A strong start and a stronger closing act led the Nebraska men's gymnastics team to its best finish at the Big Ten Championships.

The Huskers closed Friday's meet with a 70.550 on its best event, vault, to take fourth place in an ultra-competitive meet in Iowa City, Iowa.

In a field that was completely wide open, it was No. 5 Penn State outlasting all with a team score of 410.350. No. 4 Illinois (410.100) was second, No. 3 Michigan (409.500) was third and No. 8 Nebraska (406.000) was fourth.

No. 6 Minnesota (404.800), No. 9 Ohio State (401.900) and No. 7 Iowa (398.750) rounded out the rest.

The 406.00 was NU's second-best score of the season, which is impressive considering how hard judges score the conference meet.

"We left it all out on the floor," NU coach Chuck Chmelka said. "We fought hard. Yeah, I want to win this thing one of these days, but, gosh, we did good. It was just a back-and-forth, and a really, really high-caliber intense competition."

Nebraska's best finish at this meet since joining the Big Ten for the 2012 season came despite being without one of its top performers in junior Jake Bonnay, who tweaked a knee during practice Thursday.

Nebraska opened the meet on parallel bars, one of its strong events, and scored a 69.150. The rotation was highlighted by Evan Hymanson's 14.400 on the event.

"He had a good day all the way through," Chmelka said. "(Jake's injury) opened the door for some other guys and they did really good. Evan was one of those kids."

The Huskers showed consistency throughout the other rotations, scoring a 65.850 on high bar, 67.800 on floor exercise, 66.400 on pommel horse and 66.350 on still rings before closing out on vault.

Three Huskers — Zach Peters (14.100), Jonathan Scripnick (14.150) and Anton Stephenson (14.650) — scored 14 or higher on vault. Only one other competitor — Michigan's Emyre Cole at 15.000 — scored higher than Stephenson.

Michigan's Cameron Bock won the all-around championship with a score of 83.600.

Individual event finals will take place Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. on BTN.

Stephenson qualified for event finals in floor and vault, while freshman Evan Kriley was the team's highest qualifier on pommel horse with a 14.100.


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