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April 4, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 14, 2014 - The NCAA postseason has arrived in Happy Valley and the historic Recreation Building will act as one of six hosts sites for the 2014 NCAA Regional Championships. No. 15 Penn State will host No. 1 Florida, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 23 New Hampshire, Kentucky and Maryland, along with selected individual and all-around competitors, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.
This marks the 40th straight NCAA Regional Championship appearance for the Nittany Lions, who have participated in the regional round every season since 1975. They will be looking to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 17 in school history and the first berth since 2009. Penn State will be hosting the NCAA Regional for the 14th time in program history.
Senior Kassidy Stauder was named a regular season second team All-American last week, finishing the season ranked 14th on the balance beam to become the second Penn State gymnast to earn the honor in the two years of the regular season All-America program. The senior owns a Regional Qualifying Score of 9.895 and posted the 10th highest score in school history earlier this season at 9.950. The Palmerton, Pa. native also finished among the top-20 nationally in the all-around with a team-best RQS of 39.365.
Two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships, junior Krystal Welsh set a new career-high in the all-around at 39.500 to post the team's highest score of the season and finish fourth in the event. She notched a pair of 9.900 scores, doing so on the floor exercise and vault to kick off the meet on a high note. She scored 9.850 on both the uneven bar and balance beam, with her beam score marking a new career-best effort.
Welsh joined freshman Emma Sibson as the only two gymnasts on the squad to record two scores of 9.000 or better at the Big Ten Championships. Sibson also collected 9.900 on the floor exercise and vault to register her fourth and fifth scores of 9.900 or better this season.
Lindsay Musgrove and Stauder both posted 9.900 scores at the Big Ten summit, with Musgrove going 9.900 on the floor exercise and Stauder earning a 9.900 on the uneven bars.
As a team, Penn State posted their fourth highest score of the season with a 196.475 and put three event scores in the top three of their season bests. Their floor exercise score of 49.425 was a season-high and ranks tied for seventh all-time at Penn State. Their 49.300 on the uneven bars is tops in 2014 and they posted their third highest score on the vault at 49.250.
The Nittany Lions need a top-two finish at the 2014 NCAA Regional Championships to earn a trip to the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
Add All-American Accolades to Stauder's Senior Resume
Senior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) became the second Nittany Lion to earn regular season All-America distinction from NACGCW. A top performer on the balance beam all season, Stauder earned second team All-American on the event.
This marks the second year of the regular season All-America team, which supplements the traditional All-America honors awarded at the national championships. Last season, Penn State's Sharaya Musser earned first team accolades on the balance beam and second team distinction in the all-around.
Stauder was the top balance beam worker in the conference this season. She currently ranks 14th in the NCAA on the event with a Regional Qualifying score of 9.895 and was one of only two Big Ten gymnasts to earn All-American recognition on the balance beam.
She owns a season average of 9.856 and posted a career-best score of 9.950 on the event in a quad meet at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington on March 8. She has topped the 9.875 mark on the event eight times in 2014, besting 9.900 on four occasions. She has five balance beam titles on her resume this season.
Stauder is also one of the top all-arounders in the nation, ranking 18th in the competition with a RQS of 39.365. She narrowly missed earning All-American honors in the all-around and has a career-best score of 39.475.
Stauder Named to All-Championship Team
After earning first team All-Big Ten, senior Kassidy Stauder was up to the task at the Big Ten Championships, setting one new career-high and posting near career-high marks on every other event on her way to a fifth place finish in the all-around.
Stauder tied for second place on the uneven bars, an event she currently ranks 34th nationally on, to earn Big Ten All-Championship Team honors. She was the lone Penn Stater to earn a spot on the all-championship team with her 9.900 performance on the event.
2014 Big Ten All-Championship Team
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Trio Earn All-Big Ten honors
After helping the No. 15 Penn State women's gymnastics program to the first 20-win regular season in school history, senior Kassidy Stauder was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, while juniors Sidney Sanabria-Robles and Krystal Welsh each earned All-Big Ten Second Team accolades.
Stauder has enjoyed her finest season in the blue and white. She set new personal best scores on all four apparatus and in the all-around, winning three all-around titles and 13 individual event titles during the regular season.
Sanabria-Robles is also having a great 2014 campaign. The junior has competed in all 12 meets this season, has made a touch during all 48 routines and posted career-best scores in all four events and in the all-around.
Rounding out the honorees for the Nittany Lions was Welsh, who returned from injury to bolster the Nittany Lions all-around rotation in 2014. The junior has competed in the all-around in all 12 meets to make touches on in all 48 routines for the Blue and White this season.
Into the Record Books
As a team, Penn State has moved into the record books on six occasions this season, including three such efforts at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington on March 5.
