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ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team was selected fifth in the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the conference office Thursday afternoon. Along with the coaches' poll, freshman Lauren Bridgens (Darnestown, Md.) and senior Briannah Tsang (Vancouver, British Columbia) were named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list.
In the coaches' poll, Michigan was tabbed first followed by Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State. The poll was rounded out with Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan State, Maryland, and Rutgers.
Bridgens enters her first year as a Nittany Lion after competing at Hill's Gymnastics under coaches Kelli Hill, Cynthia Smaha, and Tian Zhang. Last summer, Bridgens tallied a pair of top-10 finishes at the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships, as she finished second on vault (9.875) and she tied for eighth on floor (9.625).
During her time at Penn State, Tsang has qualified for the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships each of the past two seasons. At the 2017 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, she placed 30th in the all-around with a score of 39.1000, and her best finish of the evening came on the floor exercise as she tied for 18th with a 9.9000.
The 2015 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, Tsang has won 41 career titles, has received All-Big Ten First Team honors twice (2016 & 2017), tallied All-Big Ten Second Team honors in 2015, and was named to the 2017 Big Ten All-Championships Team.
This past summer, Tsang was a part of Team Canada that captured a silver medal in artistic women's gymnastics at the 2017 World University Games. Individually, Tsang finished 11th in the all-around final with a score of 51.000. In the all-around final, she posted scores of 14.000 (vault), 11.850 (uneven bars), 12.950 (balance beam), and 12.200 (floor exercise).
Penn State returns 10 letterwinners from the 2017 season and welcomes four freshmen to the team in 2018.
The No. 25 Nittany Lions open the 2018 season against the No. 35 Eastern Michigan Eagles on Jan. 6 at Rec Hall. Season tickets and single meet tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY.
BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Rae Balthazor, So., Illinois
Bridget Hodan, Sr., Illinois*
Clair Kaji, So., Iowa
Lanie Snyder, Sr., Iowa*
Alecia Farina, So., Maryland
Audrey Barber, Fr., Maryland
Olivia Karas, Jr., Michigan*
Brianna Brown, Sr., Michigan*
Gabriella Douglas, So., Michigan State
Lea Mitchell, Fr., Michigan State
Hannah Hitchcock, Sr., Minnesota
Lexy Ramler, Fr., Minnesota
Megan Schweihofer, Jr., Nebraska*
Sienna Crouse, Jr., Nebraska*
Jenna Swartzentruber, Fr., Ohio State
Alexis Mattern, Sr., Ohio State
Briannah Tsang, Sr., Penn State*
Lauren Bridgens, Fr., Penn State
Elizabeth Groden, Sr., Rutgers
Makenzey Shank, Sr., Rutgers
* denotes 2016-17 Academic All-Big Ten Honoree