LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- What a fantastic evening!
The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team attended the NCAA Championships Banquet at Sony Pictures Studio on Thursday evening, and host UCLA put together an amazing experience for all the participants and staff members.
The Gophers gathered in the hotel lobby a little before 6:00 p.m. PT, where many of the Minnesota parents and fans who are here to cheer on the team spent some time wishing the team good luck. After taking some pictures, the team boarded the bus to head to Sony Studios.
Each team's bus was allowed to pull inside the gates of the Sony Picture Studios lot, where the teams were dropped off and able to walk through the middle of the numerous buildings where movies like Spider-Man, Men in Black, The Karate Kid and Ghostbusters have been filmed. Sony also served as the site of the television shows I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, as well as the game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
The Gophers were then received with a red carpet welcome, complete with photographers dressed as Paparazzi. The team stopped in front of an NCAA Championships backdrop for a team photo before continuing inside and finding its three tables inside a spacious lobby area.
The bonus from my perspective, as well as others in our group, was that we were allowed to immediately go line up to get food. Things were well-organized, with more than one area where food was available, so the lines were manageable and moved steadily.
The tables were decorated with square placards made to look like stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with each gymnast's name adorning one -- a very cool idea that each of the gymnasts appreciated.
A couple awards were presented, and Travis Wall of the show So You Think You Can Dance was there to add some Los Angeles star power to the evening. It was an incredible event, celebrating the best in collegiate women's gymnastics on the eve of the sport's national finals. Thanks to UCLA, the NCAA and its corporate partners, and Sony Pictures Studio for putting together such a special event.