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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's gymnastics program held its annual end of season banquet on Sunday, April 29, at the Nittany Lion Inn. The Nittany Lions honored both gymnasts and supporters of the program at the banquet.
“Our banquet was a great opportunity to recognize the success our team had this season,” head coach Sarah Brown said. “Being able to honor each athlete’s achievements in front of our friends, families, donors and administration was really special and I think the team really enjoyed it.”
In all, six Nittany Lions and Dr. Jon Nese were honored with awards at the banquet.
Alissa Bonsall (Higganum, Conn.) brought home the Kathy Parody Hard Work award. The Kathy Parody Hard Work award is given to an individual who displays an unbelievable work ethic, who never stops trying, sweats more than anyone, and is always willing to give 100 percent.
During her freshman year in 2018, Bonsall competed on vault in all 13 team meets and competed on floor in 12 meets.
Freshman Lauren Bridgens (Darnestown, Md.) was tabbed with the Nittany Newcomer of the Year and 10.0 Club honor.
In her first year at Penn State, Bridgens advanced to the NCAA Championships in the all-around, tallied the first perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars in program history, was named a NACGC/W Second Team All-American (uneven bars), a First Team All-Big Ten honoree, and was tabbed a five-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree.
Kristen Politz (Morganville, N.J.) was tabbed with the Bernie Robertson Scholar-Athlete award. The Bernie Robertson Scholar Athlete award is handed out to an individual who displays excellence in the classroom while contributing to the team.
During her sophomore season, Politz competed on floor in all 13 team meets. In addition to competing on floor in every team meet, Politz competed on the balance beam in the final 11 team meets of the year.
Senior Briannah Tsang (Vancouver, British Columbia) received the Allison Barber/Katie Rowland MVP award and garnered the Jan Anthony/Katie Rowland Iron Horse award. The Jan Anthony/Katie Rowland Iron Horse award is handed out to an individual who performs consistently throughout the season and competes in the all-around in every meet.
In 2018, Tsang competed in the all-around in all 13 team meets, tied the No. 5 score in program history on the floor exercise (9.950) twice, and tied for the floor exercise title at the Big Ten Championships.
Tsang’s honors in 2018 included: four-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Year, National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches for Women (NACGC/W) Second Team All-American (floor exercise), and First Team All-Big Ten.
The Lee Kolos/Bob Rittenbaugh award was given to Dr. Nese. The award is given to an individual not directly involved with the team who goes out of his or her way to help the team in all possible ways.
“Dr. Nese has is our faculty athletics rep and he has been supportive of our team and staff all season,” Brown said. “He is at practices regularly and is always available to talk with our athletes regarding their academic futures. We really appreciate everything he has done for us this year.”
In addition to the Penn State team awards, the Penn State Women’s Gymnastics Booster Club handed out two awards with Sabrina Garcia (Etters, Pa.) winning the Penn State Pride award and Jessica Jones (Canfield, Ohio) winning the Penn State Booster Club award.
For Garcia, she competed in the all-around in nine meets, and was named a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree, while Jones did not compete in 2018 as she is recovering from an injury.
10.0 Club - Lauren Bridgens
Allison Barber / Katie Rowland MVP Award - Briannah Tsang
Bernie Robertson Scholar-Athlete Award - Kristen Politz
Jan Anthony / Katie Rowland Iron Horse Award - Briannah Tsang
Kathy Parody Hard Work Award - Alissa Bonsall
Lee Kolos / Bob Rittenbaugh Award - Dr. Nese
Nittany Newcomer of the Year - Lauren Bridgens
Penn State Booster Club Award – Jessica Jones
Penn State Spirit Award – Sabrina Garcia