The No. 23 University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team scored 193.925 in its season opener, but lost to the host Ohio State Buckeyes, who scored 194.475. Two Gophers won individual titles as freshman Kayla Slechta took first place on vault, and senior Kristin Furukawa tied for first on bars. All around competitor Dusti Russell was the team’s top scorer on beam and floor. In three of four events, Minnesota’s top scorer was a freshman.
The Gophers competed on uneven bars in the first rotation, earning a team score of 48.775, making bars the highest-scoring event for Minnesota today. Ohio State competed on vault in the opening rotation, earning a 48.725, giving the Gophers a .05 advantage after the first rotation. For Minnesota, senior captain Kristin Furukawa tied for first place, earning a 9.80. Four Gophers earned scores of 9.75 to tie for fourth place: Janell Campbell, Kendra Elm, Yuri Nagai, and Kayla Slechta.
In the second rotation, Minnesota tallied a 48.275 on vault. The Gophers were led by freshman Kayla Slechta who won the event with a 9.825 in her collegiate debut. Senior Kendra Elm was the second-highest scorer for Minnesota with a 9.70. The Buckeyes scored a 48.70 on uneven bars in the second rotation, bringing the running totals to 97.425 to 97.05 in favor of Ohio State.
On floor exercise, the Gophers compiled a team scores of 48.625. Freshman Dusti Russell was the team’s top scorer, earning a 9.775 to place fourth overall. Sophomores Shannon Golich and Janell Campbell were the second-highest scorers for Minnesota, each earning a 9.75. Ohio State tallied a 48.75 on beam, giving the Buckeyes a half point lead going into the last rotation at 146.175 to 145.675.
In the final rotation, the Gophers earned a 48.25 on balance beam. As on floor, freshman Dusti Russell was the top scorer for Minnesota. Russell earned a 9.825 in her first competition, good for second place. Freshman Alex Feeken was the second-highest scorer for Minnesota with a 9.725 to place fifth overall. Ohio State earned a 48.30 on floor in the last rotation, its lowest event score of the night, but it was enough to seal the win at 194.475-193.925.
Dusti Russell was the lone all around competitor for Minnesota. She compiled a 38.85 in her debut, placing second.
Next weekend, Minnesota returns home to the friendly confines of the Sports Pavilion to take on Iowa. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15.