Samantha Musto’s week is off to a great start in women’s gymnastics. The Big Ten conference announced yesterday that she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Musto scored a 38.350 in the all-around competition last Saturday at Denver. That was good for fourth overall in the meet. This was her first meet at the collegiate level.
For the Mays Landing, N.J. native, there are some differences between competing with a team and club gymnastics.
“In club gymnastics, there is just individual competition,” Musto said. “I’m really excited to be part of a team for the first time.”
She had been participating in club gymnastics since she was 6-years-old.
Another difference lies in the amount of conditioning. “I never had preseason two-a-days before this year,” Musto said.
Preseason conditioning entailed eight hours a week of cardio, stretching, sit-ups and pushups said head coach Jeff Thompson.
He was impressed with how Musto performed in her first meet.
“Even though she fell on balance beam, she did not look like a Division I freshman athlete,” Thompson said. “She looked like someone who knew what she was doing.”
Penn State finished second in their meet against Denver and Lindenwood.
“There’s room for improvement but I believe we’ll go far,” Musto said.
The Nittany Lions’ next meet will be on the road to take on the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) on Saturday.
Coach Thompson believes Musto will be a key part in how the team performs for the rest of the season.
“Her aura of confidence will really help us going forward,” Thompson said.