The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team wants to make it to nationals. In order to accomplish that goal, the team will have to finish either first or second in the 2017 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Lincoln Regional on Saturday, April 1. And being at home at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Huskers are hoping for strong crowd support.
“[Fans] can make a huge impact on the result of this meet,” head coach Dan Kendig said. “I believe that wholeheartedly. I feel like if we’re at home and it’s a pro-Huskers crowd – and I mean a really pro-Husker crowd – then they can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of this competition.”
The Huskers will face five other programs on Saturday, which includes No. 2 ranked LSU, No. 11 ranked Boise State, Arizona, Iowa State and Minnesota. Nebraska is currently ranked No. 14 nationally and is the third seed in the Lincoln Regional. However, there is still work to be done to overcome the two programs ahead on Saturday.
“We’re obviously working and preparing very hard to have our best meet of the year,” Kendig said. “It’s going to take that to move on to nationals. Each and every year it seems to get harder and harder to advance to the national championship. The good news is that we are at home and we compete well at the Devaney, but we do have great teams coming in.
“As the third seed here, you have to take first or second place to go to nationals so we have our work cut out for us. We feel really good about the fact that we’re home and we feel we still have our best yet in us.”
Kendig also feels his team is in a really good spot heading into regionals. Overall, the Huskers are healthy for the end of the season and the team’s bond and chemistry are stronger than ever. As a result, Kendig suspects one of the best performances all-around from his team on Saturday.
For fans interested in attending, Kendig is excited to share the complete experience with the crowd. He sees this year’s team as well-rounded, which will provide a lot to watch and enjoy for those in the crowd.
“I think that’s the beauty of our team – the collection,” Kendig said. “The crowd will love the floor because the girls get to show their personalities. The home team on floor is a great event but I feel like the beam is one of our best events. We do really do well on bars and our vault team keeps getting better and better. I think our strength is that we don’t have a ‘weak event.’”
The Huskers have one week left of practice to perfect all of the final details. Kendig is confident that if his team hits all 24 routines on Saturday, Nebraska will advance to nationals. However, he feels it’s about more than just practice. It’s also about the fan support. If the crowd shows up on Saturday, Kendig especially likes his team’s chances of advancing.
Plus, the event itself is built to be fan (and family) friendly. Ticket prices range from $5-$9 (depending on age and where you choose to sit) and the event itself is relatively quick for the amount of action.
“We’re talking two hours, if that,” Kendig said. “It’s a two-hour event and what you’ll get to see is unbelievable. It’s very affordable for the family and that’s what we price it at. This is a family event. The children can come down afterwards and talk to our athletes and get autographs.
“We’re very fan-friendly. We try to make it an event, not just a meet.”
For more information on the Lincoln Regional (which begins at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday) and how you can attend, visit here.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.