Lions Cap Successful Season at No. 12 in National Polls

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May 1, 2014

 

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 5, 2014 - Penn State closed out the season with their 17th appearance at the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. The Nittany Lions secured a team score of 194.825 to finish as the No. 12 team in the nation at season's end.

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Throughout the season, the Nittany Lions battled with some of the nation's top programs. Of their 42 opponents, 19 of them were ranked among the top-25 at the time of the meeting and 13 of them ended the year among the top-25.

Penn State had at least three gymnasts compete in the all-around in every meet during the 2014 season, with Sanabria-Robles and Welsh competing in the competition in all 14 meets. Stauder competed in the all-around in 12 meets and Lau made touches on all four events in nine meets. Of Penn State's 335 overall routines in 2014, those four gymnasts accounted for 260 of them. That made up 78 percent of the team's touches on the year.

As a team, the 2014 edition became the first team in program history to top the 20-win mark in the regular season. They finished the year 20-3 overall and owned a 5-2 mark in Big Ten competition. They went 7-1 at home and 13-2 on the road during the regular season to reach the historical mark.

Senior Kassidy Stauder had one of the most consistent final campaigns than any other Penn State student-athlete in program history, earning All-American honors on the balance beam and a nod on the first team All-Big Ten squad. As the top all-arounder on the team, Stauder led by example and had multiple awards named/re-named in her honor.

Six Nittany Lions came away with Academic All-Big Ten honors, as Hannah Kobman, LindsayMusgrove, SamanthaMusto, SavannahSoares and Alex Witt joined Stauder as some of the top student-athletes in Big Ten women's gymnastics. Those six helped Penn State collect a school-record 65 student-athletes earning winter academic All-Big Ten accolades.

Head coach Jeff Thompson became just the third coach in NCAA history to lead two different programs to the NCAA Championships. He led Auburn to the national summit in 2003 before guiding the Nittany Lions back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009. Former Penn State head coach Judi Markell also accomplished the feat, leading the Nittany Lions and Florida to the national meet.

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Lions Hand Out Season-Ending Awards
The Nittany Lions handed out their season ending awards on Saturday (April 26) and eight student-athletes and two contributors to the program were honored.

Senior Kassidy Stauder walked away with a trio of awards, including the Barber-Rowland MVP Award and Kelly Streicher Heart of a Lion Award, and was honored by having her name added to a pair of awards. The Kassidy Stauder Four-Year Achievement Award will be handed out starting in 2015 to someone who displays consistency and a desire to help the program in any way needed.

After hitting on every one of her 45 career balance beam routines, Stauder was named the recipient of the Beltz-Rohrbaugh Balance Beam Award for the third time in her career and will have her named added to that award in 2015.

Fellow senior Lindsay Musgrove earned the Bernie Robertson Scholar-Athlete Award for the second straight season. The bio-behavioral health major currently owns a 3.98 GPA and was named Penn State’s recipient of the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship.
Junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) received the Anthony-Rowland Iron Horse Award and junior Krystal Welsh earned the Lisa Ingebretsen Competitive Excellence Award .

Junior Alex Witt and freshman Nicole Medvitz were named co-recipients of the Hoyt-Streicher Perseverance Award after each of them dealt with injury during the 2014 season.
The Nittany Newcomer Award winner was freshman Emma Sibson and Dr. Lee Kolos, one of the namesakes for the Kolos-Ritenbaugh Service Award, was bestowed the honor for the fifth time since it was first given out in 1989.

Barber-Rowland MVP: Kassidy Stauder
Anthony-Rowland Iron Horse Award: Sidney Sanabria-Robles
Ingebretsen Competitive Excellence Award: Krystal Welsh
Hoyt- Streicher Perseverance Award: Alex Witt & Nicole Medvitz
Bill Conway “Hugs” Award: Lexi Carroll
Beltz-Rohrbaugh Balance Beam Award: Kassidy Stauder
Bernie Robertson Scholar-Athlete Award: Lindsay Musgrove
Kolos-Ritenbaugh Service Award: Dr. Lee Kolos
Kelly Streicher Heart of a Lion Award: Kassidy Stauder
Booster Club Award: Mary Bolich
Penn State Pride Award: Lindsay Musgrove
Nittany Newcomer Award: Emma Sibson

Solid Showing at NCAA Summit
In their 17th appearance at the NCAA Championships, Penn State posted their fourth highest team score ever at the NCAA’s highest level. The Blue and White compiled a 194.825 to finish 12th in the 12-team field inside the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

The Lions tied for their highest NCAA Championships score on the floor exercise (49.175), equaling the 2000 team’s effort from the second semifinal in Boise, Idaho. Their 48.925 on the vault ranks second behind only the 2009 squads score from the first semifinal in Lincoln, Neb.

The 48.650 on the uneven bars is fifth in the school’s NCAA Championship record books. The 1998 squad owns the school’s best showing on the event at 49.125 in the second semifinal in Los Angeles.

The balance beam performance also ranks among the top-10 in school history. Their 48.075 sits eighth among Penn State’s 17 NCAA Championship scores. The current scoring system has been used since the 1991 NCAA Championship event, meaning 12 of the Nittany Lions competitions have come under the current system.

