MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team made a statement to open the season on Saturday by soundly defeating No. 17 Washington, 195.550-193.500 before a crowd of 1,248 at the Sports Pavilion.
Minnesota, which was ranked 23rd in the GymInfo Preseason Poll, got off to a fantastic start with a 49.275 on vault, and never looked back. Junior Kayla Slechta (9.950), sophomore Kylie Schermann (9.900), and sophomore Jenny Covers (9.875, tie) each had career-best scores on the vault, while freshman Lindsay Mable added a 9.850 in her first collegiate event.
Slechta actually earned a 10.0 from the head judge on her vault, but received a 9.900 from the second judge for the score of 9.950. It was a heck of a way for Slechta to kick off her evening, on Kayla Slechta Community Night, no less.
Already enjoying a lead of 1.175 points after the first rotation, Minnesota went to uneven bars and stretched the advantage by another tenth. Senior Janell Campbell and Mable each scored 9.825 on their bars routine to pace the Golden Gophers.
Freshman Hanna Nordquist, who won the event at the 2012 JO Nationals, led the Gophers with a 9.850 on balance beam, and Minnesota closed out the victory with three scores of 9.800 or greater on floor exercise. Slechta, who was selected the meet's Most Valuable Performer, tied with Campbell for honors on floor, each with a 9.875, while Nordquist tallied a 9.800.
The team total of 195.550 is the most-ever recorded by Minnesota in a season-opening meet. The previous best had been a total of 195.525 points during a loss to Arizona on Jan. 11, 2003.
Minnesota has its first road meet of the season next weekend, as it travels to State College, Pa., for a 6:00 p.m. CT quad meet with Penn State, Kent State and Towson.