Penn State Women's Gymnastics Earns No. 2 Seed for Big Ten Championships
March 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 12 Penn State women's gymnastics team has been selected as the No. 2 seed to the 2012 Big Ten Championships. In addition, three Nittany Lion gymnasts were named to the All-Big Ten teams.
The seedings for the championships were determined using the teams' regional qualifying average and determined the session each team will compete in at the conference championship. Nebraska closed out the regular season with the top regional qualifying average in the conference to earn the top seed. Penn State, No. 3 seed Ohio State and fourth-seeded Minnesota will all compete in the evening session. The earlier afternoon session will feature No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Illinois, No. 7 Iowa and No. 8 Michigan State.
Junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was one of seven gymnastics named to the All-Big Ten First Team. To be named First Team All-Big Ten, a gymnast had to finish the regular season ranked in the top three of at least one event. Senior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) were both named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.
Nebraska led the conference with five All-Big Ten honorees, while Penn State and Illinois each totaled three.
This is Musser's third time being selected to the All-Big Ten First Team. She also was named to the First Team in 2010 and 2011. Musser ranks second nationally in the all-around with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 39.540, fourth on beam (9.905), fifth on vault (9.920), eighth on floor (9.900) and 17th on bars (9.880). Musser has competed in the all-around in every meet this season, winning the title 10 times. She has won the beam crown nine times and has been equally as impressive on vault taking the title on seven occasions. Musser has finished in the top three on bars in nine meets and on floor in eight. She owns career bests of 9.925 or better on all four events and has scored 9.900 or higher on all four events this season. Musser has been named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week 11 times during her career, including a record six times in 2012.
This is the second honor of Merriam's career after she was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team in 2011. Merriam has competed in the all-around in every meet this season finishing in the top four in all but two meets. Merriam ranks 23rd nationally in all-around with an RQS of 39.245 and 19th on floor (9.885). She has finished in the top three on vault in all but two meets, winning the title three times. Merriam has also been consistent on bars with three titles and eight top five finished. She also has eight top five finishes on floor. Merriam owns season and career bests of 9.850 or better on all four events.
Bencsko, a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree as a freshman, earned the second honor of her career. After suffering an injury as a sophomore, Bencsko made a full recovery for her junior season where she competed in every meet on bars, beam and floor and eight meets in the all-around. In her final season, Bencsko has competed in every meet in the all-around finishing in the top five nine times. Bencsko has been a consistent threat all season on all four events, with season highs of 9.825 or better.
The Big Ten Championships are set for March 24 at Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Nittany Lions will compete in the evening session scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CT.
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.