2013 Women's Gymnastics Preview: Freshmen

Go Gophers! Meg Stephenson expects a big impact from this year's freshmen.
Go Gophers!
Meg Stephenson expects a big impact from this year's freshmen.
Go Gophers!

Jan. 8, 2013

The 23rd-ranked University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team makes its 2013 regular season debut on Saturday, with a 6:00 p.m. CT meet at the Sports Pavilion against No. 17 Washington.

Today is the first of a four-part, class-by-class preview of what to expect from the Golden Gophers in 2013, beginning with this year’s freshman class of Madie Hanley, Sarah Lokos, Lindsay Mable and Hanna Nordquist.

In 2012, head coach Meg Stephenson and her staff benefitted from the contributions made by a very strong group of freshmen. The Gophers, who were tabbed for a seventh-place Big Ten finish in the preseason polls, opened eyes by finishing third at the Big Ten Championships and qualifying for their 18th NCAA Regional appearance.

Much of that success can be credited to the immediate impact made by the trio of Jenny Covers, Kylie Schermann, and Cierra Tomson during their first season with the team.

This year’s freshman class is once again expected to make waves for the Golden Gophers, with three of the four gymnasts very likely to make significant contributions. Hanley, Mable, and Nordquist are all names that fans of the Gophers will become very familiar with this season. Meanwhile, Lokos is rehabbing a preexisting foot injury, and will not be able to compete this season.

Hanley is from Danielsville, Pa. (Northampton Area HS) and trained at Parkettes. She was a two-time qualifier for the Junior Olympics Championships, was the 2012 Region 7 all-around and beam champion, and also captured the 2012 Pennsylvania state title in the all-around.

“Madie is a great performer on every event,” Stephenson said. “She has beautiful lines and swing, and she will definitely help our program out in every event, but especially on bars.”

Mable is from Aurora, Colo. (Eaglecrest HS) and trained at the Colorado Gymnastics Institute. She is a three-time Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championship qualifier, and she finished second on both floor exercise and balance beam at the 2012 JO Nationals. Mable also was 2011 and 2012 Region 3 all-around, vault and floor champion, while adding a 2011 Region 3 title on beam.

“Lindsay is an amazing dancer and performer,” Stephenson said. “Her form and execution will really rival some of our past gymnasts, who have done well for us. She brings a nice spark on every event, but I believe she will especially shine on the floor and beam for us.”

Nordquist is from Otsego, Minn. (Spectrum HS) and trained with the Twin City Twisters. She is a five-time Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships qualifier, and she captured the balance beam title while finishing fourth on both floor and all-around at the 2012 JO Nationals.

“Hanna is a really good all-around competitor, but she is really amazing on the balance beam,” Stephenson said. “She’s a local gymnast, so we’re looking forward to having her family around to help support the team throughout the upcoming season.”

Below are Stephenson’s event-by-event comments on this year’s talented class of first-year Golden Gophers:

Vault
“Hanna and Lindsay are our strongest freshman vaulters, and I feel they will both make a big impact on our vaulting team this year,” Stephenson said. “Both of them do 10.0 vaults, with Hanna’s being a new vault for her. She’s doing a Yurchenko full this year, and we’re really excited for her to show that off. And Lindsay has a much-improved vault and is much more confident, so we’re excited for her.”

Balance Beam
“We have great freshman balance beam workers, with Hanna being a national champion on beam, and Lindsay placing second. And then Madie won her region on balance beam. So we have three very steady beam workers, all doing very unique routines, with nice choreography and unique skills. So I think the fans will really enjoy the variety of skills that our freshmen will be showing on balance beam.”

Uneven Bars
“On uneven bars, right now Lindsay and Madie are our two strongest freshman bar workers. That’s probably Madie’s best event, as she’s really confident and has a beautiful swing. Lindsay, too, has two big releases and just learned a new dismount, so we’re excited for her on that event, as well.”

Floor Exercise
“On floor exercise, Hanna and Lindsay are both really strong competitors. And we expect Madie to develop into a really strong floor worker, so all three of them have the chance to make an impact this season.”

Saturday will be Kayla Slechta Community Night, and fans can receive $4 general admission tickets by using the code “KaylaShakopee” when ordering online or over the phone. The special rate is only available for advance sales, and will not be applicable on Saturday.

To order tickets, call the Gopher Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER, or visit www.mygophersports.com.