Women’s gymnastics No. 16 in preseason coaches’ poll

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State women’s gymnastics team is ranked 16th in the 2012 GymInfo Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was announced on Monday (Dec. 3) afternoon. The Nittany Lions are one of six Big Ten programs to earn a spot in the top 25, while two other conference foes earned votes.

"I say the same thing every year: I don’t put a lot of weight on the pre-season polls," said Head Coach Jeff Thompson. "Although it’s nice to be ranked in the Top 20 to start the season, it really doesn’t mean much to our team right now. Our student-athletes know that they are the only ones in control of how we do and where we end up as a team this season. Regardless of our pre-season ranking, the level of commitment from each gymnast throughout the upcoming season to do what needs to be done, day in and day out, will determine how far we go and where we end up. It’s totally up to them; so, ask me again in April."

Other Big Ten teams in the top 25 include, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 10 Michigan, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 18 Illinois and No. 23 Minnesota. Iowa and Michigan State received votes in this year’s preseason poll. The Pac-12 has the most teams in the Top 10 with four, including UCLA, Utah, Oregon State and Stanford, while the SEC had three teams and the Big 10 tallied two. The SEC led all conferences with eight schools in the top 25 followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 with six.

The women’s gymnastics team is joining forces with the Penn State men’s gymnastics team for the second annual Blue & White Showcase on Friday, Dec. 14. Action is set for 7 p.m. at Rec Hall and is open to the public. Admission is free but donation to Toys for Tots is encouraged and appreciated around the Holiday Season.

Following the Blue & White Showcase, Penn State will open the 2013 slate with two road contests its first two weekends. On Jan. 5, the Nittany Lions will head west to take on Denver. A week later, Penn State travels to the University of Illinois-Chicago for a 5 p.m. meet.

Penn State will be home its next three weekends, beginning on Jan. 19. The Nittany Lions will host a tri-meet at Rec Hall, which will feature Minnesota, Kent State and Towson. The Nittany Lions host its second-straight tri-meet the following week on Jan. 26, as Iowa, Rutgers and Pittsburgh come to town.

The Nittany Lions will host two double-duals with the men’s team this year, with the first one coming on Feb. 2 against Ohio State at Rec Hall. Following trips to Nebraska and Michigan, Penn State returns to Happy Valley for its second double-dual on Feb. 23 against Michigan State.

Following a trip to Illinois, Penn State returns home for two consecutive home meets, including a tri-meet against New Hampshire, Temple and Penn on March 9 and a dual meet with Kentucky on March 16. The Big Ten Championships are slated for March 23 in East Lansing, Mich. The first session will begin at 1 p.m.

Season tickets and single meet tickets, including double dual meets are now on sale for the 2012-13 Penn State men’s and women’s gymnastics seasons. All tickets can be purchased by calling Penn State Athletics at 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Athletic Ticket Office inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Head coach Jeff Thompson and associate head coach Rachelle Thompson welcome back six letterwinners from the 2012 season, including Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Musser became the second Penn State gymnast in the last four years to earn the honor as Brandi Personett earned the award in 2009 and 2010. The Thompson’s welcome a talented freshman class of seven newcomers as well.

The Penn State women’s gymnastics team is on Twitter. Follow @PennStateWGYM for the inside scoop. Also find updates on the Nittany Lion gymnasts at GoPSUsports.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pennstatewomensgymnastics.

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