NU WGYM: Huskers Look to Bounce Back at Big Ten Quad Meet

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Nebraska Women's Gymnastics

Nebraska at Big Ten Quad Meet:
No. 9 Nebraska (11-2 Overall, 3-1 Big Ten)
Michigan State (3-10 Overall, 1-5 Big Ten)
No. 14 Illinois (10-4 Overall, 3-3 Big Ten)
No. 23 Ohio State (3-8 Overall, 1-4 Big Ten)

Date: Saturday, March 15
Time: 12:30 p.m. CT
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Jenison Field House
Live Stats:
Twitter: @HuskersWGym
TV: BTN (2-hour tape delay, air time 2:30 p.m. CT)

The No. 9 Nebraska women's gymnastics team will finish its regular-season meet schedule this Saturday, March 15 with a Big Ten quad meet against Michigan State, No. 14 Illinois and No. 23 Ohio State at the Jenison Field House on the Michigan State campus. The meet is slated for a 12:30 p.m. CT start with live stats available at This meet will also be featured on the Big Ten Network via a two-hour tape delay scheduled to start at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT.

The Huskers sport an 11-2 overall record and is 3-1 in Big Ten competition this season. NU heads into this quad meet looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to No. 16 Arkansas last Saturday. This conference matchup between Michigan State (1-5 Big Ten), Illinois (3-3 Big Ten) and Ohio State (1-4 Big Ten) will give the Huskers a glimpse of what is to come at the Big Ten Championships the following week.

After their regular season finale, the Huskers will return to action on March 22 for the Big Ten Conference Championships, where they will look to claim their third straight Big Ten crown. The 2014 Big Ten Championship meet is being held in University Park, Pa., with the first session starting at 11:00 a.m. CT and second session at 4:00 p.m. CT.

Scouting Michigan State
• The Spartans are 3-10 overall on the season and 1-5 in Big Ten competition.
• Nebraska holds a 9-2 all-time series edge over Michigan State with the last meeting coming last year at the Big Ten Championships where the Huskers went home with a 198.000-195.450 victory and the championship crown.
• Last weekend Michigan State took fourth with a score of 194.350 at the Texas Women's quad meet behind Oklahoma (198.150), Minnesota (196.275) and Texas Women's University (194.775).
• Spartan's Sophomore Lisa Burt took first-place in the all-around competition with a score of 39.225.
• Michigan State is coached by Kathie Klages who is in her 24th season with the Spartans.

Scouting No. 14 Illinois
• The Fighting Ilini are 10-4 overall and hold a 3-3 Big Ten record this season.
• The Huskers notch a 17-3 series edge over Illinois all-time with the last competition coming last season at the Morgantown Regional where Illinois took home a 196.025-195.875 victory over Nebraska.
• Illinois ranks 14th overall in the country while pulling down event rankings of, 20th on vault (49.055), 17th on bars (49.045), 11th on beam (49.125) and 14th on floor.
• Last weekend Illinois broke their all-time team total school record in their victory over Lindenwood 197.100-194.450 at home.
• Sarah Fidler claimed her first all-around title with a score of 39.325.
• Illinois is coached by Kim Landrus who is in her third year with the Fighting Ilini.

Scouting No. 23 Ohio State
• Ohio State claims a 3-8 overall record and is 1-4 in Big Ten conference match-ups this year.
• The Buckeyes hold a 11-10 all-time series edge over the Huskers with the last meeting coming last season where Nebraska took home a 198.000-195.450 victory at the Big Ten Championships.
• Ohio State currently ranks No. 23 with a RQS of 195.585. OSU also pulls down rankings of 22nd on bars (48.995) and 22nd on beam (48.925).
• Senior Melanie Shaffer is ranked No. 19 in the all-around competition with an RQS of 39.295.
• Last weekend Ohio State defeated Ball State 196.600-192.350. The 196.600 team score was the eighth-highest in program history.
• The Buckeyes head coach is Carey Fagan who is in her ninth year with Ohio State.

Last Time Out: Huskers Drop Heart-breaker to Arkansas
The No. 9 Nebraska women's gymnastics team earned several strong individual performances but was unable to overpower the 14th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, falling by a score of 196.700-196.350 last Saturday night. Nebraska captured two event titles including a tie in the all-around at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, but to the Huskers, the meet was not about scores or numbers, it was about its two seniors, Jamie Schleppenbach and Emily Wong.

“It was senior night,” head coach Dan Kendig said. “It is sad to think that Jamie and Emily will not compete again in Devaney and it is sad they had to go out like this. But, we can dwell on the negatives or we can really focus on the positives here, which we will. Obviously we have some work to do and we will hit the gym and get to it.”

All-American Emily Wong once again paced the Huskers claiming an event title on bars en-route to tie for her eighth all-around crown with Arkansas' Katherine Grable. On bars, Wong stuck a 9.95 score that matches her all-time high mark. She added a second-place finish on both beam (9.90) and floor (9.90) as well as a fifth-place finish on vault (9.875) to give her a 39.625 all-around score.

