IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 6 Nebraska captured the Big Ten championship on Saturday night. The Huskers posted a 197.100 and were led by sophomore Emily Wong, who won the all-around Big Ten crown by posting a career-high 39.60, which is the third-highest all-around score in Nebraska history at a conference championship meet.
The Huskers finished ahead of second-place Ohio State (196.225) and third-place Minnesota (195.95). Michigan (195.875) and Illinois (195.85) rounded out the top five. Nebraska improves to 19-2 on the year and remained perfect on the season competing away from the Devaney Center. The Huskers’ score of 197.100 is tied for the sixth-highest away meet score in school history.
Nebraska, who has now won back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 2002 and 2003, posted the third-highest team score in conference championship history at Nebraska. Wong played a huge part in the Huskers’ success, capturing Big Ten event titles on beam (9.90) and floor (9.90) to go along with her all-around crown.
Lora Evenstad won the Big Ten bars (9.925) title and tied for the title on floor with Jessie DeZiel and Wong, who all posted a 9.90 on the event. DeZiel finished second in the all-around with a 39.525.
“It couldn’t happen to a better person,” Kendig said of Wong after the meet. “That kid busts her tail every day. I’m so proud of her.”
The Huskers catapulted into the lead after their first rotation on bars, where they posted a 49.425 and were led by Evenstad. The senior anchored the event with a nearly flawless 9.925 routine. Evenstad’s performance drew a 10.0 from one of the four judges on the event. Janelle Giblin continued her brilliant year on bars, scoring a 9.90 in the fifth spot for NU, while Emily Wong scored a season-high 9.875. Jamie Schleppenbach and Wong scored a 9.85 and 9.875, respectively, to round out action on the bars and help NU post the highest bars score of the eight teams competing.
Wong stole the show for the Huskers on beam with her 9.90 to help them to a 48.85 team score. Wong’s score came after 9.625 and 9.725 from Brittany Skinner and Janelle Giblin, respectively, while Jennifer Lauer led the event off with a 9.775. DeZiel continued her solid night by scoring a 9.825. After two rotations of competition, the Huskers trailed fourth-seeded Minnesota, 98.450-98.275.
Nebraska didn’t trail for long after a brilliant performance on the floor, where they closed the event with three straight 9.90s from Wong, DeZiel and Evenstad. The three gymnasts helped NU post a 49.35 on the event and take a 147.625-147.200 lead over Minnesota heading into their last rotation on vault. Giblin tallied a 9.85 for NU, while Schleppenbach scored a 9.80.
After taking the lead on floor, the Huskers moved onto their strongest event on vault and they didn’t disappoint. NU tallied three 9.925s in their final four routines by Wong, Schleppenbach and DeZiel, while Giblin posted a 9.90 in the fourth spot of the lineup. Evenstad and Skinner led the event off for NU with a pair of 9.80s to clinch the Big Ten title.