Penn State To Host Women's Gymnastics Northeast Regional Championships
State College, Pa., March 26, 2002-- The Penn State's women's gymnastics team and Rec Hall will be one of six sites to host women's gymnastics NCAA Regional Championships on April 6, 2002 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Teams attending will be Iowa, Pittsburgh, George Washington, Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State. Individual regional qualifiers will also be competing, representing Rutgers, Yale, Rhode Island, Temple and Brown.
Of the six teams competing, three are nationally ranked in the top 25 with the other three ranked regionally. No. 5 Michigan is the top-ranked team in the region, winning the Big Ten Championships last weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Nebraska is ranked eighth while Iowa is in the 16th slot.
The University of Michigan enters the competition ranked 5th in the nation with a record of 23-3 while winning their fourth-consecutive Big Ten title this season. The team posted a high score of 197.775 this season and will look for strong performances from Calli Ryals and Elise Ray, who are ranked first and second, respectively, nationally in the all-around individual performances.
The eighth-ranked Nebraska enters the Championships with a record of 14-2. The Huskers are led by Tami Harris and Richelle Simpson who are both ranked 16th in the country in the all-around. Nebraska has been averaging a score of 196.330 this season,with their top mark a 197.150. Nebraska won its second consecutive Big 12 title and has now won eight of the last nine conference titles. The Huskers' 49.675 on balance beam (Masters Classic on Feb. 23) is a school record and the highest mark in the nation this season. Nebraska is looking for its third straight regional title
The No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes comes to Penn State with a record of 8-8. They finished third at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, posting a score of 195.550 and earning their highest place finish since 1991. The team will expect a strong performance from Alexis Mayday, who was the floor champion at Big Ten Championships and is ranked 14th in the country in the all-around.
The University of Pittsburgh owns a record of 10-16. They finished sixth at the EAGL Championships held at Towson University, posting a score of 194.275, which was 3.5 points higher than their performance last year. Pittsburgh had five individuals break or tie career highs at the championships, including sophomore Diandra O'Connor who recorded a 39.150, the 10th-best all-around score in Panther history.
George Washington won its fifth-consecutive Atlantic 10 championship with a score of 196.375. The Colonials will rely heavily on senior co-captain Devin McCalla, who was named Atlantic 10 Gymnast of the Year. She broke two Atlantic 10 Championship records this year and won the all-around title with a score of 39.675, breaking the record she set in 2000 with a 39.500. She also made Atlantic 10 Championship history with a perfect 10.0 on the balance beam.
Penn State enters the competition with a record of 6-16. The Nittany Lions finished seventh at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, posting a score of 192.550. Their highest team score this season was a 195.800 against Maryland and Rhode Island. Penn State will look to Big Ten individual all-around champion Katie Rowland (Georgetown, Ontario) to lead the team. Ranked seventh nationally in the all-around, she has been the top-scorer this season on each event, and also broke her own school record when she scored a 39.725 in the all-around against Maryland and Rhode Island.
Joining the six teams in the Northeast Regional Championships are five all-around competitors and one specialist for each of the four events. The all-around gymnasts are Katie Russo from Rutgers, Kathryn Fong and Jamie Green from Yale, Brooke Hamilton from Rhode Island and Cicely Warrington from Temple. The event specialists are Courtney Turner of Rutgers on the vault and floor exercise, Katie Teft of Massachusetts on the uneven bars and Jayne Finst of Brown on the balance beam.
The top two teams and the top two all-around gymnasts (who are not on a qualifying team) at the Championships receive berths to the 12-team field at the 2002 NCAA Championships. In addition, any event winner who is not part of a qualifying team or is not an all-around qualifier will advance to the national championships in that event only. The University of Alabama will be hosting the 2002 National Championships on April 19-21.
Tickets for the competition have gone on sale, and reserved tickets can be purchased by calling either 814/865-5555 or toll free at 1-800-863-3336. Reserved ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for students, youth and senior citizens. If available, general admission tickets will also be available on the day of the event, $5 for adult and $3 for students, youth and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased either by phone or in person at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket windows during normal business hours. Phone hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Rec Hall ticket office is not open during the week but will open at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 6th.