UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State women's gymnastics team is headed to the Ann Arbor regional to start the NCAA Championships, announced on Monday. The Nittany Lions will be joined in the regional by No. 2 UCLA, No. 10 Alabama, No. 26 Ohio State, No. 14 Nebraska, No. 27 West Virginia, No. 29 Illinois, No. 30 Central Michigan and the host No. 7 Wolverines.
The regional will start on Thursday, April 4, and conclude on Saturday, April 6. Under the new regional format, Illinois and Central Michigan will compete on Thursday for a spot in Friday's Session II quad meet.
The Nittany Lions will compete in Friday's Session I against Michigan, Alabama and Ohio State. Session II will feature UCLA, Nebraska and West Virginia.
The top four teams who advance through Friday will compete on Saturday in another quad meet. The top two teams on Saturday advance to the NCAA Semifinals on April 19 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Nittany Lions, led by Head Coach Sarah Brown, are ranked No. 23 in the RoadToNationals rankings after their 196.125 at the Big Ten Championships. Penn State finished fifth in the Big Ten Championships.
Penn State heads into the NCAA Regional round with a 196.070 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), its highest since 2015. The Nittany Lions own a 195.594 average. Penn State currently ranks No. 17 in the nation on bars with a 49.220 RQS and a 49.079 average.
The Nittany Lions have a 10-9 record in dual meets, earning wins over No. 32 Towson, Temple, No. 34 Illinois, No. 32 Maryland, Michigan State, No. 21 Arizona State, Cornell, Yale, No. 27 NC State and No. 22 Ohio State.
Penn State earned two All-Big Ten selections last week. First Team All-Big Ten sophomore Lauren Bridgens owns seven event titles this season, including three all-around, three on bars and one on vault. This year, Bridgens has set career highs in all-around, beam and floor. At the Big Ten Championships, Bridgens tied a career-best on floor (9.875) and tied a season-high on bars (9.925). She has five bars scores of 9.900 or better this year. She ranks 27th in the nation in all-around and 33rd on bars.
Second Team All-Big Ten senior Sabrina Garcia sits 49th in the country on bars. She has collected five event titles this season, including two all-around, two on bars and one on floor. Garcia has four bars scores of 9.900 or higher this year, including a career-best 9.950 against Ohio State.