Women's Gymnastics Hands Out Yearly Awards, Names New Captains
May 6, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team handed out its yearly awards on Sunday, May 2 at their annual postseason banquet. In addition, head coach Steve Shephard announced the 2010-11 team captains, junior Danielle Hover (Hamburg, N.Y.) and sophomore Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.).
Hover has been a consistent contributor during her three seasons with the Nittany Lions. She competed in 12 meets this season on vault, averaging a 9.683, and six meets on beam, averaging a 9.675. Benckso earned All-America status as a freshman and competed in the all-around in seven meets in 2010 before suffering a season-ending injury. She averaged a 38.664 in the all-around, including scoring a season-high 39.300 in her last full meet of the season.
Not all of the Penn State women's gymnastics team awards are given out each year. Each individual award is bestowed upon an athlete who lives up to the legacy of the person for whom the award was named. In all, 11 total awards were handed out.
Senior Brandi Personett (Katy, Texas) led the way with four awards. She shared her first award with sophomore bars specialist Natalie Ettl (Waukesha, Wis.). The pair was honored with the Lisa Ingebretsen Competitive Excellence award, which honors an individual who consistently rises to the competition and performs well under pressure. Personett was then welcomed into the 10.0 Club after scoring a 10.0 on vault twice in 2010. Her third honor was the Jan Anthony/Katie Rowland Iron Horses award for the athlete who competes consistently in the all-around in every meet of the season. Her fourth and final award was the Allison Barber/Katie Rowland MVP award, which is given to the athlete who makes a scoring impact above and beyond the ordinary.
Bencsko earned two accolades, including the Lynn Crane and Janae Whittaker attitude award and the Kathy Parody Hard Work award. The attitude award was given to Bencsko because she keeps an upbeat attitude in and out of the gym, is highly motivated and completed team-oriented. She received the Hard Work award because of her strong work ethic. She never stops trying and always gives 100 percentage. It was Bencsko's second time earning the award.
The Joanne Beltz Balance Beam award will soon have a new name according to Shephard. Senior Casey Rorhbaugh (Spring Grove, Pa.) will have her name etched in the Penn State records for years to come as the Joanne Beltz Balance Beam award has been changed to the Casey Rohrbaugh/Joanne Beltz Balance Beam award. Rohrbaugh, who was honored as the 2010 recipient, has set a new standard of consistency on beam having hit her beam routine in every meet for three seasons straight.
Junior Melissa Klein (Oceanside, N.Y.) not only puts forth a strong effort in the gym, but also in the classroom. Klein earned the Bernie Robertson Scholar-Athlete award, given to the team member with the highest cumulative GPA.
Team manager Meghan Shanfelter was also recognized for her behind the scenes efforts. Shanfelter has a strong love for the team and a deep desire to contribute. Shephard feels Shanfelter is much more than a team manager, but wanted to honor her with the Shelly Nelson Management award, which is given to an individual who is always will to sacrifice for the team and handles all tasks with energy and enthusiasm. The final award given out was the Lee Kolos/Bob Rittenbaugh Service Award. The award was given to photographer Lloyd Smith, who has shared many of his images with the team.
For more information on the Penn State women's gymnastics team, please visit GoPSUsports.com.