This Big Ten match up between the Nebraska Huskers and Penn State Nittany Lions should be an exciting one. Fans haven’t seen anything from the Huskers yet, but they’ve looked prepared in preseason training. Look for freshman Kynsee Roby to debut strong bars and beam routines, and for classmate Karley Hutchinson’s big double front on floor. Nebraska brings back a large slate of returners. Sienna Crouse is a good chance for the all arounde, and we’re likely to see Danielle Breen, Megan Schweihofer and Abbie Epperson on three pieces each. Nebraska lineups are always a bit of a mystery, though, since it has so many gymnasts capable of the all around. Expect some surprises.
Penn State opened its season last week with a win over Eastern Michigan, featuring four all arounders, all with no major errors: freshmen Alissa Bonsall and Lauren Bridgens, as well as junior Sabrina Garcia and senior Briannah Tsang. Expect them to return to four events this week. The Nittany Lions didn’t show off their highest difficulty against EMU; coach Sarah Shire Brown has said early in the season the team is focusing less on difficulty and more on clean gymnastics, so don’t look for upgrades just yet. Scoring across the Big Ten has been tight so far this season, so expect that to continue in Happy Valley today.
Injury report: Nebraska sophomore Taylor Houchin had knee surgery in September. She has been training bars, but will likely not be in the lineup just yet.
We’re getting close!
Meet day! We host Nebraska at Rec Hall at 4 PM! pic.twitter.com/twi11dDddA
— Penn State Women’s Gymnastics (@PennStateWGYM) January 13, 2018
This is PSU’s pink meet, and a throwback meet! So we should see some fun leos.
First touch starting NOW!
Here is today's starting lineup for our meet against Nebraska! pic.twitter.com/0EnXFYU4Xy
— Penn State Women’s Gymnastics (@PennStateWGYM) January 13, 2018
Rotation 1: Penn State vault, Nebraska bars
Gianna Laguardia (PSU): Nice FTY, good distance, just a step back. 9.75, good start.
Kynsee Roby (NU): Good to see her in the lineup! Coming off an ACL. Hect mount, blind
+Jaeger, nice, pak, gorge. Sole circle her lines are amazing. Little piked in the giants, but perf straight body dlo. 9.85
Sabrina Garcia (PSU): FTY, tiny hop, some shoulder angle on the table. 9.825
Taylor Houchin (NU): Surprised to see her back! HUGH Tkatchev. Nice bail hand, gorgeous toes. Hitting handstands. Giant 1/1 + double tuck. Awesome routine just months out of surgery. 9.875
Alissa Bonsall (PSU): Lovely FTY! Nice in the air. 9.775
Dani Breen (NU): Hop change, misses it and off. Redoes the hop change, same problem. Just getting stuck trying to straddle up to handstand. Rough start to her season. Up again, hits it this time, Jaeger some legs, bail hand nice. Little shy last handstand. DLO, just a step. 8.675
Kourtney Chinnery (PSU): Big FTY, hop back, little legs in the air. 9.85
Megan Schweihofer (NU): Long wait for Breen’s score. Lot’s of pressure to perform now. Hect mount, nice. Blind + piked Jaeger huge + bail. Nailing handstands. DLO, some form, but great landing. Good comeback routine. 9.825
Lauren Bridgens (PSU): TIGHT FTY. Good distance. Tiny hop. 9.8
Catelyn Orel (NU): Great to see her back from a RS season. Tkatchev little low. Toe hand good, nice bail hand. Short last handstand. DLO falls to her knees. NU counting a fall now. 9.025
Briannah Tsang (PSU): Y1.5, better knees than last week, step forward. Nice. 9.825
Abbie Epperson (NU): Hect mount, shy first handstand blind + Jaeger solid. Bail hand, some leg sep. Great last handstand. DLO, some piking, but good landing. 9.8
Mason Hosek (PSU – exhibition): FTY, knees, lands chest down but stuck.
Torri Hutchinson (NU – exhibition): Hect mount, big first handstand almost over blind +jaeger + bail solid, but low. Giant full + open double tuck, good landing. That’s an option for the lineup.
PSU vault: 49.075; NU bars: 48.375
Nebraska showed some nerves there. The Huskers won’t be thrilled with that bars total. Penn State, however, had a great rotation. Vaults are much cleaner than last week, with tighter landings. The Nittany Lions did work in the gym this week. This could turn into a very close contest.
