Evening session awaits No. 15 women's gymnastics at NCAA Championships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When the Penn State women's gymnastics team arrives at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex it will mark the Nittany Lions' 17th overall appearance in school history and the first since 2009 at the NCAA Championships. The 17 championship advents rank the Nittany Lions 10th in NCAA history and are third among Big Ten institutions.

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Penn State advanced to the NCAA Championships with a second place finish at the NCAA University Park Regional and will compete in the evening session of the championships. The No. 15 Nittany Lions will take to the stage inside the BJCC at 8 p.m. EDT along with No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Nebraska.

Head coach Jeff Thompson is leading his second school into the NCAA Championships. It marks his second trip to the championships during his 15 seasons as a head coach, after taking Auburn to the national summit in 2003. Thompson is now one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to lead two different schools to the NCAA Championships.

At the NCAA University Park Regional, Penn State posted their second highest team score of the season and highest NCAA postseason score in school history. The 196.725 bested their 2001 NCAA Regional score of 196.425.

Penn State also continued their season-long assault on the floor exercise at the NCAA Regional, topping the team charts on the event with a score of 49.425. They also finished with the second highest team score on the balance beam (48.950) and the vault (49.300).

Junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles posted a pair of 9.900 scored at the NCAA Regional, doing so on the vault to open the meet and on the floor exercise to close out her competition. Sanabria-Robles finished the day in third place in the all-around competition with a total of 39.375, behind Florida's Alaina Johnson (39.550) and Oregon State's Chelsea Tang (39.475).

Teammates Randi Lau (FX), Lindsay Musgrove (FX) and Emma Sibson (V) also notched scores of 9.900 on their respective events. Kassidy Stauder grabbed a fifth place showing in the all-around, scoring 39.325, and finished tied for fifth on the uneven bars (9.875) and tied for 10th on the floor exercise (.9875).

Penn State has had at least three gymnasts compete in the all-around in every meet this season, with Sanabria-Robles and Krystal Welsh competing in the competition in all 13 meets. Stauder has been in the all-around in 11 meets and Lau has made touches on all four events in eight meets. Of Penn State's 311 overall routines in 2014, those four gymnasts have accounted for 245 of them. That accounts for 79 percent of the team's touches on the year.

Thompson Joins Elite Company
Head coach Jeff Thompson is heading back to the NCAA Championships for the second time as a head coach, but it will be his first as the head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Thompson's first appearance at the NCAA Championships came with Auburn in 2003 and he has now led the Nittany Lions back to the national summit for the first time since 2009.

He is just the third head coach in NCAA history to navigate two different programs to the NCAA Championships, joining K.J. Kindler (Iowa State & Oklahoma) and Judi Markell (Penn State and Florida).

Thompson took Auburn to the championships during his fourth season at the helm of the program. The Tigers finished 12th at the 2003 NCAA Championships, posting a team score of 193.525.

The Highland Heights, Ky., native guided Penn State to their 17th appearance at the NCAA Championships in his fourth year, as well.

Full Circle for the Seniors
In 2010, Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder stepped on the University Park campus to begin their collegiate gymnastics careers as the first recruiting class under head coach Jeff Thompson.

Musgrove and Stauder both moved into the rotation immediately and opened their careers against No. 2 Alabama in their home arena.

Stauder made touches on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise, finished fifth on the floor with a score of 9.700. Musgrove logged a 9.500 in her first of 12 performances on the vault in 2011.

The duo now heads back to the Yellowhammer State to cap off their careers with the programs 17th appearance in the NCAA Championships.

It has been an incredible year for the pair, as Stauder earned All-America accolades and was a first team All-Big Ten performer. Musgrove has made touches on the vault and floor exercise in all 13 meets this season.

They closed out their home careers at Rec Hall with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Regional and will now shine under the bright lights in Alabama, where it all started.

Add All-American Accolades to Stauder's Senior Resume
Senior Kassidy Stauder (Palmerton, Pa.) became the second Nittany Lion to earn regular season All-America distinction from NACGCW. A top performer on the balance beam all season, Stauder earned second team All-American on the event.

This marks the second year of the regular season All-America team, which supplements the traditional All-America honors awarded at the national championships. Last season, Penn State's Sharaya Musser earned first team accolades on the balance beam and second team distinction in the all-around.

Stauder was the top balance beam worker in the conference this season. She currently ranks 14th in the NCAA on the event with a Regional Qualifying score of 9.895 and was one of only two Big Ten gymnasts to earn All-American recognition on the balance beam.

She owns a season average of 9.856 and posted a career-best score of 9.950 on the event in a quad meet at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington on March 8. She has topped the 9.875 mark on the event eight times in 2014, besting 9.900 on four occasions. She has five balance beam titles on her resume this season.

Stauder is also one of the top all-arounders in the nation, ranking 18th in the competition with a RQS of 39.365. She narrowly missed earning All-American honors in the all-around and has a career-best score of 39.475.

