Well hello, Penn State.
After an unambitious beginning to its season, the Nittany Lions and first year coach Jeff Thompson are exploding. Penn State gymnasts posted a season-high 196.6 to win over Maryland (an impressive 195.3 as well), Rutgers (192.975) and William & Mary (186.975) Friday night in Maryland.
Penn State sophomore Sharaya Musser finished first in the all-around (39.575), on beam (9.925) and on floor (9.95, career high), while Natalie Ettl won bars yet again (9.975, career high). Penn State freshman Madison Merriam tied for the win on vault with Maryland’s Katy Dodds (9.925). (Penn State Nittany Lions)
Here’s what else happened Friday night in women’s NCAA action:
Alabama vs. Kentucky @ Alabama: And just when you think Alabama might not have what it takes to challenge for the NCAA title, they post another 197-plus score. It was 197.275, to be exact, and it blew away Kentucky’s 193.0. Bama’s Geralen Stack-Eaton, a former Parkette gymnast, won the all-around with a career high 39.675 and also posted a career numbers en route to winning bars (9.925) and floor (9.95). She shared the beam win with senior Kayla Hoffman (9.925), who also won vault (9.9). (Alabama Crimson Tide)
Arizona vs. Stanford @ Arizona: Arizona coach Bill Ryden’s reaction to his team’s 195.3-194.675 loss? “We just weren’t sharp enough,” he said. The bigger question is whether Stanford is going to be sharp enough now that the likes of Alabama are posting 197s. Shelley Alexander won the all-around in Tempe (39.15), and several Stanford gymnasts tied for event titles: Alexander, Alyssa Brown and Nicole Dayton each won a slice of the vault title (9.85), while Allyse Ishino, Nicole Pechanec and Kristina Vaculik all had first place finishes on beam (9.85). Brown won beam in her own right (9.825) and sophomore Ashley Morgan took top honors on floor (9.875).
Note: Ishino scored an alarming 6.0 on floor after rolling her ankle. Ishino did not finish her routine, and Stanford is waiting on some tests before it declares her status. Interestingly, the 2004 Olympic alternate’s brother Glen, who competes for Cal, tweaked his back at Winter Cup and may be out for a bit as well. (Stanford Cardinal)
Utah vs. Michigan @ Utah: The surprising, freshman-laden Utah squad stayed strong to beat surging Michigan 196.425-195.425 Friday night in Salt Lake City. Michigan star Kylee Botterman won the all-around 39.425 and vault (9.9) and landed in a four-way tie for first on beam with teammate Katie Zurales and Utah’s Cortni Beers and Fumina KobayashI (9.85s for everyone). The other events went to Utah — junior Stephanie McAllister won floor (9.9), and Gael Mackie scored 9.925 to win bars. (Utah Utes)
Florida vs. Auburn @ Florida: Florida blitzed another SEC opponent in its final home meet of the season, winning 196.85 to Auburn’s 194.95 in a meet where none of the Gators’s best competed in the all-around. Some familiar faces won event titles, however: Marissa King was best on vault (9.95), while Mackenzie Caquatto won uneven bars (9.9) and shared the beam victory with Ashanée Dickerson (9.875). Maranda Smith was the top gymnast on floor (9.9). Auburn’s Toi Garciawon the all-around (38.8). (Florida Gators)
Oklahma vs. Missouri @ Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s perfect Big 12 season is complete. The Sooners defeated Missouri 196.425-195.225 Friday night, capping off an undefeated 2011 campaign. The stars were out for OU’s final women’s conference meet — Natasha Kelley and Sara Stone shared the vault title (9.9), Megan Ferguson won bars (9.875) and beam (9.925), and Kayla Nowak won another title on floor (9.95). As usual, Oklahoma did not opt to put any gymnast on all four events, so the all-around title went to Missouri’s Mary Burke (39.275). (Oklahoma Sooners)
Iowa State vs. Iowa @ Iowa State: Who’s the best gymnastics team in Iowa? Well, that honor belongs to Iowa State. The Cyclones defeated their in-state rival on home turf, scoring an impressive 196.35 to Iowa’s 195.85. But it was Iowa’sRebecca Simbhudas who took the all-around title (39.475) and took vault (9.9) while also tying for the win on beam with Iowa State’s Michelle Shealy (9.9). Elsewhere, Iowa State’s Jody McKellar scored a meet-high 9.95 to win the bars title, while teammate Michelle Browning won floor (9.875). (Iowa Cyclones)
LSU vs. Georgia @ LSU: Georgia held on, but LSU made it close. The Gym Dogs beat their SEC opponent 196.5-196.35, and this week Jay Clark said he “felt good” about the way the team competed (as compared to last week, when he used “chicken” and a few other choice words to describe the performance.) But it was LSU’s Sarie Morrison who brought the house down for her team, winning the all-around (39.575), floor (9.9), vault (9.925) and bars (9.875). LSU’s Samantha Engle won beam (9.9), shutting Georgia out of the event titles. Looks like LSU has another Susan Jackson situation on its hands with Morrison. (Georgia Gym Dogs)
Arkansas vs. BYU @ Arkansas: Well, that was unexpected. No. 12 Arkansas, a comer in the SEC, fell to a strong BYU squad at home by no. 28 BYU, 195.1-195.025. Arkansas’s Jaime Pisani was the all-around champion (39.375) and also won floor (9.925) and vault (9.875), while teammate Katherine Grable was the best on beam (9.85). On bars, BYU’s Jennifer Lezeu and Raquel Willman all scored 9.8s. (Arkansas Razorbacks)
Arizona State vs. Washington @ Arizona State: Like Washington, Arizona State was a force to be reckoned with a decade ago, but both programs have fallen on harder times, and their Pac-10 rankings have suffered as a result. Both programs, despite being in a more-competitive-every-year Pac 10, have had a resurgence of late. On Friday night, however, ASU got the better of Washington, scoring a season high 195.75-195.45.