Last weekend at the Big Ten Championships, Penn State opened the meet with a solid 49.425 on the floor exercise to tie for the seventh highest score in school history. It also tied for the higest score at the B1G summit with the 2009 squad.
Their team score of 197.200 from Durham, N.C. ranks third in school history behind the 2013 team's 197.325 and the 2001 squad's 197.450. The point total is the highest road score in school history and is the first time a Penn State team topped the 197.000 mark away from home.
It is also just the fifth time in program history a Penn State team has scored 197.000 or better.
Penn State has left its mark on the vault during both the ninth and 10th weekend's of the season, boasting the sixth highest score in school history in their quad meet at New Hampshire (49.450) and scoring the 10th highest total the week before in their home quad meet with Bridgeport, Western Michigan and Yale.
After not cracking the 49.000 mark during the first five meets on the balance beam, the Nittany Lions scored 39.375 at New Hampshire to tie for the fourth highest total in school history.
Their effort of 49.400 on the floor exercise in their home opening quad meet against Cornell, Southeast Missouri and UIC is tied for 10th on the all-time charts.
Sibson Vaults into Record Books
Freshman Emma Sibson didn't know when or how her freshman season would start after an offseason injury, but the Allen, Texas, native has made an impact since the season opener at Iowa State on Jan. 5.
She has competed on the vault in all 12 of the team's competitions and topped the 9.850 mark in six of those meets. Over the past month, Sibson has found her footing - literally - sticking vaults in four of the last six competitions.
Last weekend at the Big Ten Championships, the rookie boasted a score of 9.900 to tie for fifth on the event and tie for the team's highest score with Krystal Welsh.
In the Nittany Lions meet at Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington, she stuck her vault and collected new personal-best of 9.975. That score is tied for second highest in the Big Ten this season with Austin Sheppard (Michigan) and Jessie DeZiel (Nebraska) and is just behind the perfect 10.000 from Illinois' Amber See.
Her 9.975 is tied for fifth on Penn State's all-time list, while her 9.950 against No. 10 Nebraska on Feb. 8 sits tied for ninth all-time. Only Brandi Personett and Katie Rowland have better scores on the vault for the Nittany Lions, with each collecting a perfect 10.0 twice in their careers.
Witt Returns From Injury
Junior Alex Witt missed most of the season due to injury, but came back on a mission and gave the Nittany Lions a huge routine in their quad meet victory over Bridgeport, Western Michigan and Yale.
The junior posted a career-best score of 9.875 on the uneven bars to finish second on the event and post the team's fourth highest score of the season.
Witt currently owns a season average of 9.806 after posting a 9.800 mark on the event at the Big Ten Championships.
She has also scored 9.775 twice this season; on March 8 at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington and on March 15 at the Big Ten Quad in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Thompson Closing in on 150 Victories
Head coach Jeff Thompson is in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach and is closing in on his 150th career regular season victory. In his career, Thompson has compiled a 132-97 record.
In his fourth season at the helm of Penn State, Thompson has earned 60 regular season victories and is 60-15 overall. Add that to his 72 wins while at Auburn and the Highland Heights, Ky., native sits at 132 career wins. His overall record while at Auburn was 72-82.
This season, the Nittany Lions own a 20-3 overall mark entering the NCAA Regional Championships and set the school record for regular season victories on March 15 in the Big Ten Quad in Ann Arbor.
The previous school record was held by the 2007 squad, which finished 19-4 and placed third at the NCAA Regional Championships.
The First Team to Twenty
The 2014 edition of the Nittany Lions became the first group of gymnasts to crack the 20-win plateau during the regular season in school history.
With two victories at the Big Ten Quad in Ann Arbor, Mich., this year's team moved past the 2007 squad for the most regular season victories in school history.
The 2007 team finished the year with a 19-4 overall mark and finished third at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Top 5 Single Season Victories
It's All About Family
The Penn State women's gymnastics program is all about family and there are numerous connections between family members within the Nittany Lion family and the NCAA gymnastics community.
Head coach Jeff Thompson is married to associate head coach Rachelle Thompson. The tandem have coached side by side since their time at Auburn University and have two sons, Parker and Griffin.
Junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles transferred to Penn State after spending a season at LSU and one of the main factors in that move was being close to family. Sanabria-Robles competes for the women's squad, while her brother, Ismail Sanabria, is a part of the Penn State men's program.
The gymnastics community is a tight-knit group and Krystal Welsh knows that all too well. The junior recently competed on the same floor as her brother, Jakob Welsh, who is a freshman on the Temple men's gymnastics team. The pair competed side-by-side inside Rec Hall on Feb. 8 when the women's team faced No. 8 Nebraska and Temple competed against the Nittany Lions men's squad.
