Jan. 19, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – The 11th-ranked Minnesota women’s gymnastics team staged a dramatic rally to finish first among four teams at Penn State on Saturday evening.
Minnesota (4-0) finished with a team total of 195.525, while Kent State took second with 195.450, Penn State was third with 194.300, and Towson was fourth with 192.175. Counting Minnesota's win versus Penn State at last year's Big Ten Championships, the Gophers have now defeated the Nittany Lions in their past two meetings.
The Golden Gophers got off to a tough start, as they stood fourth after a team score of 48.225 on uneven bars. But Minnesota moved up to third place after a 48.925 on the balance beam, and closed the gap even more with a 49.150 on floor exercise.
Still, though, the Gophers found themselves in third place following the third rotation -- trailing second-place Kent State by .125 and first-place Penn State by .675. But Minnesota was able to finish on vault, which has been one of the team’s strongest events, and the Gophers recorded four scores in excess of 9.800 to record the victory.
"We got off to a slow start, with two falls on bars, but then we never gave up and made it happen everywhere else," head coach Meg Stephenson said. "We had a couple slips, but when we did, their teammates would come up with great routines."
Freshman Lindsay Mable displayed uncanny consistency all evening long to earn the all-around title with a score of 39.325, while sophomore Jenny Covers was a close second on all-around with a career-high of 39.250.
Mable scored a 9.800 on bars, had a 9.825 on beam, then tied with sophomore Kylie Schermann for first on floor with a 9.875, and finished with a 9.825 on vault. Meanwhile, Covers had scores of 9.775 on bars, 9.750 on beam, 9.850 on floor, and 9.875 on vault.
For the second week in a row, junior Kayla Slechta was a standout on vault, as she won the event with a 9.925. Last weekend against Washington, Slechta just missed a perfect score on vault, getting a 10.0 from the head judge and a 9.900 from the second judge for a 9.950. Covers finished second on vault, while Schermann tied for third (9.850) and Mable was fifth.
Mable’s 9.800 on bars tied for second, while senior Shannon Golich recorded a 9.875 on beam to tie for third and Mable and Schermann tied for eighth.
"Lindsay and Jenny had amazing nights, and Kylie was just unbelievable on floor," Stephenson said. "Kayla Slechta's vault was amazing, and Shannon Golich on beam was just beautiful, so we had a lot to be proud of."
Just like they did on vault, the Golden Gophers dominated on floor, with the top four scores on the event. Mable and Schermann tied for first with scores of 9.875, while Covers and Slechta tied for third with scores of 9.825.
As a team, Minnesota has now gone 11 consecutive meets with scores of 49.000 or greater on floor exercise and 10 straight meets with 49.000 or better on vault. Those were the events the Gophers were able to finish on, and Minnesota used it to its advantage.
Minnesota returns home next weekend for a quad meet with Michigan, Central Michigan, and Iowa State. The meet will take place at the Sports Pavilion, beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT.
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