Huskers fall 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 on 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."
The Huskers will hit the road next weekend for the last regular-season meet of the year, traveling to East Lansing, Mich., for a Big Ten quad meet against Michigan State, Ohio State and Illinois on Saturday, March 15. The quad meet will start at 12:30 p.m. CT and will be held in the Jenison Field House on the Michigan State campus.
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