Women's Gymnastics Advances To NCAA Championships For First Time Since 2000
Seattle, Wash., April 9, 2005- The Penn State women's gymnastics team advanced to its first NCAA Championships since the 2000 season, finishing second at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Seattle on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions scored a 195.375, bested only by No. 3 UCLA (197.025). Host Washington finished third (195.000), Stanford claimed fourth (194.750), Boise State finished fifth (194.500) and Central Michigan came in sixth (194.125).
Freshman Kristal Uzelac (Johnstown, Pa.) continued her winning streak on the bars, scoring a 9.900 to tie for the crown, her seventh consecutive uneven bars title this year. Uzelac was also Penn State's top finisher in the all-around, placing fourth with a 39.275, her third-highest all-around score of the year. Junior Meredith Hoover (Dublin, Ohio) placed 10th in the all-around with a 38.925 while junior Lisa Clark (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished 20th with a 38.325. UCLA's Tasha Schwikert claimed the all-around title with a 39.725.
As a team, Penn State recorded scores of 49.125 on vault, 48.725 on bars, 48.775 on beam and 48.750 on floor.
The Nittany Lions opened the evening on beam, as Uzelac was Penn State's highest finisher, claiming ninth with a 9.850. Senior Kate Stopper (Reinholds, Pa.) posted a 9.800 for 13th while sophomore Corissa Pirkl (West Islip, N.Y.) tallied a 9.725 for 25th. Hoover and sophomore Gena Shingle (Langhorne, Pa.) each recorded a 9.700 to tie for 27th and Clark posted a 9.600 for 35th. UCLA's Kristen Maloney scored a 9.975 to take home the beam title.
Following a bye, Penn State moved to the floor, where Uzelac and Clark both scored a 9.825 to tie for fifth. Pirkl posted a season-high-tying 9.800 for 10th as Hoover (9.725), junior Jennifer Orlando (Herndon, Va./9.575) and Stopper (9.300) rounded out the Nittany Lion competitors. UCLA's Maloney and Schwikert both scored a 9.950 to share the title.
In the fourth rotation, the Nittany Lions competed on the vault, with Clark and Orlando tying for fourth place with a 9.875. Sophomore Amie Olaes (Inverness, Ill.) scored a 9.825 for seventh, Stopper posted a 9.800 for ninth, Hoover tallied a 9.750 for 15th and Uzelac notched a 9.700 for 25th. UCLA's Maloney and Schwikert again tied for first with a 9.950.
Following another bye, Penn State closed out the evening on the bars as Uzelac tied UCLA's Schwikert with a 9.900 to share the crown. Hoover posted a 9.750 for ninth, Pirkl recorded a 9.725 for 13th and senior Cecile Allen (State College, Pa.) recorded a 9.700 for 15th. Junior Michelle Ilg (Colonia, N.J.) and Clark closed out the Penn State finishers, scoring a 9.650 and a 9.025, respectively.
The Nittany Lions now take a week off before heading to the NCAA Championships, hosted by Auburn on April 21-23. Penn State's last team appearance in the NCAA Championships was a seventh-place finish in 2000.
For more information on the Penn State women's gymnastics team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.