Photo by Pat Radigan
Story by Pat Radigan
Huskers head to Saturday’s finals thanks to big scores on beam, floor
The seventh-ranked Nebraska women’s gymnastics team rattled off eight performances that earned All-American honors, and used that depth to sneak past a trio of ranked SEC teams to earn a place in Saturday’s Super Six finals.
Taylor Houchin headlined an impressive meet by tying for the best score on vault in Nebraska’s semifinal session, which made her a first-team All-American on the event, and added second team honors on beam to lead the NU charge. Senior Grace Williams was also a second-team honoree on beam, and was one of three Huskers to be an All-American in the floor exercise, including Sienna Crouse earning a spot on the first-team with a 9.90.
Megan Schweihofer was the fourth gymnast to earn All-American accolades, and did so with a seventh-place finish in the all-around (39.4125), while also matching Williams’ 9.8875 on floor to garner second-team honors on the event.
Nebraska’s impressive individual efforts led to a 197.0125 as a team, and helped the Huskers edge Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas for the third and final place in Saturday’s national finals. It will be the 12th time Nebraska will compete in the Super Six in the final year that the NCAA will feature a six-team championship field.
Having a trio of All-Americans on floor helped Nebraska post a big score (49.300) but it was actually the Huskers’ 49.375 on beam that turned out to be the top event score.
Williams hit the same score on both beam and floor (9.8875) and was tied by Houchin on beam to spark NU’s rotation. Schweihofer and Crouse finished just behind the top tandem at 9.875, and senior Danielle Breen rounded out the scorching score with a 9.85. Of the six team’s in the first session, only No. 4 UCLA scored higher than Nebraska.
Another solid score by Williams provided a spark for the Huskers’ floor rotation, then Crouse went for a 9.90 to finish tied for third overall in NU’s semifinal session. Catelyn Orel hit a 9.8625 with her high-energy routine, and senior Abbie Epperson contributed a 9.80 to round out the rotation.
Houchin’s 9.90 on vault proved to be the top mark of the session, and was only matched by Georgia’s Sydney Snead. It was the second skill of the night where Houchin posted the top mark for NU after hitting a 9.875 on bars in Nebraska’s first event. The bars were the only event in which the Huskers did not have an All-American on Friday.