Michigan and Penn State Advance to NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships

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For the fourth straight season, two Big Ten programs earned a spot in the 12-team field of the 2005 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, as Michigan won the South Central Regional and Penn State placed second in the West Regional on April 9. Both teams move on to the national team and individual finals, which will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, at the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Auburn in Auburn, Ala. In addition, Minnesota's Laura Johnson will compete in the individual competition after qualifying in the all-around. The Big Ten will be aiming for its first national title in women's gymnastics, as the League has recorded nine top-10 finishes in the last six years, with the Wolverines placing eighth in 2004.

Michigan, which earned a seventh straight Big Ten Championship on March 20, collected its 13th straight berth in the NCAA Championships and 14th appearance overall to lead all League schools. The Wolverines have registered a top-10 finish in each of the last 12 years, including six top-five finishes and a top showing of second place in 1999. Michigan posted the highest team score on the floor exercise (49.225) and uneven bars (49.350) en route to a first-place finish at the South Central Regional. The Wolverines tallied a score of 196.600, edging host Nebraska (196.300) and Missouri (195.100), to earn their sixth regional title in the last nine seasons. 
 Penn State advanced to its first NCAA Championships since the 2000 season, finishing second at the West Regional in Seattle, Wash. The Nittany Lions scored a 195.375, bested only by No. 3 UCLA (197.025), while host Washington finished third (195.000).

The 2005 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships will begin with two six-team sessions on Thursday, April 21. Michigan and Penn State will compete in the first session, which includes Louisiana State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah. Minnesota's Johnson will take part in the second session, which features defending national champion UCLA, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Iowa State and BYU. The top three teams from each session will advance to the Super Six competition Friday, April 22. The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition Saturday, April 23.