Rotation 2: Penn State bars; Nebraska vault
Missed the first vault! Sorry folks! It was Grace Williams for a 9.7
Tess McCracken (PSU): Tkatchev, some legs, bail hand just a tiny bit sloppy in the legs. Toe hand nice, stalder + double tuck, great! 9.8
Karley Hutchinson (NU): FTY, some legs, good landing. 9.775
Ava Verdeflor (PSU): Made the lineup after exhbition last week! Blind + Jaeger, GORGEOUS. Her toes! Bail hand, nice, caught right in handstand. NAILS the last handstand, giant full + double tuck, hands down. Agh, so pretty though. 9.25
Anika Dujakovich (NU): Clean FTY, good landing! Little hop forward. 9.825
Bridgens (PSU): Maloney + bail, nice. Little shy last handstand, giant full + double tuck, stuck. 9.875
Epperson (NU): Big flared FTY, tiny big of knees in the air, great landing. 9.875
Gracia (PSU): Hect mount, blind + piked Jaeger, little low, toe hand, bail hand nice. Good last handstand, dlo, stuck. 9.85
Schweihofer (NU): Huge, stuck FTY. Lovely. 9.9
Bonsall (PSU): Ray, nice. Bail, good last handstand, dlo, stuck. Very nice routine. 9.9!
Sienna Crause (NU): Y1.5, stuck I think, really nice last vault. 9.95
Tsang (PSU): Hect mount, blind + Jaeger, nice, bail, gorgeous toes. Great last handstand, DLO, just some leg sep, but stuck. Ooo PSU is here to fight! 9.9
Mikayla Curtis (NU – exhibition): Nice FTY, good landing. That could make lineup.
Kristin Politz (PSU – exhibition): Blind + Jaeger, lovely toes, bail. Her extension is great. Blind + double front, just shuffles her feet. Nice routine.
PSU: 49.324; NU: 49.325
Running scores: PSU: 98.4; NU: 97.7
That rotation was FIRE from both teams. Scores started strong and built. It is not a typo: that was a tied second rotation. This meet is heating up. Nebraska will have to really outshine Penn State in the second half to makeup ground from the first rotation. But, keep in mind that PSU’s biggest struggles came on beam last week. Keep an eye on this one!
Rotation 3: Penn State beam; Nebraska floor
McCracken (PSU): Jump split mount. Wolf turn, no problems. She looks calm, after being wobbly last week. Front aerial + bhs, solid. Nice in the air. Cat leap + side aerial, misses her feet and slides off. Rough to have a fall right off the bat. Split jump + double stag, nice, good recovery. Bhs + gainer layout off the side. 9.175
Epperson (NU): Pink Panther music. Front double to start, really solid. Back 1.5 + front lay, nice landing, good in the air. She moves really crisply. Switch ring + wolf full, little low back leg on the ring. Fhs rudi to end, good landing. Great leadoff. 9.75
Peyton Schuller (PSU): Switch + straddle 1/4, little off but saves it. Front aerial + bhs, looks a little tentative. Cat leap + front toss + beat, solid. Front full dismount, nice recovery from the fall before her. 9.725
Dujakovich (NU): This announcer has no idea how to pronounce her name. Big double pike, some knees in the air but great landing. She’s performing the choreo well. Back 1.5 + front full, good, not the best twisting form but not bad. Tour jete 1/2 + popa. Fhs rudi to end, still some twisting form. Pretty nice! 9.7
Bonsall (PSU): Bhs loso, steps back but doesn’t really wobble. Switch, low back leg, wobble. Split jump + straddle 1/4. PSU still looking nervy on beam. Cat leap + side aerial, drops a shoulder. Front full, step forward. Just okay. 9.6
Sierra Hassel (NU): Front double full to start, really nice in the air. Random cartwheel loso for back tumbling requirement. Fhs front full front lay, pretty. Tour jete + split full, I think. Fhs rudi to end. 9.75
Bridgens (PSU): Hitch kick + front toss, little wobble. Switch + split, pretty good in the air. Bhs loso, drops her shoulder and falls. PSU now counting a fall on beam. Gainer loso, gorgeous. Round off 1.5 dismount, good landing. Almost forgets to salute. 9.175
Williams (NU): Double pike, really secure landing. Front lay rudi, really solid. She’s owning these landings. Tour jete half + popa, pretty good splits. Double tuck, controlled step. Great routine. 9.775
Tsang (PSU): Standing loso loso, gorgeous and secure as always. Cat + switch straddle half, big wobble. Side somi, nice. Bhs full + full dismount, lovely. 9.8
Crouse (NU): Fhs front double full + punch front, gorgeous. Back 1.5 + front lay, nice. Tour jete half + popa, really didn’t get the popa close to all the way around. The cuts in this music are odd. Rudi loso to end, nice. 9.675 hit for those jumps.
Hosek (PSU): Split mount, pretty. Side aerial + beat, not super connected but secure. Bhs loso, some back leg form but solid. Switch + straddle 1/4, really nice. Front aerial, balance check. Cat leap + gainer full off the side. 9.8
Schweihofer (NU): Full in nice! Chest a little low on the landing. Front lay rudi, not the tightest twisting form, but good landing. Tour jete half + wolf full. One of the prettier wolf fulls out there. Double tuck, great landing. Nice anchor routine. 9.825
Politz (PSU – exhibtion): Front aerial bhs, bobbled between them and off on the bhs. Cat leap + side aerial drops a shoulder. Cat leap + switch side, gorgeous split and toes! Gainer full off the side, stuck. She’ll be an asset if she can get that series.
