Shephard, Bastardi Pick Up Women¡¯s Gymnastics Coaching Honors
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., April 11, 2005 -- Penn State women¡¯s gymnastics head coach Steve Shephard was named the Northeast Region Coach of the Year and assistant coach Jessica Bastardi earned Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors as the Nittany Lions advanced to their first NCAA Championships since 2000. In addition, the Nittany Lions drew the early competition session at the NCAA Championship Preliminaries on April 21 in Auburn, Ala.
Shephard, in his 13th season, and Bastardi, in her 14th year, along with first-year assistant Aladine Naamou, led the No. 11 Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Championships berth in five years. Penn State narrowly missed their first-ever Big Ten Championship title, falling to Michigan by the smallest margin ever at the Big Ten Championships, 0.125. Under their direction, Penn State has amassed a 27-6 team record through NCAA Regional competition and their gymnasts have collected 44 individual event titles in 13 meets of the season.
Michigan¡¯s Elise Ray was named the Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year while New Hampshire¡¯s Carrie Kimball was named the regional administrator of the year.
The Nittany Lions will compete in the early session at the NCAA Championships, beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT, on Thursday, April 21 in Auburn, Ala. Penn State will face Louisiana State, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan and Nebraska in the first session. The Nittany Lions will begin on the beam before moving to a bye, floor exercise, vault, a second bye and finally wrapping up on uneven bars.
In the second session, UCLA, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Brigham Young and Iowa State compete at 7:00 p.m. CT.
The top three teams from each session advance to the Super Six on Friday, April 22, which will determine the national champion. Event finals will take place on Saturday, April 23.
Penn State finished second in the NCAA West Regional Championships on April 9, scoring a 195.375. UCLA took home the regional title with a 197.025. Freshman Kristal Uzelac (Johnstown, Pa.) claimed the uneven bars title with a 9.900, her seventh straight crown in the event.
For more information on the Penn State women¡¯s gymnastics team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.