Illinois and Penn State's Fall Short of Super Six
April 16, 2009
The Penn State women's gymnastics team wrapped up day one of the 2009 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships team preliminaries with an overall mark of 196.100, good enough to finish in fifth place in Thursday's opening session at the University of Nebraska's Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Fighting Illini completed the second session of preliminary team competition in sixth place with an overall mark of 195.050, as both teams ended their run at the national team title.
A trio of Nittany Lion gymnasts earned a combined four NACGC/W All-American distinctions during the session, the highest number of different individual All-Americans in a season in school history during the NCAA era, which began in 1982. Freshman Whitney Bencsko was recognized as an NACGC/W First Team All-American on vault, finishing fourth with a 9.900; junior Alexandra Brockway was named NACGC/W First Team All-America on bars; junior Brandi Personett also finished fourth on floor with a 9.875 to garner NACGC/W First Team All-American honors. Bencsko also earned Second Team All-America honors in the all-around, finishing sixth with a 39.300.
Bencsko (vault), Brockway (bars) and Personett (floor) all advanced to the NCAA Championship individual event finals, slated for Saturday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m. (CT). In addition to qualifying for the event finals, Bencsko finished sixth in the all-around while Personett tied for tenth place, posting scores of 39.300 and 39.200, respectfully. Georgia's Courtney Kupets took home the top score with a first-place 39.800, tying the NCAA all-around record.
Two Illini individuals claimed All-America honors, the most in a single-season in school history. Sophomore Melissa Fernandez tied for first place on the balance beam in the evening session with a 9.900 mark to earn first team All-America status and advance to Saturday's individual event final on the event. She is the first Illini gymnast to earn either distinction at the NCAA Championships. Junior Sarah Schmidt also earned an All-America accolade, tying for sixth place on floor in the evening session to earn second team honors.
Michigan sophomore Kylee Botterman shared a piece of second place on the floor exercise in Thursday evening's second session, earning All-America first team honors with a 9.875 and advancing to Saturday's individual event finals. Botterman will compete in the floor exercise at the NCAA Individual Event Championships on Saturday for a chance to earn an individual national title.
Ohio State's Rebecca Best earned second team All America honors on the floor exercise after scoring a 9.850 to finish in sixth place. After qualifying as an individual in the all-around, the sophomore Buckeye tied for 18th place with a 39.050, highlighted by a career-high tying 9.850 mark on vault, good enough for 11th place.
Georgia, Florida and LSU advanced to Friday's Super Six Finals, along with Alabama, Arkansas and UCLA, as the Bruins used a tiebreaker to edge out Utah for the final spot. The Super Six is slated for Friday at 6 p.m (CT) at the Devaney Center.