Huskers WGym Places Second at Big Ten Five Meet
Posted By: Sports
Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
The No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team (12-3, 4-2 Big Ten) overcame early obstacles to claim second to Illinois at the Big Ten Five meet, 196.060-196.000. Ohio State and Michigan State tied for third with 195.250, and Maryland grabbed fifth with a 194.875.
After a shaky start, the Huskers battled in the all-around and claimed three event titles along the way. DeZiel led the way with a 39.425 all-around performance, taking home the crown. She also earned the beam title with a career best-tying 9.925. Freshman Grace Williams and sophomore Ashley Lambert paced the vault lineup, sharing the title with a 9.90. Blanske continued to show her floor prominence, capturing her third title in three weeks with a 9.875.
The Huskers opened up competition in front of the home crowd on bars, where the team endured some uncharacteristic struggles early on to garner a 48.275. DeZiel led the way with a strong 9.875 as the lineup’s anchor. Williams notched a 9.85 for her seamless routine, while Laeng followed with a steady 9.825. Blanske chipped in a 9.775 to help the Huskers power through its early bumps. After the first rotation, the Huskers sat in fourth, with Illinois and Michigan State in the lead (49.000) followed by Ohio State in second (48.450).
Nebraska next rotated to beam, firing to a season high 49.425 team score. DeZiel led the way once again for the Big Red, earning a career high-tying 9.925 for her beautiful routine. Williams was close behind with a stellar 9.90, while Blanske and Laeng delivered a pair of 9.875s for NU. Lauer closed out the record rotation with a 9.85 as the Huskers slowly climbed out of its first event deficit. After two rotations, the Huskers remained behind first-place Illinois 98.325-97.700. Ohio State trailed in third (97.550) with Michigan State (49.000) and Maryland (48.500) rounding out the rest of the five teams.
NU moved to a bye following beam as the other four teams continued competition. Illinois earned a solid 49.100 beam score paced by matching 9.85s from Senior Sunny Kato and junior Giana O’Connor. After three rotations, Illinois held onto the lead with a 147.425, followed by Ohio State (146.200), Nebraska (97.700), Michigan State (97.675) and Maryland (97.450).
Nebraska started the second half of the meet on floor with a 48.95 score led by Blanske’s near-perfect 9.875 performance. Lambert tumbled her heart out to a 9.825, while DeZiel delivered a 9.775 for her routine. Lauer grabbed a 9.75 as Stephens closed out the floor squad with a 9.725. Going into the final rotation of the evening, Ohio State concluded their competition with a 195.250. Illinois held a 147.425, followed by NU (146.650), Michigan State (146.550) and Maryland (146.125).
The team finish came down to the last rotation as the Huskers went to vault. The Big Red notched a solid 49.350 for its vault performance paced by a duo of 9.90s from Williams and Lambert. Stephens stuck a 9.875 to follow, while DeZiel added a 9.850 to the mix. Laeng and Blanske added matching 9.825 marks to help NU to a 196.000 final team score.
Illinois ended the afternoon on the floor, the toughest-scoring event of the meet, and tallied a 48.625. Leading the way for the Illini was senior Mary Jane Horth, who notched a 9.80 for her routine. Illinois closed out the meet with a 196.050, barely edging out the Huskers’ 196.000 in the end. Ohio State and Michigan State tied for third with a 195.250, while Maryland finished fifth with a 194.875.
DeZiel took home the all-around and beam crowns for NU. Williams and Lambert took a share of the vault title, as Blanske won floor for the third straight meet. Illinois’ Giana O’Connor won bars with a 9.90 score.
The Huskers will open up post-season competition next weekend at the Big Ten Championships hosted by Michigan in Ann Arbor. The top three teams from each of the Big Five meets will compete in the coveted evening session on Saturday, March 21 at 3:20 p.m. CT. The remaining four teams from the Big Five meets will compete in the earlier session beginning at 10:20 a.m. CT. Illinois and Nebraska punched their tickets to the evening session for next weekend, while Ohio State won the tiebreaker for third place to earn a spot as well. Both sessions will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.