UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 13th-ranked Penn State women’s gymnastics team has been selected as one of six teams to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships, scheduled for Saturday, April 7 in Raleigh, N.C. The meet will be held at N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum at 4 p.m. and will also feature No. 1 Florida, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 20 N.C. State, Kent State and UNC. The Nittany Lions are making their 38th appearance in the NCAA Regional Championships.
"We are excited about going to the Raleigh Regional as our team had a great performance at N.C. State earlier this season in February," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "We know what to expect from the equipment, the arena and the crowd. We had a great Penn State following at our February trip and hope all our alumni can turn up again to support the team. We’ve had two weeks in a row where we’ve hit all 24 routines and gained a huge amount of confidence from those performances. A disappointing sixth-place finish as Big Tens will be the driving force behind our hard work for the next two weeks."
This is the second time in four years the Nittany Lions have been sent to an NCAA Regional hosted by N.C. State. Penn State competed at N.C. State in the NCAA Southeast Regional in 2009 where the squad finished second to advance to the NCAA National Championships for the first time since 2005.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors who are not on an advancing team from each regional will receive an automatic berth in the national championships in Duluth, Ga., April 20-22, hosted by the Gwinnett Center and Georgia Tech. In addition, the event winners at each regional site will advance to the national championships in that event only if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.
Penn State is one of eight teams from the Big Ten who will be competing for an NCAA National Championship berth. Big Ten Champion Nebraska has earned the No. 1 seed at the Salt Lake Regional hosted by Utah, and is joined by Minnesota. Michigan and Michigan State will compete in the Auburn Regional, while Illinois will serve as a host. Iowa has earned a spot in the Seattle Regional hosted by Washington.
Onn Saturday, March 24 at the Big Ten Championship, junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and earned a spot on the All-Championship Squad. Senior Whitney Bencsko (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and junior Madison Merriam (Gaithersburg, Md.) were both selected as Second Team All-Big Ten honorees.