Jan. 6, 2012
In this four-part series, GopherSports.com will be previewing the 2012 women's gymnastics season event-by-event. Accompanying each preview will be a video which features head coach Meg Stephenson analyzing one Gopher gymnast's routine along with explaining what judges look for in that specific event. The fourth and final preview will focus on the floor exercise.
A staple in years past for the University of Minnesota women's gymnastics has been the floor exercise, and heading into the 2012 season, the Golden Gophers feel that this season will be no different. Last season, floor was consistently the team's top event as they proved to have a lot of depth with unique and exciting routines. With only losing two competitors from last year's group, head coach Meg Stephenson is confident in the depth of the 2012 squad.
"We are really excited about our floor lineup this year," said head coach Meg Stephenson. "We have some new routines, and we have also upgraded our tumbling, which should make for some exciting routines to watch."
The first two gymnasts Stephenson tagged as competitors on the floor are juniors Shannon Golich and Janell Campbell. Both Golich and Campbell performed on floor every meet last season, and this year each of them are showcasing new routines.
"Shannon and Janell both have new routines, and they have been looking great. Each of them competed consistently last year, so we look for them to be the core of our floor group because of their experience."
Stephenson also looks towards the leadership and experience of her three senior Lucy Ennis, Amber Hammerschmidt and Briana Jones.
"Lucy didn't participate a whole lot last year, but she is looking phenomenal so far. So we hope to see her contribute a lot more this season. Amber competed a lot for us last year, and she is also looking great heading into the season. Lastly, we have Briana who has a really nice style on floor, and we expect her to help us a ton on floor."
Sophomores Dusti Russell and Kayla Slechta will also add great depth to the Gopher squad as they tied for the highest individual score on floor last year with a 9.900. Russell posted the highest average score for any Gopher on the floor last spring.
"We also have our sophomores in Dusti and Kayla, who competed a lot for us last spring. Both were very strong for us last season, and we look for them to do the same this year."
The Maroon and Gold also feel the trio of freshmen in Jenny Covers, Kylie Schermann and Cierra Tomson will help throughout the season. All three of them have picked up new routines since joining the Minnesota squad.
"We are excited about our depth on the floor, and we feel that the judges and fans will enjoy the routines. The women have really, really been training to make sure they take care of every little deduction, so we can have a typically strong floor event like Minnesota normally does."
Catch the No. 22-ranked Gophers in action tomorrow night as they kick off the 2012 season against No. 18 Ohio State. The meet will be in the Sports Pavilion and begins at 6 p.m.