LINCOLN, Neb. – No. 16 Nebraska women’s gymnastics posted their highest score of the season with a 197.175 at the 28th Annual Masters Classic where they finished in second place of four teams, No. 2 UCLA (first), No. 23 Iowa State (third) and Kent State (fourth).
No. 2 UCLA won the Masters Classic with a 197.500, Nebraska finished second with a season-high 197.175, No. 23 Iowa State finished third with a score of 195.575 and Kent State finished fourth with a score 194.700.
The 28th Annual Masters Classic also served as Senior Day for the Huskers, who honored seniors Danielle Breen, Abbie Epperson and Grace Williams for their contributions in their Husker careers.
Nebraska’s season-high score of 197.175 rounds out a huge weekend for the Huskers (11-2 Overall, 5-0 Big Ten), who posted their best away score on Friday night at Elevate the Stage 2018 with a 196.700 to win the meet, and returned home to host the Masters Classic Sunday.
On the night, sophomore Taylor Houchin earned the solo Husker event title on vault, where she scored a career-high near-perfect 9.975.
The Huskers opened the meet on vault and got right down to business as three Huskers hit scores of 9.90 or better to post a season-high team score of 49.475 in the event. Freshman Megan Verceles Carr hit a 9.725, and it just got better for Nebraska as senior Grace Williams hit a 9.85. Senior Abbie Epperson hit a season-high and tied her career high with a 9.90 to post the first 9.90 of the day. Things continued to roll at the Masters Classic as Taylor Houchin hit a meet-high and career-high 9.975, earning a perfect 10 from one judge in just her second week back on vault. Major contributor Megan Schweihofer hit a 9.85 before All-American vaulter Sienna Crouse closed the rotation with a 9.90. Houchin finished in first while Epperson and Crouse finished tied for third.
The effort was enough to keep the Huskers ahead of UCLA (49.400, beam), Iowa State (48.900, floor), and Kent State (48.725, bars), despite UCLA posting four scores over 9.90 on beam.
Nebraska posted yet another season-high team score on the night, this time on bars in the second rotation with a 49.325, besting the previous season-high they just set on Friday night at Elevate the Stage 2018 in Augusta, Ga. Nebraska started with a solid season-high 9.825 from junior Catelyn Orel and freshman Kynsee Roby followed suit with a 9.825 of her own. Schweihofer joined the club and also hit a 9.825. Houchin posted a 9.875 before two Huskers posted 9.90s to help carry the Huskers to their season-high team score. Both Crouse and Epperson hit 9.90, Epperson’s season high, to close the Husker lineup.
UCLA pushed ahead of the Huskers through two rotations, after posting three scores over 9.925 on floor, to hit a team floor score of 49.575. UCLA led the team competition with a 98.875, while Nebraska lingered in second with a 98.800. Iowa State hit a 97.700 and Kent State rounded out the Masters Classic field with a 96.900.
Nebraska counted five solid beam routines and hit a respectable team score of 49.050. Seniors Breen and Epperson and junior Crouse each posted a 9.80, respectively. Sophomore Sierra Hassel posted a 9.725, while Schweihofer and Williams hit 9.825, respectively.
The Huskers edged closer to UCLA 147.850 – 148.025, outscoring UCLA in the third rotation 49.050 – 49.025. Iowa State scored 146.825 and Kent State posted a 146.000 through three rotations.
On floor, Nebraska had a solid showing but could not catch up the to national-title-contending Bruins, who posted a 49.475 on bars to close the meet. The Huskers hit a 49.325 on floor to close out their 197.175.
Hassel posted a 9.80 for the Huskers, while Orel hit a 9.825. Both Crouse and Epperson posted 9.85 for the Huskers, and Williams posted a 9.875 in her last performance as a Husker at the Devaney Center. Schweihofer hit a 9.925 to lead the Huskers and finish third overall.
UCLA finished the meet on bars, where they ran away with the meet with a 49.475. Iowa State ended the day on beam, where they hit a 48.750 to finish in third place with a 195.575. Kent State finished the day on vault with a team score of 49.100 to finish the day with a team score of 194.700.
Crouse and Epperson hit the exact same score in every step of the meet, accumulating with a 39.450 all-around score, respectively. The all-around duo tied for second overall, respectively. Schweihofer finished the meet with an all-around score of 39.425.
Next week, Nebraska will face No. 5 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday, March 9 at 5:45 p.m. After meeting Florida, the Huskers will continue the fight for the Big Ten Championship, as they travel to Michigan State for the B1G Five Meet on Saturday, March 17 and then to Illinois for the Big Ten Championships on March 24.