For Penn State, its meet at No. 9 Nebraska last Sunday served as another learning experience.
The team fell to the Cornhuskers, 197.175-195.150, but the Nittany Lions hung with them during the first three event rotations.
After scoring season-highs on vault and floor with scores of 49.225 and 49.150, respectively, Penn State was trailing Nebraska by only .550, but couldn’t close the gap on the balance beam.
“The team was trying to win the meet, but some looked like they tried not to fall rather than hit their routine,” head coach Jeff Thompson said of the performance on the beam.
Some highlights on vault included a 9.900 score for senior Madison Merriam and a 9.875 for freshman Samantha Musto.
Merriam suffered a foot injury three weeks ago in a quad meet at Rec Hall, but it isn’t affecting her as much now.
“My foot is feeling better,” Merriam said. “It’s more mental than physical for me during meets.”
The team also performed well on floor exercise with senior Sharaya Musser finishing with a 9.900, her season-high, and junior Lindsay Musgrove following suit with a 9.850.
“The meet was awesome for three events,” Thompson said.
The Lions ended up with a 47.800 on beam, the lowest score of the meet between the two teams.
Musto, sophomore Krystal Welsh, and junior Kassidy Stauder each posted a score of 9.725.
Musser and junior Sidney Sanabria-Robles both fell during their routines and scored season-lows of 9.225 and 9.150.
Musser said it was frustrating, but is ultimately a learning experience.
“We’ve been hitting beam consistently in practice,” Thompson said. “But with the beam being four inches wide, sometimes you’re bound to struggle.”
Thompson will be paying attention to beam Tuesday in practice, as the team plans to practice today and Thursday.
Despite the troubles on beam, the team is still optimistic about the rest of the season.
“I think we’ve gotten better on floor, sticking more vaults, overall our energy has gotten a lot better as well,” Merriam said.