Nittany Lions Among Top-10 in NCAA Championships Appearances
Penn State has qualified for the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships on 17 occasions since the event began in 1982.

Their 17 appearances rank 10th all-time and are third in the Big Ten, behind Michigan (21) and Nebraska (22).
Utah has advanced to all 33 of the women's gymnastics championship events, while Alabama and Florida had competed at 32 of the 33 meets.

Here is the complete top-10 list;
Utah 33
Alabama & Florida - 32
Georgia & UCLA - 30
LSU - 25
Nebraska - 22
Michigan - 21
Arizona State -19
Penn State - 17

Welsh Family Represented at Men's, Women's National Championships
When junior Krystal Welsh steps onto the stage at the 2014 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, she will join her brother, freshman Jakob Welsh of Temple, as national meet qualifiers in 2014.

Krystal will be a part of the Nittany Lion team that is making their first team appearance at the national championships, while Jakob took to the floor last weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich. to compete as an all-around qualifier for the Owls.

Earlier in 2014, the siblings competed on the same floor when the Penn State women's team hosted No. 8 Nebraska and the Nittany Lions' men's squad welcomed Temple for a double dual meet inside Rec Hall.

Lions Post top NCAA Postseason Score at NCAA Regional
When Penn State notched a 196.725 team score at the NCAA University Park Regional it was the second highest team score for the Nittany Lions in 2014. It was also the highest NCAA postseason score in school history and ranks 11th in program history.

Of the NCAA postseason team scores, nine of the top-10 have been accomplished at the NCAA Regional, with the only NCAA Championship score coming in 2009, the team's last trip to the NCAA summit.

Three of the top 10 NCAA postseason scores have come under the watch of head coach Jeff Thompson. His 2013 squad scored 195.875 at the NCAA Regional and the 2011 squad totaled 196.850 in his first NCAA Regional with the Blue and White.
Below are the top 10 NCAA postseason scores in Penn State history.

2014 - NCAA Regional - 196.725
2001 - NCAA Regional - 196.425
1999 - NCAA Regional - 196.335
2003 - NCAA Regional - 196.175
2009 - NCAA Championships - 196.100
2004 - NCAA Regional - 196.075
2010 - NCAA Regional - 196.050
2000 - NCAA Regional - 196.925
2013 - NCAA Regional - 195.875
2011 - NCAA Regional - 195.850

Stauder Named B1G All-Championship
After earning first team All-Big Ten, senior Kassidy Stauder was up to the task at the Big Ten Championships, setting one new career-high and posting near career-high marks on every other event on her way to a fifth place finish in the all-around.

Stauder tied for second place on the uneven bars, an event she ranks 34th nationally on, to earn Big Ten All-Championship Team honors. She was the lone Penn Stater to earn a spot on the all-championship team with her 9.900 performance on the event.

Sibson Vaults into Record Books
Freshman Emma Sibson didn't know when or how her freshman season would start after an offseason injury, but the Allen, Texas, native has made an impact since the season opener at Iowa State on Jan. 5.

She has competed on the vault in all 13 of the team's competitions and topped the 9.850 mark in seven of those meets. Over the past month, Sibson has found her footing - literally - sticking vaults in five of the last seven competitions.

At the Big Ten Championships, the rookie boasted a score of 9.900 to tie for fifth on the event and tie for the team's highest score with Krystal Welsh. She duplicated that score a week later to tie for third on the event at the NCAA Regional.

In the Nittany Lions meet at New Hampshire with Bridgeport and George Washington, she stuck her vault and collected new personal-best of 9.975. That score is tied for third highest in the Big Ten this season with Austin Sheppard (Michigan) and Jessie DeZiel (Nebraska) and is just behind the perfect 10.000 from Illinois' Amber See and Minnesota's Lindsay Mable.

Her 9.975 is tied for fifth on Penn State's all-time list, while her 9.950 against No. 10 Nebraska on Feb. 8 sits tied for ninth all-time. Only Brandi Personett and Katie Rowland have better scores on the vault for the Nittany Lions, with each collecting a perfect 10.0 twice in their careers.

Thompson Closing in on 150 Victories
Head coach Jeff Thompson is in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach and is closing in on his 150th career regular season victory. In his career, Thompson has compiled a 132-97 record.

In his fourth season at the helm of Penn State, Thompson has earned 60 regular season victories and is 60-15 overall. Add that to his 72 wins while at Auburn and the Highland Heights, Ky., native sits at 132 career wins. His overall record while at Auburn was 72-82.

This season, the Nittany Lions own a 20-3 overall mark entering the NCAA Regional Championships and set the school record for regular season victories on March 15 in the Big Ten Quad in Ann Arbor.

The previous school record was held by the 2007 squad, which finished 19-4 and placed third at the NCAA Regional Championships.

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Last Updated April 18, 2014