This Week: Ohio State
The Gophers begin the regular season on the road at Ohio State on Saturday, January 8. The meet will start at 3 p.m. central (4 p.m. eastern).
Gopher Gymnastics on the Internet
All of Minnesota’s regular-season home meets will have a live webcast on the Gophers’ website at www.gophersports.com. Audio and video coverage of each regular-season home meet will be available to Gold Zone subscribers. Click on the Gold Zone to find all the live events carried on www.gophersports.com.
Live scoring and a live blog for all home meets will also be available on www.gophersports.com, free of charge.
Minnesota on the Big Ten Network
Minnesota will appear on the Big Ten Network twice times this season. The away meet against Michigan State on Jan. 22 will be telecast on a tape-delay basis. The Big Ten Championship will once again be televised live, and will be held at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.
Minnesota is ranked No. 23 in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the same preseason ranking the Gophers received last season. The Gophers finished the 2010 season with a No. 25 national ranking. The Gophers are one of four Big Ten teams listed in the top 25 in the preseason ranking.
Big Ten Poll
Minnesota was picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten Coaches’ Preseason Poll. Senior gymnasts Kendra Elm and Kristin Furukawa were named “Athletes to Watch” by the coaches panel.
Last Meet Recap: Intrasquad Meet
The University of Minnesota held its annual intrasquad meet tonight at the Sports Pavilion, a warm up for the regular season which starts next weekend. As a team, Minnesota tallied a score of 190.90. Freshman Dusti Russell was the all around champion, while sophomore Janell Campbell won two events.
Eight Gophers competed on vault, with freshman Kayla Slechta earning the top score of 9.775, which turned out to be the highest individual score of the evening. Senior Kendra Elm was second with a 9.65, while Yuri Nagai rounded out the top three with a 9.575. As a team, the Gophers compiled a vault score of 47.95.
On uneven bars, seven gymnasts performed. Sophomore Janell Campbell earned the top score, a 9.675. Senior Kristin Furukawa took second place, earning a 9.650. Freshman Dusti Russell was third, earning a 9.575. The Minnesota team score on bars was 47.625.
More gymnasts performed on beam than any other event tonight, with 10 competitors, and Minnesota earned its highest team score of the night on beam. As a team, the Gophers tallied a 48.025, lead by sophomore Shannon Golich who won the event with a 9.7. Seniors Ana Balboa and Kristin Furukawa tied for second place, each earning a 9.6. Freshman Alex Feeken was close behind and placed fourth, scoring 9.575.
The coaches were conservative in the line up on floor, choosing to rest several gymnasts to make sure they’re ready to compete in the regular season. Only five gymnasts performed on floor, with Janell Campbell earning top honors with a 9.675. Freshman Dusti Russell was the runner up with a 9.6 while frosh Alex Feeken was third earning a 9.575. As a team, the Gophers compiled a 47.30 on floor.
Freshman Dusti Russell was the all around champion, winning with a 38.050.
Last Time vs. Ohio State
The last meeting between Minnesota and Denver was at the 2010 Big Ten Championship. The Gophers finished in a tie for fourth place with a score of 195.350, while Ohio State was seventh with a 194.70.
Senior Kristin Furukawa has again been elected team captain for the 2011 season, after also serving as captain last season as a junior.
During the fall training season, the Gophers were busy bringing their sport into the community, hosting two gymnastics clinics at Peik Gym, their training facility. The first clinic, with athletes from Special Olympics, was held on Nov. 13. On Dec. 4, the Gophers hosted Girl Scouts in their second clinic. Members of the gymnastics team led participants through six stations: vault, bars, beam, floor, dance and trampoline.
Coaching the Gophers
Head coach Meg Stephenson is entering her 19th season as a coach with the Golden Gopher program and her 14th as a head coach. Stephenson was a co-head coach with husband Jim from 1998-2009 before taking the helm of the Minnesotaprogram on her own last season.
Stephenson is assisted by Jenny Alf Hansen and Louie Johnson. Both Hansen and Johnson are Minnesota alums.
Coming up Next Week: vs. Iowa
The Gophers will compete in their first home meet of the 2011 season on Saturday, Jan. 15 when they return home to face Big Ten rival Iowa. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion. Season and single-meet tickets are available by calling 1-800-U-GOPHER or by ordering online at gophersports.com. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 15 or more.
The Big Ten Championship
The Gophers will play host to the 2011 Big Ten Championship. The competition will feaure all seven teams from the league and will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19. Tickets are available and range in price from $5-$8. Call 1-800-U-GOPHER or visit gophersports.com for more information.