April 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Hanna Nordquist tied for second place on balance beam and Lindsay Mable tied for fourth on floor exercise and tied for fifth on vault, as the talented pair of Minnesota freshmen showed off what’s in store for the future of the program on Sunday afternoon at the NCAA Championships.
The performances during the Individual Event Finals capped the most successful season in the history of the women’s gymnastics program at Minnesota. Nordquist’s runner-up finish is Minnesota’s best-ever on balance beam, and it’s the program’s highest finish on any event since Marie Roethlisberger’s national title on uneven bars during 1990.
Nordquist was the second of nine gymnasts to compete on balance beam, and her score of 9.8875 tied with Michigan senior Katie Zurales. Nordquist and Zureales were tied for first with three competitors remaining, until being narrowly defeated by Florida’s Bridget Sloan. A former Olympian and world all-around champion, Sloan recorded a winning total of 9.900.
Mable was the sixth of 24 competitors on vault, and she received a score of 9.900 from the six judges. To create more separation among the competitors at this year’s NCAA Championships, all six judges’ scores were averaged, and Mable received a 9.900 from every judge.
Alabama’s Diandra Milliner and LSU’s Rheagan Courville tied for the vault title with scores of 9.9250, while UCLA’s Olivia Courtney was third with a 9.9167 and the Bruins’ Kaelie Baer was fourth with a 9.9083. Mable tied for fifth with Florida’s Ashanee Dickerson and UCLA’s Vanessa Zamarripa.
On floor, Mable was the 7th of 12 competitors, finishing with a score of 9.900 to tie for fourth with Florida’s Sloan. Michigan junior Joanna Sampson captured the national title with a 9.9375, while Alabama’s Milliner finished second with a 9.9250 and Nebraska junior Emily Wong was third with a 9.9125 to give the Big Ten three of the top five performances on floor.
Mable and Nordquist were the top freshmen finishers on each of the events in which they competed. Both gymnasts earned First Team All-America honors on Friday by virtue of advancing to the Individual Event Finals.
No. 8 Minnesota (27-9) earned a share of the inaugural Big Ten regular season title, finished third at the Big Ten Championships, finished second at the Gainesville Regional and then took eighth at the NCAA Championships by scoring 196.375 points during Friday’s semifinal. The Gophers established a single-season record by scoring 196.000 or more points in nine meets this season.
On Saturday, Minnesota head coach Meg Stephenson was honored as National Coach of the Year by the NACGC/W, and her coaching staff of associate head coach Jenny Hansen, assistant coach Louie Johnson and volunteer assistant coach Jim Stephenson were named National Assistant Coaches of the Year.
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