Sibson Named B1G Top Rookie, Twice
Freshman Emma Sibson has been tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice this season, winning the award in consecutive meets leading into the season finale at Michigan.
On Feb. 28, Sibson tied for the top spot on the vault with a score of 9.875 and finished third on the balance beam with a career-best effort of 9.825 to help Penn State sweep the podium in all four events. She also competed on the floor exercise and scored 9.725 in the quad meet with Bridgeport, Western Michigan and Yale.
At New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington, Sibson won the title on the vault with a 9.975 - tied for the fifth highest score in school history - and placed second on the floor exercise with a career-best 9.900. She also hit a 9.800 routine on the balance beam.
Carroll's Comeback Cut Short
Junior Lexi Carroll missed the first six meets of the season due to injury before returning for an exhibition against No. 15 Illinois on Feb. 15.
She exhibitioned on the balance beam and floor exercise vs. the Illini and the next weekend entered the balance beam lineup at Rutgers w/ Temple and Ursinus on Feb. 22.
She was in the floor exercise lineup in the final home meet of the season vs. Bridgeport, Wetern Michigan and Yale, scoring 9.750 on Feb. 28.
However, the next weekend at New Hampshire on March 8, she suffered an injury and will miss the remainder of the season.
Lions Sweep Season's First B1G Awards
The Nittany Lions opened the season with a huge road victory at Iowa State and for that a trio of gymnasts were honored by the Big Ten.
Rookie Nicole Medvitz was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Kassidy Stauder was named the conference's Event Specialist of the Week and Randi Lau was tabbed as the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week.
Lau tied for second in the all-around in her first meet with the Nittany Lions program after transferring from LSU. She took the vault title with a score of 9.825 and scored 38.825 in the all-around. She also scored 9.525 on the uneven bars, 9.725 on the balance beam and 9.750 on the floor exercise.
Stauder couldn't have had a better start to her senior season, posting the squads top score on the uneven bars. She placed third overall on the event with a score of 9.750 and anchored the balance beam lineup with a score of 9.725.
In her first collegiate competition, Medvitz was turned in the team's top performance on the balance beam. The rookie was second up on the beam - an event that sealed the win for Penn State - and posted a team-best effort of 9.750 to finish third overall.
Stauder Shining as a Senior
Senior Kassidy Stauder is leaving her mark on the program during her final season in the blue and white. The Palmerton, Pa., native has set new career-highs on all four apparatus and in the all-around, while winning 13 event titles and three all-around crowns.
She earned second team All-American honors on the uneven bars, was an All-Championship performer at the Big Ten Championships and garnered first team All-Big Ten for her performance during the regular season.
Stauder has anchored the Nittany Lions on the uneven bars and balance beam all season, scoring 9.850 or better in seven of the team's 10 competitions. She has claimed the uneven bars title seven times - tying for the title on four occasions - and topped the balance beam charts six times - with three ties at the top.
She set a new career-high in the all-around in two straight meets, boasting a 49.425 in a quad meet with Bridgeport, Western Michigan and Yale on Feb. 28 before posting a team-best score of 49.475 in a quad meet at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington on March 8.
Early Signing Period Nets Four
Lauren Li, Chanen Raygoza, Oni Timothy and Briannah Tsang all inked their National Letters of Intent on Nov. 13 and will begin their Penn State careers in 2014-15.
Li, who trains at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas, is coached by Laurent Landi and Cecile Canqueteau-Landi and was the 2013 USA Gymnastics Level 10 Region 3 all-around and uneven bars champion, as well as a third place finisher on vault. Li went on to compete in the USA Junior Olympic National Championships where she finished eighth on balance beam and 13th in the all-around.
Raygoza trains at Wildfire Gymnastics in Tustin, California and is coached by Rick Watson, Tom Wakeling, Rhonda Schwandt-Haffman, Stephanie Calvert and Whitney Watson. In 2011, Raygoza finished third in the all-around at the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships. During that meet, she also finished fourth on vault, fifth on the uneven bars and ninth on the floor exercise.
In 2012, she won the Region 1 Championship on both the uneven bars and in the all-around and followed it up with a 12th place finish at the Junior Olympic Nationals. The former Junior Olympic National Team Member did not compete in 2013 due to injury.
Timothy, who trains at Rochester Gymnastics Academy in Rochester, New York, is coached by Youlia Coss and brings an impressive club resume to the University Park campus. In 2011, Oni finished second in the nation on floor exercise and third on balance beam. She has also been the Regional all-around champion each of the past four years.
Tsang trains at Flicka Gymnastics Club in Vancouver, British Columbia and is coached by Dorina Stan and David Kenwright. She was the Canadian National Champion on vault at both the 2011 Canada Winter Games and the 2013 Elite Canada competition.
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