Feb. 3, 2012
Behind a trio of career-best scores from sophomoreDusti Russell, the University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team posted a 194.625 at the high-profile quadrangular meet Friday night in Norman, Okla. The No. 25-ranked Gophers claimed third place out of four teams while No. 9 Nebraska and No. 5 Oklahoma went one-two.
"I was pleased with how our team performed on the road, and it is definately a huge improvement from our last away meet," head coach Meg Stephenson said following the meet at Oklahoma. "We did well in each event, and I am just pleased on how everyone competed tonight."
Russell headed the charge for Minnesota as she tallied three career-best scores on the night. The Oshkosh, Wis. native first began the meet with a season-high score on beam earning a 9.850, which was good enough for a fifth place tie. Her next top routine came in the third rotation as she tallied a 9.775 on vault. The sophomore capped off her career night with a 9.750 on bars, which was matched by fellow Gophers sophomore Kayla Slechta and freshman Cierra Tomson.
All together, Russell achieved a 39.025 in the all around, which topped her previous best of 38.925. She would claim fourth place in the all around.
"Dusti was very focused and mentally prepared fo the meet tonight. She was put together an all around great night and showcased some of her best gymnastics since being in college. With seeing how competitive and ready to go she was, I am not surprised on how amazing she did."
The Maroon and Gold started the meet off hot as they put together their best beam score of the season, 48.900. Russell led the team with a 9.850, but freshman Kylie Schermann followed closely as she posted a personal best 9.825.
Schermann continued to tally impressive scores as she tied a season-best score on floor with a 9.800. As a whole, the Gophers didn't fare as well in the event as the freshman, recording a 48.425. Stephenson praised junior Janell Campbell for putting together a good floor routine, after missing the first four meets of the season due to a minor foot injury.
"I was glad to have Janell back in the lineup tonight after missing the first four meets. She came out and put together a remarkable routine for us."
Minnesota rebounded on vault as they earned their second-highest score of the season, 48.900. Junior Shannon Golich, who was vaulting for the first time since January 14, surged the Gophers in the third rotation as she tallied a 9.825 while Slechta finished with a 9.800, respectively.
"It was nice to have Shannon back in our vault lineup, and she put together a great
The Golden Gophers finished the night on bars with a 48.400. Russell, Slechta and Tomson were the front runners for Minnesota as they each recorded a 9.750. Senior Lucy Ennis finished the rotation for the Maroon and Gold as she earned a 9.725.
Slechta would finish the night with a 39.000 all around score, which is her second straight meet of earning a 39.000 or higher.
"We still have room to improve, but we know what we need to work on to continue this upward climb. After a meet like tonight, I am very excited about how our team is improving as a whole."
Minnesota returns home next weekend for the annual Best of Minnesota meet that will showcase all four collegiate women's gymnastic teams in the state, including Gustavus, Hamline and Winona State. The meet begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Sports Pavilion.