“We had the No. 3 and No. 4 all-arounder in the county here today, and they both tied. They both had great meets which I thought was pretty cool,” Kendig said.

The Huskers started the meet lights-out on vault hitting an impressive 49.550. NU was fueled by another 9.975 from DeZiel, which was tops on the evening. Ariel Martin stuck a notable 9.95 to give her a new career-high score. Hollie Blanske added on a 9.90, while Wong (9.875) and Desire' Stephens (9.875) tacked-on strong scores.

Arkansas picked up a 49.050 on bars in their first rotation. Following the first event, Nebraska led the Razorbacks by a score of 49.550-49.050.

NU moved to bars where some uncharacteristic struggles occurred to give the team a 48.975 score. Wong led the Huskers with her 9.95 while DeZiel added a 9.875 and Martin a 9.775.

The Razorbacks posted a 49.200 on vault led by Grable's 9.925 score. The Huskers maintained their lead after the second rotation 98.525-98.250.

The Huskers performed on beam for their third rotation running into a few issues claiming a 48.825 team score. Behind Wong's 9.90, senior Jamie Schleppenbach notched a 9.75 and freshman Jennie Laeng a 9.80.

Arkansas earned a 49.200 on floor in the third rotation, with Grable leading at 9.925. With only one rotation remaining, the Huskers trailed the Razorbacks 147.350-147.450.

The Big Red took to floor for the final event of the evening, where the team put together a solid 49.000. Wong earned a strong 9.90, while Laeng captured a career-high 9.85. Blanske picked up a 9.825 alongside Schleppenbach's 9.675.

Despite their strong performances, the Huskers were unable to catch up with the Razorbacks, who posted a 49.250 beam score to seal their victory.

“We will let today happen,” head coach Dan Kendig said. “We will get back into the gym and make an effort to make next week better. I think we have some things we need to do. I am up for the challenge and I just hope that the team feels the same way.”

Wong Captures Fourth Big Ten Honor
For the third straight week, a member of the No. 9 Nebraska women's gymnastics team took home a Big Ten Weekly honor, as announced by the conference on Monday. Senior Emily Wong claimed her second consecutive Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award after her performance against Arkansas this past Saturday. This marks Wong's fourth award this season and sixth overall.

Wong notched a career-high 9.95 on bars to earn the event title en-route to her eighth consecutive all-around title posting a 39.625 to tie with Arkansas' Katherine Grable. She added a second-place finish on both beam (9.90) and floor (9.90) as well as a fifth-place finish on vault (9.875).

In the national rankings she still holds steady as the No. 4 all-around gymnast in the country with a RQS score of 39.565. Wong also pulls down individual rankings on every event including, 23rd on vault (9.895), eighth on bars (9.91), 15th on beam (9.885) and 10th on floor (9.925).

Huskers in the Rankings: Hold Steady at No. 9
Nebraska holds steady at No. 9 nationally in the latest GymInfo national team rankings. This is the third week since the rankings switched over from overall team average to the regional qualifying score (RQS) format. RQS is determined by first taking a team's top six total scores (with at least three away meets), dropping the highest score and then averaging the remaining five scores. Nebraska's RQS of 197.710 still holds them at the No. 9 spot again this week.

The RQS- tabulated scores are still causing movement at the top of the rankings with LSU holding the No. 1 spot at a score of 197.600 with Oklahoma taking back its No. 2 ranking at 197.640 and Florida right behind them with a score of 197.565. Alabama (197.320) and Utah (197.225) rounded out the top-five teams respectively.

The Huskers are ranked in the top-15 on every event led by a No. 8 spot on beam with an RQS of 49.140. NU also pulls down rankings of 12th on vault (49.285), 12th on bars (49.165) and 14th on floor (49.185).

Two Huskers earned a total of seven appearances in the individual rankings. Emily Wong led the way collecting a ranking on each individual event to give her the No. 4 all-around spot in the country with an RQS of 39.565. She is also 23rd on vault (9.895), eighth on bars (9.910), 15th on beam (9.885) and 10th on floor (9.925). Teammate Jessie DeZiel comes in ranked No. 16 in the all-around with an RQS of 39.305 and picks up a 16th spot on vault (9.905).

Wong Named Finalist for 2014 AAI Award
Nebraska gymnast Emily Wong has been named one of six finalists for the 2014 AAI Award, recognizing the most outstanding female gymnast in the country. The honor is given annually to the nation's top gymnast on the basis of athleticism, academic excellence and civic responsibility. The award is voted on by NCAA women's gymnastics head coaches, with the winner to be announced at the banquet during the 2014 NCAA Championships held April 18-20 in Birmingham Ala.

