DURHAM, N.H. — No. 13 Penn State continued its winning ways defeating New Hampshire in their second meet of the 2012 season. The Nittany Lions earned a season-high 196.125 to New Hampshire’s 194.250 for the win.
“We did not have very good warm-ups today,” said head coach Jeff Thompson. “We struggled on every event so we were really happy to see the girls able to focus on their competition routines and do what they do every day in practice. The Nittany Lions hit 23 out of 24 routines with the only fall being an uncharacteristic mistake. We have tons of room for improvement on every event, but we’ve solidified the fact we can hit under pressure. Now it’s time to focus on the details.”
Five Nittany Lions competed in the all-around for Penn State, including juniors Sharaya Musser and Madison Merriam, sophomore Kassidy Stauder, senior Whitney Bencsko and freshman Krystal Welsh. Musser earned her second all-around title of the season with a 39.425, while Merriam finished second with a 39.350. Bencsko earned a 39.175 for third place. Welsh scored a 38.975 and Stauder was not far behind with a 38.925 as the duo finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Wildcats and Nittany Lions were tied after the first rotation with a 48.825. UNH opened on vault, while the Lions started on the uneven bars. There was a three-way tie for first place between Merriam, Musser and New Hampshire’s Danielle Reibold as the three gymnasts each posted a 9.800. Stauder and Welsh finished tied for fifth with a 9.750, while Bencsko posted a 9.725 for seventh. Stine suffered a fall and scored a 9.200.
The Lions took on vault in the second rotation, while UNH moved to bars. Penn State took the lead in the meet with a 49.100 on the event to improve to 97.925 overall, while the Wildcats scored a 48.550 on bars for a meet total of 97.375. Musser picked up her second individual event title after sticking her landing for a 9.950. Merriam finished second with a 9.875. Bencsko also finished in the top five tying for third with a 9.800. Welsh placed seventh with a 9.750 and freshman Alex Witt scored a 9.725 for ninth. Stauder also competed on the event posting a 9.700.
Penn State moved on to floor in the third rotation where the large contingent of Penn State fans helped power the Nittany Lions through the event.
“There were a lot of Penn State fans in the crowd, including the New Hampshire/Maine PSU alumni chapter who were very loud and lifted our team throughout our floor performance,” said Thompson. “The Lions hit every floor routine almost like they do in practice and were rewarded with a season-high 49.125.”
Penn State’s 49.125 on floor gave Penn State an overall meet score of 147.050, nearly two points ahead of New Hampshire, which had a meet score of 145.500 after competing on beam in rotation three. Merriam was Penn State’s top finisher floor with a first place 9.875. Konsevick, Welsh and Bencsko all tied for third scoring a 9.825, while Stauder and Musser finished sixth with a 9.775.
Penn State closed out the meet on beam where all six Lions hit their routine to earn Penn State a 49.075 on the event. Musser once again earned the crown with a 9.900, while Konsevick (9.850), Bencsko (9.825) and Merriam (9.800) rounded out the top four. Stauder placed sixth with a 9.700 and Welsh posted a 9.650 for seventh.
“The environment and the loud home crowd were challenges the beam team was able to overcome,” said associate head coach Rachelle Thompson. “Anytime you can go to beam at an away meet and hit six routines in a row to close out the meet is a sign of a well-trained team.”