Dec. 14, 2011
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Entering its first season as a member of the Big Ten, Nebraska has been selected by the conference's coaches as the preseason favorite in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Huskers won the Big 12 Championship a season ago and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Defending Big Ten Champion Michigan follows Nebraska in second, while Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois round out the top five. Iowa stands in sixth in the poll, followed by Minnesota in seventh and Michigan State in eighth.
The Big Ten also announced its 2012 Gymnasts to Watch List, with four 2011 All-Americans and eight All-Conference honorees highlighting the list. Illinois senior Kelsey Joannides and junior Alina Weinstein, Michigan junior Katie Zurales and Nebraska junior Janelle Giblin picked up All-America laurels a season ago, while Joannides and Giblin earned All-Conference honors as well.
Iowa senior Jessa Hansen, Ohio State junior Colleen Dean and sophomore Sarah Miller and Penn State junior Sharaya Musser were first-team All-Big Ten honorees in 2011, while Minnesota sophomore Kayla Slechta and Penn State junior Madison Merriam took home second-team accolades.
Minnesota junior Shannon Golich joins the group of upperclassmen on the list, while five underclassmen have been selected as gymnasts to watch. Iowa freshman Jessica Morreale, Michigan freshman Sachi Sugiyama, Michigan State freshman Alina Cartwright and sophomore Taira Neal, and Nebraska freshman Jessie DeZiel round out the list.
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
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Kelsey Joannides, Sr., Illinois
Alina Weinstein, Jr., Illinois
Jessa Hansen, Sr., Iowa
Jessica Morreale, Fr., Iowa
Sachi Sugiyama, Fr., Michigan
Katie Zurales, Jr., Michigan
Alina Cartwright, Fr., Michigan State
Taira Neal, So., Michigan State
Shannon Golich, Jr., Minnesota
Kayla Slechta, So., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, Fr., Nebraska
Janelle Giblin, Jr., Nebraska
Colleen Dean, Jr., Ohio State
Sarah Miller, So., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, Jr., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, Jr., Penn State