In her senior season at Nebraska, Wong has cemented her position as one of the nation's top all-around student-athletes in the country. She is on track to record one of the best senior seasons by a Nebraska gymnast in school history. Through nine meets, Wong has captured 29 event titles, remains undefeated in the all-around, while also posting some of the top scores in the country. Her momentum and strength has inspired the entire Nebraska gymnastics team to one of the best starts to a season since 1997.

As a junior, Wong tied for third nationally in the all-around at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Her seamless performance included a third-place finish on floor and a 10th-place finish on vault. In March of 2013 she became the first Big Ten gymnast in five years to win back-to-back conference all-around crowns. Wong currently ranks No. 4 in the all-around, 23rd on vault, eighth on bars, 15th on beam and 10th on floor.

Wong is not only defined by her exceptional performances in the gym, but also her work in the classroom. She holds a 3.9 GPA and has earned numerous academic awards as a nutrition, health and exercise sciences major, including Academic All-America honors. In March of this year, Wong was named the Big Ten Wayne Duke Postgraduate Scholarship Award winner, alongside Husker football player Spencer Long. She is the daughter of John and Karen Wong and has two sisters, Melissa and Lindsey and one brother Michael.

Richelle Simpson is Nebraska's only AAI American Award winner capturing the award in 2005.

2014 AAI Award Finalists:

• Katherine Grable, Arkansas

• Kim Jacob, Alabama

• Alaina Johnson, Florida

• Joanna Sampson, Michigan

• Taylor Spears, Oklahoma

• Emily Wong, Nebraska


Up Next: Big Ten Championships
The Huskers will open postseason competition next weekend as they head east to compete at the Big Ten Championships. This year's meet is hosted by Penn State and will be held in University Park, Pa., at Rec Hall. The event will run in two sessions, with session one beginning at 11:00 a.m. CT and session two starting at 4:00 p.m. CT. Both sessions of the Big Ten Championships will be broadcast live on BTN.

The two-time defending Big Ten Championship Huskers will look to top their past two seasons and claim their fourth Championship crown in three. NU posted a 198.000 at last year's meet, while Emily Wong took home the Big Ten all-around title for the second year in a row with a 39.725.

Defending Conference Champions Look For Continued Success
After winning its second consecutive Big Ten conference title, Nebraska returns to the gym with even higher expectations for the 2014 season. NU welcomes back seven letter winners from last season, including three All-Americans, as well as two Huskers returning from injuries last season, while adding two newcomers to the roster. The Huskers will have a stockpile of talent to once again rank among the nation's elite collegiate programs. Head coach Dan Kendig, in his 21st season at Nebraska, sees the potential for continued success with the 2014 squad.

“I do think at the end of the day we will have a better team than we had last year,” Kendig said. “We definitely have the potential to have that happen. The girls are training incredibly hard and their focus is tremendous. This could be an exciting season for us.”

Kendig Builds One of Nation's Top Programs
Now in his 21st year at the helm of the Nebraska gymnastics program, Head Coach Dan Kendig is the all-time winningest coach in Nebraska history. Since Kendig arrived at NU, his teams have compiled an outstanding 459-175-4 (.719) record, including a 303-62-2 regular season record. His most recent honor was in 2012 when he earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Huskers to the program's 22nd conference title.

Kendig has also led the Huskers to 15 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 18 seasons, including Super Six Finals appearances in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. Kendig was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2003, a year in which the Huskers finished fourth nationally. He guided the 2013 squad to another Big Ten conference title increasing Nebraska's mark to 23 conference championships. The Huskers earned six All-America awards at the 2013 NCAA Championships and compiled a 19-5 overall record. Nebraska qualified for NCAA postseason competition for the 29th time in program history, finishing third at the NCAA Morgantown Regional. The 2013 squad posted three of the highest team scores in school history throughout the year while spending consistent time ranked as one of the nation's top-10 teams.

NU Assistants Set to Lead Huskers in 2014
Joining Kendig in his leadership of the Huskers this season will be third-year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller. Brink will continue her role in the gym as the team's beam coach while assisting with floor choreography. Brink contributed to Nebraska's continued success in 2013, as the Huskers claimed 13 beam titles including the Big Ten Championship title shared by Emily Wong and Jennifer Lauer with an identical score of 9.90. Wong went on to claim second-team All-American accolades on the event.

Miller will continue to lead NU's efforts on vault and floor in 2014. He helped Nebraska's vault and floor lineups continue to dominate in 2013. At the Big Ten Championships the Huskers posted four individual vault scores of 9.95 and a team-high score of 49.725, which helped secure the Huskers the Big Ten Conference title. Miller guided Britanny Skinner to her individual vault appearance at the NCAA Championships and Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel to earn All-America honors.

Volunteer assistant coach Alina Weinstein is in her first season with NU's full-time staff in 2014. Weinstein will assist Brink on balance beam, as well as the Huskers strength and conditioning programs.