April 7, 2012
The Big Ten will send two teams and six gymnasts to the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships following the conclusion of the NCAA Regional competitions on Saturday night. Nebraska and Ohio State will head to the national meet after finishing second at their respective regional sites, while Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State will send individual all-around competitors to the championships, scheduled for April 20-22 at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
At the Raleigh Regional, Ohio State placed second to advance to the national meet for the first time since 1990. The Buckeyes totaled 196.225 points to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championships. In addition, head coach Carey Fagan was named Central Region Head Coach of the Year. Also at the regional, Penn State’s Sharaya Musser finished third overall in the all-around with a score of 39.450, but will head to the NCAA Championships for being one of the top two finishers in the all-around not on an advancing team. As a team, Penn State finished fourth with a score of 195.650. Also, Musser was named Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year and head coach Jeff Thompson was named Northeast Region Head Coach of the Year.
Nebraska finished second in the Salt Lake City Regional to clinch its berth to the NCAA Championships, the 21st time it will appear at the national meet, posting a team total of 196.525. Nebraska’s Jessie DeZiel finished as the all-around champion, posting a score of 39.400. Minnesota finished third in the team standings, but will send two gymnasts to the national competition after placing as the top finishers in the all-around not on an advancing team. Dusti Russell finished fifth in the all-around (39.125) and Kayla Slechta (39.025) was seventh to earn bids to the NCAA Championships.
At the Auburn Regional, Michigan placed third with a season-high score of 196.325, but advanced two gymnasts, Katie Zurales and Joanna Sampson, to the NCAA Championships. Zurales finished fourth in the all-around with a score of 39.375 and was the highest all-arounder not on a qualifying team. She also tied with Sampson for the regional championship on the vault (9.925). Also at the regional, Michigan State finished sixth in the team standings, recording a squad score of 194.050.
At the Champaign Regional, the host Illini finished third in the team standings, recording a total of 195.725. Pacing Illinois was the regional all-around champion Alina Weinstein, who finished with the highest all-around score of 39.450 to earn a berth in the national competition. At the Seattle Regional, Iowa finished fifth in the team standings, posting a score of 194.600.