Schedule Step-Up for Lions
Even before the 2014 season started the Nittany Lions knew that their schedule would be a challenging one. The preseason poll saw six Big Ten team’s ranked in the top-20 - including Penn State - which tied for the most in the NCAA with the SEC.

Regular season opponent Kentucky was among the top-25 and Iowa State, which PSU opened their season against, sat just outside the top-25. Overall, 19 teams that PSU competed against in 2014 were among the top-25.

Throughout the season, Penn State found ranked opponents around nearly ever corner. After their season opener at No. 26 Iowa State they faced No. 21 Kentucky in a quad meet in Lexington. They then faced three straight ranked teams at the start of their Big Ten slate. The Blue and White traveled to No. 21 Ohio State before hosting No. 8 Nebraska and No. 11 Illinois in back-to-back weeks.

The Big Ten Quad meet at Michigan featured the No. 8 Wolverines and No. 13 Minnesota. The Big Ten Championships featured six total ranked teams, including Penn State, while the NCAA University Park Regional was comprised of four ranked squads counting the Nittany Lions.

At the NCAA Championships, Penn State had No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Nebraska in the Lions session of the championships.

Full Circle for Seniors
In 2010, Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder stepped on the University Park campus to begin their collegiate gymnastics careers as the first recruiting class under head coach Jeff Thompson.

Musgrove and Stauder both moved into the rotation immediately and opened their careers against No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Stauder made touches on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise, finishing fifth on the floor with a score of 9.700. Musgrove logged a 9.500 in the first of her 12 performances on the vault that season.

The duo headed back to the Yellowhammer State to cap off their careers with the programs 17th appearance in the NCAA Championships.

It was an incredible year for the pair, as Stauder earned All-America accolades on the balance beam and was a first team All-Big Ten performer. Musgrove made touches on the vault and floor exercise in all 14 meets this season.

They closed out their home careers at Rec Hall with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Regional and made the most of their opportunity under the bright lights in Alabama, where it all started.

Stauder led the team on the uneven bars (9.750), while Musgrove was a top the team charts on the floor exercise (9.850).

Six Nittany Lions Earn Academic All-B1G
The Nittany Lions excelled on the competition floor, along with producing a strong effort in the classroom during the 2013-14 season. Six Penn State gymnasts were named to the Big Ten winter Academic All-Conference squad. That is tied for the most under Thompson with the 2012 squad.

Overall, Thompson has seen 13 student-athletes earn academic All-Big Ten honors on 22 occasions during his four seasons on campus.

The 2014 honorees include:
Hannah Kobman, So. - Health & Human Development 
Lindsay Musgrove, Sr. - Biobehavioral Health
Samantha Musto, So. - Health & Human Development
Savannah Soares, So. - Education
Kassidy Stauder, Sr. - Childhood/Early Adolescent Education
Alexandra Witt, Jr. - Kinesiology 

Lions Post Top NCAA Postseason Score at NCAA Regional
When Penn State notched a 196.725 team score at the NCAA University Park Regional it was the second highest team score for the Nittany Lions in 2014. It was also the highest NCAA postseason score in school history, ranking 11th overall in program history.

Of the NCAA postseason team scores, nine of the top-10 have been accomplished at the NCAA Regional, with the only NCAA Championship score coming in 2009, the team’s last trip to the NCAA summit.

Three of the top 10 NCAA postseason scores have come under the watch of head coach Jeff Thompson. His 2013 squad scored 195.875 at the NCAA Regional and the 2011 squad totaled 196.850 in his first NCAA Regional with the Blue and White.

Trio Earn All-Big Ten Honors
After helping the 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 also had a great 2014 campaign. The junior competed in all 14 meets and made a touch during all 56 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 competed in the all-around in all 14 meets to make touches on in all 56 routines for the Blue and White this season.

Nittany Lions Among Top-10 in NCAA Championships Appearances
Penn State has qualified for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships on 17 occasions since the event began in 1982. Their 17 appearances rank 10th all-time and are third in the Big Ten, behind Michigan (21) and Nebraska (22).

Utah has advanced to all 33 of the women’s gymnastics championship events, while Alabama and Florida have competed at 32 of the 33 meets.

Here is the complete top-10 list;
1. Utah - 33
2. Alabama & Florida - 32
4. Georgia & UCLA - 30
6. LSU - 25
7. Nebraska -22
8. Michigan -21
9. Arizona State -19
10. Penn State -17

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., the 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
2014 - 20-3
2007 - 19-4
2005 - 18-5
1982 - 17-3
1981 - 16-0
1991 - 16-3

Thompson Joins Elite Company
Head coach Jeff Thompson headed back to the NCAA Championships for the second time as a head coach and his first as the leader of the Nittany Lions.

Thompson’s first appearance at the NCAA Championships came with Auburn in 2003 and he has now led the Nittany Lions back to the national summit for the first time since the program went in 2009. He became just the third head coach in NCAA history to navigate two different programs to the NCAA Championships, joining K.J. Kindler (Iowa State & Oklahoma) and Judi Markell (Penn State and Florida).

Thompson took Auburn to the championships during his fourth season at the helm of the program. The Tigers finished 12th at the 2003 NCAA Championships, posting a team score of 193.525. The Highland Heights, Ky., native guided Penn State to their 17th appearance at the NCAA Championships in his fourth year, as well. The Blue and White finished 12th with a team score of 194.825.


 

 

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