Junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles (Carguas, Puerto Rico) claimed the all-around, senior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) placed second and junior Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) placed third, with all three gymnasts earning career-best scores.
"What an exciting day in Rec Hall and we couldn't be more proud of our team," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "To be able to come away with an upset against Illinois will really help us to continue to cuild our confidence. We really got on a roll during uneven bars and carried that into beam. We entered the final rotation and it was strength against strength and we were capitalized on our opportunity.
"Illinois is one of the best balance beam teams in the conference and we are one of the best in the conference on the floor exercise. We wanted to show our home crowd a great competition and we did what we needed to do. Illinois had a fall on beam and we were able to hit each of our floor routines and get a big win at home."
Penn State outscored the Illini on three of the four events; topping the vault, 49.000-48.975, the uneven bars, 49.125-49.100, and the floor exercise, 49.375-49.250. The two teams each posted a score of 39.175 on the balance beam, which was a new season-best score for Penn State.
Sanabria-Robles - who claimed the Ann Carr Award for most inspirational performance of the meet - claimed her first career all-around title with a personal-best score of 39.425, which was accomplished by tying her career-best score on all four events. The junior scored 9.875 on the vault to win the event and finished tied for third on the uneven bars and balance beam with identical scores of 9.850. She also scored 9.850 on the floor exercise.
The other event title came in the floor exercise where Welsh tied Illinois' Giana O'Connor with a score of 9.900. It was the second time this season that Welsh scored 9.900 or better in the event and supplemented a pair of season-best scores that led to a career-best all-around score of 39.275. She posted a season-best 9.850 on the uneven bars and 9.775 on the balance beam. She started the meet with a 9.750 on the vault, as well.
Stauder finished second on both the uneven bars and balance beam, notching a score of 9.875 on both events. She started the meet with a career-best 9.775 on the vault and ended it with a career-best of 9.875 on the floor exercise to claim a third place showing on the event. Those scores helped her set a new career-high of 39.400 in the all-around.
Freshman Emma Sibson (Allen, Texas) continued her strong start to the season by tying her career-high on the balance beam and floor exercise, while claiming a top three finish on the vault for the fifth time this season. She logged a 9.800 on the balance beam and 9.850 on both the vault and floor exercise.
Another gymnast that had a nice competition against the Illini was Randi Lau (Honolulu, Hawaii). The junior tied her season-best score on the balance beam at 9.800 and tied her career-best of 9.875 on the floor exercise to tie for third on the event.
The Nittany Lions will hit the road for three of their next four meets before the championship portion of their schedule begins. Penn State travels to future Big Ten foe Rutgers for a quad meet on Feb. 22 with the Scarlet Knights, Temple and Ursinus. The team will return home the next weekend for their Senior Day meet against Bridgeport, Western Michigan and Yale on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
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