ASU’s Beate Jones won the all-around (195.75) and tied for the top score on floor with teammates Amanda Davies and Christina Salavec (9.825). Salavec and Washington’s Paige Bixler tied for the title on beam (9.825), while ASU’s Nicole Johnson and Washington’s Aliza Vaccher and Ruby Engreitz all had 9.875s on bars. Washington’s Amanada Cline won vault with a 9.925. (Washington Huskies)
Cal State Fullerton vs. Sacramento State @ Cal State Fullerton: Sac State won this battle of the smaller California gymnastics schools, posting 191.375 to easily top CSUF’s 188.725. Cal State’s Alaina Baker won vault (9.775) and floor (9.825), while Sac State gymnasts Amanda Blauvelt and Elideth Guerrero had the top scores on bars (9.775) and beam (9.8), respectively. Blauvelt also captured the all-around title (38.35). (CSUF Titans)
Illinois State vs. Seattle Pacific, Wisconsin-La Crosse and Ball State @ Illinois State: The Illinois State Redbirds posted a season-high 194.0 to top Ball State (192.75) and Division II schools Seattle Pacific (190.825) and Wisconsin-La Crosse (189.875). All-around winner Erica Schick of Illinois State (38.95) also scored 9.75 on vault was enough to take the event title, and she also tied teammate Apollonia Barrien for the win on bars (9.75). Ball State’s Nicole Allen posted the highest number of the meet with her 9.85 on beam, and Illinois State stalwart Hannah Deutsch scored 9.825 to claim the championship on floor. (Illinois State Redbirds)
Ohio State vs. Michigan State @ Ohio State: Ohio State continues to have good results. This week it beat Michigan state 195.3-192.675. OSU’s Colleen Dean was the star of the night, notching first place finishes in the all-around (39.15) as well as on floor (9.875), bars (9.8) and vault (9.8), where she tied with teammate Sarah Miller. OSU’s Rebecca Best completed the sweep by scoring 9.8 on beam, good enough for the event title. (Ohio State Buckeyes)
Southern Utah vs. San Jose State @ Southern Utah: San Jose State ended SUU’s undefeated conference win record Friday night, besting the Thunderbirds at home 195.425-193.7. San Jose State star Thomasina Wallace won the all-around (39.25) and vault (9.825), while teammate Aubrey Lee scored a meet-high 9.9 on beam. Southern Utah’s Alyssa Click won bars (9.825), while SUU’s Shannon Coughlin tied Katy Valleau for the title on floor (9.85). (Southern Utah University Thunderbirds)
Utah State vs. Boise State @ Utah State: Boise State won this battle of teams from less-populated states, besting Utah State 196.25-193.6. Boise State senior star Hannah Redmon won vault (9.925) and floor (9.875), while Amy Glass won the all-around (38.925). BSU’s Lacee Lang and Kelsey Lang (no relation) each posted 9.85s and shared the title on beam, while Utah State’s Nicole Simoneau was the best on bars (9.875). (Utah State Aggies)
Gustavus Adolphus vs. Wisconsin-Stout @ Gustavus Adolphus: Stout topped Gustavus Adolphus 178.75-173.4 in this Division II dual meet. Stout’s Jenna Lensing won the all-around (35.75) and bars (9.225), and three other gymnasts won event titles: Stout star Naomi Delara on vault (9.425), and Gustavus Adolphus’s Samantha Opsahl on beam (9.325, career high) and Danielle Thibodeau on floor (9.375). (Gustavus Adolphus Gusties)
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