The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team opened the 2012 season with a bang as they proved to be near mid-season form by scoring an impressive 195.075 Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion. Even with recording an impressive score in the first meet of the season, Ohio State came away with the dual victory by scoring 195.375.
The Gophers started the meet strong as they posted a 49.050 on vault. Sophomore Kayla Slechta led the way as she tallied a 9.875 while junior Shannon Golich followed closely and scored a 9.850, which is a career best. Despite the Gophers' high scores, Sarah Miller form Ohio State claimed the vaulting crown with a 9.925. Along with Slechta and Golich, freshmen Jenny Covers (9.800) and Cierra Tomson (9.850) each scored over 9.800.
In the second rotation, Minnesota moved to the uneven bars, which is the largest question mark heading into the season, but the Maroon and Gold showed that it may not be a weakness after all as they scored a 48.550. Tomson and junior Janell Campbell soared to the top of the scores list by earning a 9.800. They were matched by Buckeye senior Casey Williamson to force a three-way tie for first. Sophomore Dusti Russell also posted a career-best score of 9.725 in the event.
It was on balance beam that the struggles came for Minnesota as two Gopher gymnasts dropped of the beam. But thanks to a quartet of impressive scores by the other gymnasts, the team rebounded to score a 48.400, respectively. Golich marked the team's highest score at 9.850, which was good enough for a three-way tie for first with a pair of OSU gymnasts. Senior Amber Hammerschmidt just missed the podium with as she tied a personal-best score of 9.775.
The Gophers ended the meet on a high note as they proved why the floor exercise is a Minnesota staple with scoring a 49.075. The team would tally four scores over a 9.800 with Russell and Tomson heading the charge. Russell put together a near-flawless routine to win floor with a 9.875 while Tomson grabbed second with a 9.850. Senior Briana Jones also had a good performance as she notched a career-high score of 9.750 in the event.
Russell ended up winning the all around with a 38.925, which tied a personal best score. Tomson and fellow freshman Kylie Schermann also competed in the all around for the Gophers.
Minnesota now heads out for their first road test of the 2012 season as they face No. 15-ranked Illinois on Saturday, January 14. The meet begins at 4 p.m. in Champaign, Ill.