The No. 9 Nebraska women's gymnastics team captured a share of the regular-season Big Ten conference title Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. The Huskers posted its second-highest team score of the season (197.050) at one of the Big Ten quad meets to defeat Illinois (196.875), Michigan State (196.200) and Ohio State (195.675).
In Ann Arbor, Mich., the other Big Ten quad meet was held, where the Minnesota Gophers (196.700) took home the victory over Penn State (196.475), Michigan (196.025) and Iowa (194.750). Nebraska and Minnesota both finished the regular season with an identical Big Ten record of 6-1 to give them a share of the conference title.
The Huskers success was fueled by the four all-around competitors: senior Emily Wong, junior Jessie DeZiel, sophomore Hollie Blanske and freshman Jennie Laeng. Emily Wong took home a first-place finish on bars (9.925) and floor (9.95) en-route to her ninth consecutive all-around crown (39.625). DeZiel claimed the beam title to finish second-place in the all-around (39.425), while Laeng in her second appearance in the all-around notched a career-high score of 39.325.
Nebraska opened the meet on vault posting a strong 49.375 team score. Five Huskers composed of Blanske, DeZiel, Laeng, Ariel Martin and Wong all hit identical marks of 9.875. This gives Laeng her new career-high mark on the event.
The Big Red took to bars notching a 49.250, led by Wong's 9.925 score. DeZiel earned a 9.875 while Laeng and Stephens both tacked on identical scores of 9.825. Amanda Lauer saw her first appearance on bars sticking a 9.80 and a new career-high mark.
The Huskers carried their momentum over to beam for the third rotation, where the team pulled down a mark of 49.200. DeZiel fueled the Big Red matching her career-high score of 9.90, while the duo of Laeng and Wong both claimed 9.875 marks. Jamie Schleppenbach, Blanske and A. Lauer added scores of 9.775 to round out the beam lineup.
Nebraska sealed their victory on floor, posting a 49.225 on their final event of the night. Wong led the way with her 9.95 mark while Blanske contributed a solid 9.875. Martin picked up her new career-high score of 9.825 on the event. Stephens (9.80) and DeZiel (9.775) tacked on important scores to round out the Huskers floor squad.
Nebraska will open postseason competition next weekend in State College, Pa., at the 2014 Big Ten Championships. Hosted by Penn State at Rec Hall, eight teams will take part in the event: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State. The meet will be split into two sessions, with session one starting at 11 a.m. CT and session two beginning at 4 p.m. CT. Both sessions of the championship will air live on BTN.