Husker gymnasts move on to super six

Birmingham, Ala – The Nebraska women's gymnastics team posted a score of 197.100 Friday evening to come in third and qualify for its 11th Super Six Finals appearance at the NCAA Championships at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. In making their 22nd NCAA Championship appearance, the Huskers improve to 28-6 on the year.

Nebraska will advance to team finals Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. CT to contend for a national title along with Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU.

"We are extremely excited about this opportunity to be able to compete on the floor with five of the best teams in the country right now," head coach Dan Kendig said. "It is a tremendous honor to be a part of that. The talent level at this championship from top to bottom is unbelievable this year. We are excited and congratulations to Alabama, Florida and the other schools advancing from the first session. We are incredibly happy to be here."

NU finished behind Alabama (197.650) and Florida (197.650) and ahead of Utah (197.025), UCLA (197.000) and Penn State (194.825).

Four Huskers combined for a total of seven All-America awards, highlighted by Emily Wong's trio of accolades of first-team on beam and on floor and second-team in the all-around, which brings the senior to a career total of 11 All-America awards. Jessie DeZiel pulled down two All-America selections on beam and in the all-around. The Huskers also made history by adding four first-team All-Americans on beam with Wong, DeZiel, Hollie Blanske and Jamie Schleppenbach.

Nebraska opened competition on floor jumping to a 49.350 team score led by Wong's 9.95 mark. Junior DeZiel with a vital performance notched a 9.875, while the duo of Ariel Martin and Blanske chipped in 9.85 scores. Desire Stephens tallied a beautiful routine to round out the Husker lineup with a 9.825 score.

The Big Red moved to vault posting a team score of 49.200. All-American DeZiel paced NU with a score of 9.875, while Jennie Laeng and Blanske tacked on identical scores of 9.85. Wong snagged a 9.825 mark and redshirt freshman Martin boosted the Huskers' efforts by sticking a 9.80.

After each team had competed on two events, Nebraska sat in third place behind Florida (98.475) and Alabama (98.725) and ahead of UCLA (98.475), Utah (98.250) and Penn State (98.100).

Following a bye, the Huskers took to bars putting up a 49.100 team score. The trio of Wong, DeZiel and Stephens all recorded a 9.85 marks, while both Blanske and Amanda Lauer added on 9.775 scores.

Heading into the final event the Huskers needed an incredible beam score to hold onto their third place spot. Nebraska exceeded expectations by posting a season-high 49.450 to break the Nebraska post-season beam school record previously of 49.425 from NCAA Regionals back in 2003. NU's beam lineup was sparked by A. Lauer who started the rotation posting a 9.85 score to give her a new career-high on the event. Four Huskers of Blanske, DeZiel, Schleppenbach and Wong posted a 9.90 score to take home first-team All-America status on the event.

"Our beam rotation was so awesome," Emily Wong said. "Beam is definitely a mental game and with it being our last event, we just wanted to do our best. It was so much fun watching every single girl hit their routine, we just kept carrying off of one another."

Nebraska will compete in Saturday night's NCAA Super Six Finals at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex at 6 p.m. CT. The Super Six will air live on ESPN3.com.

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