Huskers Drop Heartbreaker at NCAA Regionals - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Huskers Drop Heartbreaker at NCAA Regionals

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The No. 8 Nebraska women's gymnastics team finished third in a heartbreaker at the NCAA Morgantown Regional, earning a team score of 195.875. The Huskers missed a berth in the NCAA Championships by only .150 points, coming in behind Michigan (196.725) and Illinois (196.025). NU's performance marks the first time the squad has missed NCAA qualification since 2009. The Huskers will close their 2013 team campaign with a 16-3 (12-2) mark in regular season action and a 3-2 record in postseason competition.

Despite a difficult team finish, three Huskers earned individual berths at the NCAA Championships. Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel led the way, earning appearances as the top two all-around competitors not on qualifying teams. Wong finished second overall in the all-around with a 39.225, while DeZiel won a tiebreaker to advance with a 39.200. Brittany Skinner finished as the regional champion on vault (9.95) to qualify as well.

 

After beginning the evening on a bye, Nebraska opened competition on uneven bars. NU battled several uncharacteristic mistakes on the event, but rallied to earn a 48.875 team score. After the Huskers began with a fall on the event, Skinner displayed great focus to earn a team-best 9.85. Giblin snagged a team-leading 9.85 as well. DeZiel and Kassandra Nathe both had solid performances, earning identical marks of 9.80.

 

The Huskers moved to beam for the third rotation of the evening, earning a mark of 48.525. Wong led the way, bouncing back from a tough bar routine to earn an NU-best 9.825. Giblin and Jennifer Lauer each tacked on 9.725 routines for Nebraska, while DeZiel posted a 9.675.

 

Bye the third rotation, all six teams had competed on two events at the meet. Michigan led all squads with a 98.575 between two events. Illinois followed in second at 97.925, while Kentucky took the third-place slot at 97.800. Nebraska came in at third with a 97.400, and North Carolina and West Virginia rounded out the six team squads with respective scores of 97.075 and 96.925.

 

NU moved to a bye following beam, looking to regroup before the squad's final two events of the meet. The Big Red returned in the fourth rotation for floor exercise, tallying a team score of 48.800. Wong led NU for the second consecutive rotation, capturing a 9.875. Hollie Blanske also had a solid outing on the event with a 9.80, while DeZiel earned a 9.775.

 

Sitting in fifth overall heading into their final rotation, NU needed a stellar outing on vault to have a shot at advancing to nationals. The squad put on a show, earning the best NCAA postseason score in program history at 49.650. DeZiel, Wong and Skinner tied for top honors on the event with identical scores of 9.95. Blanske took fourth overall following her teammates with a 9.925 performance, while Giblin added a 9.875.

 

Despite the Huskers best efforts, Illinois hit a 49.175 on beam to edge the Huskers for the second qualifying spot. The Illini's effort gave them the third NCAA qualification in program history. Michigan took the top spot, finishing at 196.725. Kentucky captured fourth at 195.575, and West Virginia came in fifth with a score of 194.475. North Carolina rounded out the competition at fifth, taking a 194.350.

 

Nebraska's three individual qualifiers will move on to the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles, Calif., in two weeks. Hosted by UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, the national championships will feature competition between the finest collegiate gymnasts in the nation on April 19-21.

 

The event will kick off on Friday, April 19 with team preliminaries. Preliminary competition will be split between two sessions, with the first beginning at 2 p.m. CT and the second taking place at 8 p.m. CT. The top three finishers in each session will advance to the Super Six team finals on Saturday, April 20 at 6 p.m. CT to vie for the 2013 national title. Individual NCAA event champions will be crowned in event finals on Sunday, April 21 beginning at 3 p.m. CT.

 

Fans wishing to purchase tickets for the NCAA Championships may do so at UCLABruins.com. Tickets are $55 for reserved adult seating and $40 for general admission. Discounted rates for students, children and groups are also available.

Source: UNL Sports Information Department

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