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Women's Gymnastics Signs Three

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Nov. 11, 2015

Tess McCracken Highlights

Kristen Politz Highlights

Mikayla Waddell Highlights

Tess McCracken (Plano, Texas), Kristen Politz (Morganville, New Jersey) and Mikayla Waddell (Ridgewood, New Jersey) have signed their National Letters of Intent to attend Penn State University and participate in women's gymnastics for the 2017 season, head coach Jeff Thompson announced Wednesday.

"It is going to be very exciting to add this level of talent to a team that will return all fourteen of our 2015-16 roster members," head coach Jeff Thompson said. "All of these young ladies are great All-Around gymnasts who will complement our current team's strengths and help fill our weak spots so well. We are thrilled that they have chosen Penn State and are now just counting the days until they arrive on campus."

McCracken, who trains at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, Texas, has been coached by Laurent Landi, Cecile Canqueteau-Landi and Natasha Boyarskaya.

She was the 2012 Texas level 10 state champion on balance beam as well as second place on uneven bars while tallying a third place in the all-around. McCracken went on to compete in the USA Junior Olympic National Championships where she finished in the top-10 in the nation on uneven bars and balance beam.

Coach Thompson on McCracken
"Tess is a great competitor whose gymnastics combines stunning beauty with the power necessary to compete at the Division I level. She is an outstanding all-around gymnast who has proven time and again to be one of the best in the state of Texas. Her gymnastics training at WOGA, combined with her outstanding work in the classroom, has prepared her to become a team leader here at Penn State."

McCracken on Penn State
"From the moment I stepped on campus, it felt like home and I can't wait to be officially part of the Penn State family."

The two-time Junior Olympic National Qualifier is a senior at Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas, and is the daughter of Broderick and Nancy McCracken.

McCracken's Accomplishments
2015 Junior Olympic National Qualifier
2015 Level 10 Regionals: 6th AA, 2nd BB
2015 Level 10 TX State: 6th AA, 2nd BB, 4th UB
2014 Junior Olympic National Alternate
2014 Level 10 Regionals: 9th AA, 2nd UB & 2nd FX
2014 Level 10 TX State: 7th AA, 6th UB
2012 Junior Olympic Nationals: 8th BB 10th UB
2012 Level 10 Regionals: 5th AA, 6th UB and 6th FX
2012 Level 10 TX State: 3rd AA, 1st BB, 2nd UB
2010 Level 9 Western Nationals: AA Champion, UB and FX Champion
2010 Level 9 Regionals: AA Champion, UB, BB & FX Champion
2010 Level 9 TX State: 4th AA

Politz currently trains at Rebound Gymnastics in Marlboro, New Jersey, and is coached by Bob and Diane Ferrell.

Kristen is a five-time, consecutive Junior Olympic National Championship qualifier where she first qualified at the age of 12 and placed first on floor exercise and first in the all-around at the National Invitational Tournament. In 2015, Politz finished sixth in the nation on uneven bars at the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships. During the same season, she was third on the balance beam at the Region Seven Championships and earned the title of New Jersey State champion in the all-around several weeks earlier by sweeping the titles on all four events.

In 2014, she finished first in the region on floor exercise and followed it up with a fourth place finish at the Junior Olympic National Championships.

Coach Thompson on Politz
"We have watched Kristen over the past four years and she has never ceased to amaze us. We are excited that she has decided to follow in her father's footsteps and make Penn State University her collegiate home. She has a history of standing atop of the award stand and we look forward to her helping us continue toward our own championship goals."

Politz on Penn State
"I chose Penn State because of the indescribable college spirit I experience every time I step onto campus. I just knew this was where I wanted to continue my gymnastics career and get a great education. I am thrilled to be able to spend my next four years here and look forward to spending it with amazing coaches and teammates."

Politz is a senior at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, New Jersey, and is the daughter of Ken and Mary Politz.

Politz's Accomplishments
2015 Junior Olympic Nationals: 6th UB
2015 Level 10 Regionals: 3rd BB, 4th AA
2015 Level 10 States: 1st VT, 1st UB, 1st BB, 1st FX, 1st AA
2014 Junior Olympic Nationals: 4th FX
2014 Level 10 Regionals: 1st FX, 3rd AA
2014 Level 10 States: 2nd VT, 2nd AA
2013 Junior Olympic Nationals: 7th UB
2013 Level 10 Regionals: 2nd BB, 2nd FX, 2nd AA
2013 Level 10 States: 2nd BB, 2nd FX, 2nd AA

Waddell, who trains at ENA Gymnastics in Paramus, New Jersey, is coached by Craig and Jennifer Zappa and John Wojtczuk and she, too, comes to Penn State with a great history.

In 2014, Waddell finished fourth in the nation on balance beam and seventh in the nation on Vault at the Junior Olympic National Championships.

She was also named the Region Seven vault, balance beam and all-around champion in 2014 as well as the state champion on balance beam. In 2013, she was the Region Seven champion on balance beam and in 2012, as a Level 9, she was the national champion on vault and balance beam at Eastern Nationals.

Coach Thompson on Waddell
"Mikki is a gymnast that has a ton of power. She will excel in college on the vault, beam and floor. I know our fans are going to love her gymnastics. She is one of the best student-athletes we have ever recruited and we are thrilled that she is coming to compete for Penn State."

Waddell on Penn State
"When you visit a school and it feels like home, you know that's where you belong. One of the first things I noticed was how passionate and proud everyone is about Penn State. I love the coaches and team and can't wait to compete for such a great school."

Waddell attends Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and is the daughter of Tom and Lori Waddell.

Waddell's Accomplishments
2014 Junior Olympic Nationals: 7th VT, 4th BB
2014 Level 10 Regionals: 1st AA, 1st VT, 1st BB, 3rd FX
2014 Level 10 State: 1st BB, 3rd VT
2013 JO Nationals: 7th VT, 8th FX
2013 Level 10 Regionals: 3rd AA, 1st BB, 2nd VT, 4th FX
2013 Level 10 State: 3rd AA, 3rd VT, 4th BB, 3rd FX
2012 Eastern Nationals: 4th AA, 1st VT, 1st BB, 2nd FX
2012 Level 9 Regionals: 2nd AA, 1st VT, 1st BB
2012 Level 9 State AA, VT and BB Champion




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