K Hutchinson (NU – exhibition): MASSIVE double front, steps out of bounds. Front lay + front full, steps out again. Switch + tour jete half. Back 1.5 + punch front to end. She needs to control that tumbling.
PSU: 48.1; NU: 48.8
Running total: PSU: 146.5; NU: 146.5
We are tied! Nebraska had a solid but not spectacular floor, but it was enough to catch Penn State. The Nittany Lions struggled once again on beam, where wobbles and falls took them down. This is starting to look like a pattern. This is anyone’s meet now.
After the third rotation: Penn State 146.500, Nebraska 146.500. pic.twitter.com/CDOxXlxM8b
— Penn State Women’s Gymnastics (@PennStateWGYM) January 13, 2018
Rotation 4: Penn State floor, Nebraska beam
Roby (NU): Rough to go from first routine to last rotation! Gorgeous handstand mount. Front aerial bhs bhs, completely solid. Sissone + switch side quarter, nice. Side aerial + full, just a tiny hop. Good first meet for her! 9.825
McCracken (PSU): Back 1.5 + front lay, little crunch in the landing, but good otherwise. Back 1.5 + front pike, good. Switch ring, not really ring + tour jete half. Valdez, love those! Fhs rudi, rough in the punch, doesn’t get it around, ouch. She seems fine. 9.45, out of a 9.9 SV.
Epperson (NU): Little bobble on full turn. Bhs loso Switch + straddle, nice. Cat leap + front toss + beat jump, fine. Cartwheel + gainer full off the side. Nice routine. 9.75
Politz (PSU): Long wait for McCracken’s score. Crowed chanting “WE ARE. PENN STATE” “THANK YOU. YOU’RE WELCOME.” Adorable. BIG back 2.5 to open, just a step to the side. Pretty in the air. Back 1.5 + front lay (or full, missed it), nice landing. Switch to tour jete full. Back 1.5 + front tuck, little sloppy in the tuck. 9.675
Schweihofer (NU): Bhs lay to two feet. Nice! Little piked, but that’s okay in NCAA. Back hitch kick into swing down choreo, interesting. Switch + switch half, bobbles and bends at the hip. Roundoff double, some legs in the air. 9.825
Bridgens (PSU): Big double tuck; that should be a double Arabian by end of season. Fhs rudi loso, little sloppy in the rudi. Tour jete + split full. Fhs front full front lay, solid. 9.7
Breen (NU): We’ll see if she’s recovered mentally from bars. Looks comfortable. One arm bhs loso, just slightly off, covers it. Split jump + sheep, little sloppy in the sheep but good height. Full turn with leg behind her. This routine is packed with originality. Round off 1.5, gets lost in the air and sits it. 9.35
Bonsall (PSU): Big double pike, over cooks it and steps out. They’ll take for OOB and uncontrolled step for that. Tour jete full + popa. Half + front full, nice. Double tuck, too open and she falls forward to hands. 9.05
Hassel (NU): Beam music is Everybody Dance Now! Bhs loso, big wobble saves it. Nice front aerial. Split + sheep, nice. Round off 1.5 stuck cold. NU needed that. 9.75
Garcia (PSU): Double tuck, nice, they’re being cautious with difficulty now. Double pike, no problems. Switch side + popa, nice splits and toes! Back 1.5 + front lay, some knees to get the lay around. 9.825
Williams (NU): She looks very focused. Bhs loso loso solid, lovely. Cat leap + switch. Very secure and confident movement. Side aerial + full, stuck. Veteran coming in clutch. 9.925
Tsang (PSU): Piked full in, just some leg sep on the second flip. Back 1.5 + barani, nice. Tour jete half + popa, not the biggest splits. Double pike, no problems. Great routine. 9.8
Crouse (NU – exhibition): Missed the beginning. Switch + straddle 1/4. Front toss + bhs, little tentative, Gainer full off the end. Decent routine, could see that in the lineup.
Chinnery (PSU – exhibition): She didn’t know which judge to look at, SSB had to set her straight. Whip + double pike, nice! Random punch front. Switch side + popa. Whip + double tuck, lands pretty deep. Nice!
PSU: 48.55; NU: 49.05
Phew what a meet! Nebraska battled back to take it, with a solid beam lineup. Penn State looked a little tired on floor, just missing some landings and jump series. Both teams have work to do, but look very promising.
Final: Penn State: 195.05; Nebraska: 195.55
Vault: Sienna Crouse, 9.95
Bars: Alissa Bonsall and Briannah Tsang, 9.9
Beam: Grace Williams, 9.925
Floor: Tsang, 9.9
AA: 1. Tsang, 39.425; 2. Megan Schweihofer, 39.375; 3. Abbie Epperson, 39.175
Live blog by Emily Minehart