ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Michigan women’s gymnastics team was named the preseason favorite in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the conference office announced on Thursday. The Wolverines were followed by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Illinois, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Minnesota. Penn State was picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten standings, followed by No. 7 Maryland and No. 8 Michigan State. Iowa and Rutgers rounded out the preseason poll at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.
The Big Ten also announced the 2015 Gymnasts to Watch List, with eight returning All-Big Ten student-athletes headlining the list. First-team returners include Michigan State’s Alina Cartwright, Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable and Nebraska’s Jessie DeZiel. Returning second-team honorees include reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Nicole Artz of Michigan, Illinois’ Erin Buchanan, Iowa’s Sydney Hoerr, Minnesota’s Madeline Hanley and Penn State’s Krystal Welsh.
Illinois’ Mary Jane Horth, Iowa’s Angel Metcalf, Michigan State’s Lisa Burt and Ohio State’s Tenille Funches were also featured on the Gymnasts to Watch List, along with four freshmen: Michigan’s Brianna Brown, Nebraska’s Grace Williams, Ohio State’s Taylor Harrison and Penn State’s Briannah Tsang.
In their first seasons in the Big Ten, Maryland’s Abbie Epperson and Stephanie Giameo and Rutgers’ April Baker and Luisa Leal were also named to the list. The 2015 Big Ten women’s gymnastics season gets underway in January.
Last season, Minnesota and Nebraska shared the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championship after finishing with 6-1 Big Ten records, while Michigan earned the 2014 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships title.
The complete Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Gymnasts to Watch List can be found below.
BIG TEN WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
4. Ohio State
6. Penn State
8. Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN’S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Erin Buchanan, So., Illinois
Mary Jane Horth, So., Illinois
Sydney Hoerr, Sr., Iowa
Angel Metcalf, So., Iowa
Abbie Epperson, Fr., Maryland
Stephanie Giameo, Sr., Maryland
Nicole Artz, So., Michigan
Brianna Brown, Fr., Michigan
Lisa Burt, Jr., Michigan State
Alina Cartwright, Sr., Michigan State
Madeline Hanley, Jr., Minnesota
Lindsay Mable, Jr., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, Sr., Nebraska
Grace Williams, Fr., Nebraska
Tenille Funches, So., Ohio State
Taylor Harrison, Fr., Ohio State
Briannah Tsang, Fr., Penn State
Krystal Welsh, Sr., Penn State
April Baker, So., Rutgers
Luisa Leal, Sr., Rutgers