Musser earns Big Ten Gymnast of the Week
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State women’s gymnastics senior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has been named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday (Jan. 28). Musser was the all-around champion with a score of 39.525, a season-best for her, at this past Saturday’s meet in Rec Hall with Iowa, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. Musser collects her 12th career Gymnast of the Week award and 15th weekly honor overall.
Musser was an individual event champion on the vault, bars and beam while finishing third on the floor exercise. The Nittany Lions put up a season-best 195.500 team score as they took first place in this past Saturday’s meet with the Hawkeyes, Panthers and Scarlet Knights. Additionally, the Nittany Lions posted season-high scores as a team on the bars and floor.
"We are so happy for Sharaya and this award couldn’t come at a better time," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "We believe that ‘team players’ get rewarded and this award proves it. Sharaya had been competing some very difficult routines so far her senior season; but, has had one little bobble or misstep in each of our first three meets preventing her from scoring at her full potential. This week, we asked her to play a diminished role for a little while, concentrating on the needs of the team and not her own desire to compete the more difficult skills. She agreed whole-heartedly and we changed her vault and some tumbling on floor. We think it is amazing that, even with the watered-down routines, she was able to post the highest score in the Big Ten this past weekend. She is an incredible athlete."
Despite struggling as a team on the beam, Musser wrapped up the event with a 9.925, a season-high for her. Musser’s finish carried over to the floor exercise, where the team put up their season-best score of 49.025. The senior wrapped up the meet with a 9.850 on her routine to help Penn State clinch the meet.
"I had an email from a fan that summed it up," said Thompson. "Penn State fans need to get out to see her while they still can as these super-elite athletes are few and far between. She is like getting the opportunity to watch a No. 1 draft pick play football in Beaver Stadium. With just one look, everyone in the arena can tell that she is special. It’s the reason she’s been named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week more than any other gymnast in history."
Penn State returns to Rec Hall next Saturday at 7 p.m. for a double dual meet with the men’s squad against Ohio State. It will also be Penn State’s "Paint it Pink" meet. All fans are encouraged to purchase a "Paint it Pink" t-shirt on the west concourse of Rec Hall. Fans that wear their t-shirt will get free admittance into the meet on Feb. 2.