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Big Ten Countdown: 79 - Nebraska Gymnastics

2011 Big XII Champions.
2011 Big XII Champions.

Today we give the spotlight to Nebraska's gymnastic teams.  As far as history goes, the Women's team has held their own in conference since the inception of the program.  They've won 19 conference titles in their history (since 1975) including one a few weeks ago.  They've had five individual NCAA champions:

  • 1990 Michele Bryant: Vault
  • 2000 Heather Brink: All around
  • 2000 Heather Brink: Vault
  • 2003 Richelle Simpson: All around
  • 2003 Richelle Simpson: Floor exercise

They were invited to the NCAA tournament this season and will compete on April 15-17.

The Men's Gymnastics team actually competes in the Mountian Pacific Sports Federation since there are so few Big XII mens gymnastic teams.  Oklahoma is the only other Big XII school that I know of that has a Men's team.  It's a conference that kind of brings together a lot of random athletic teams from the western United States in order to have some type of organized group of schools to play one another.  For Men's Gymnastics, this means a five team conference that also includes Oklahoma, Air Force, California, and Stanford.  It's a very tough conference as all of the teams are currently ranked.  Nebraska is actually the lowest ranked team there at #11.  They finished fourth this year in their meet.  They get a shot at the Men's NCAA championship April 14-16.

The Men's history includes eight National Championships, with the first coming in 19(79).  Those titles came between 1979 and 1994, though.  It's been pretty lean times since they joined up with the MPSF.

What's there to look forward to in the Big Ten?  Currently in the Big Ten, there are seven Women's teams (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State) while there are six Men's teams (same except for no Michigan State squad).  Most of the Big Ten teams field very good gymnastics teams.  You can view the current Men's Rankings here and the Women's Rankings here.