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April 27, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team held its annual banquet on Saturday, April 27 at the Nittany Lion Inn. Both gymnasts and supporters were honored for their contributions and commitment during the 2013 season.
"The banquet is always one of the highlights of the year; but, as much as it is a celebration, it is also sad to say goodbye to the seniors in their last official gymnastics event," head coach Jeff Thompson said. "I love hearing all the laughter during the video."
"The end of the year banquet is one of the most special events of our season," associate head coach Rachelle Thompson said. "It's one of the few times we get to see our ladies all dressed up and they are just a beautiful group. Not to mention, Jeff's video is always the main event at the banquet!"
"In our sport, athletes on our team are quite often overlooked and the banquet allows us the opportunity to truly honor each and every one of them for their dedication to our program and Penn State University," Rachelle Thompson continued. "It's also just a great celebration and coming together of family, friends and supporters of our program. We are blessed to have such wonderful people involved with this program."
Seniors Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) shared the Allison Barber/Katie Rowland MVP award. Musser was also selected as the Jan Anthony/Katie Rowland Iron Horse Award as the most consistent member of the team and one who competes in the all-around in every meet. Merriam also took home the Heart of a Lion/Kelly Streicher award, which honors the senior who inspires others through her unyielding spirit, tireless determination and passionate commitment to the glory of Penn State.
Junior Lindsay Musgrove (League City, Texas) claimed the Bernie Robertson Scholar Athlete Award for displaying excellence in classroom and contributing to the team. She earned a 3.73 GPA in the fall semester and touts a 3.89 cumulative GPA. Freshman Savannah Soares (Providence, R.I.) picked up the Pat Spisak Team Spirit Award as the individual extremely proud to represent Penn State and displaying team spirit to other, while freshman Samantha Musto (Mays Landing, N.J.) earned the Carey Hoyt/Kelly Streicher Perserverance Award as the individual who overcomes setbacks and injuries with a correct attitude. Sophomore Krystal Welsh (Bowie, Md.) claimed the Pam Loree Leadership award as the individual who displayed leadership qualities at all times with an unselfish attitude and leadership by example.
The Hariston/Samuels Improvement Award went to sophomore Lexi Carroll (Olney, Md.), while the Kathy Parody Hard Work award as the team member who displays a great work ethic throughout the year and always gives 100 percent was given to freshman Kelsey Kreider (Bethlehem, Pa.).
Welsh and junior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) were the recipients of the Joanne Beltz/Casey Rohrbaugh Balance Beam award. This award is given to all individuals who hit every beam routine in each meet competed. Stauder also garnered the Lisa Ingebresen Competitive Excellence Award, which is given to the individual who rises to the competition and performs well under pressure.
Steve Hass was honored as the Lee Kolos/Bob Ritenbaugh Service Award winner as the individual not directly involved with team, but who goes above and beyond to help the team in all possible ways. Hass has been the public address announcer for the past 13 years for the Nittany Lion women's gymnastics program.
The Booster Club handed out a trio of awards. Junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) earned the Bill Conway Hugs award, while freshman Hannah Kobman (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned the Penn State Pride award. Whitney Bencsko, who has been assisting with women's gymnastics meets for the past five years, won the Booster Club Award for support and promotion of the team and program.
The Nittany Lion women's gymnastics teams finished the season 15th in the country after posting a 14-5 regular-season record. Penn State also excelled out of the gym, winning the Penn State CHAMPS Cup for community service for the third consecutive season.
Individually, Musser capped an outstanding career with an individual all-around trip to the NCAA Championships. She captured All-America status in the beam (second team) and all-around (second team) to go along with first team All-Big Ten honors. Merriam also garnered first team All-Big Ten status and also took home a pair of Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week accolades during the season. In addition, Stauder earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and Musto was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week award winner.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team is on Twitter. Follow @PennStateWGYM 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/PSUWomensGymnastics.