Jan. 9, 2013
The 23rd-ranked University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team makes its 2013 regular season debut on Saturday evening, with a 6:00 p.m. CT meet at the Sports Pavilion against No. 17 Washington.
Today is the second of a four-part, class-by-class preview of what to expect from the 2013 Golden Gophers, focusing on this year’s talented sophomore class.
With a season of collegiate experience in the books, followed by months of rigorous training to prepare for their second year competing for the Golden Gophers, sophomores Jenny Covers, Kylie Schermann, and Cierra Tomson are poised to help take Minnesota to the next level.
The Gophers are coming off a season in which they were tabbed for a seventh-place finish in the Big Ten, but when all was said and done at last year’s Big Ten Championships in Iowa City, Minnesota walked away with its first Top 3 finish at that meet since winning the title in 2006.
If Covers, Schermann and Tomson continue to make the type of significant contributions they did last year, and improve as the year progresses, the Gophers could have a chance to qualify as a team for the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles.
“Our sophomore class of Jenny, Kylie and Cierra was one of our strongest-ever freshman classes,” fourth-year head coach Meg Stephenson said. “All three of them are great vaulters, and we see the potential for them to be able to help us on that event. They’re all doing the same vaults they did last year, but much bigger and better.”
“On bars, Cierra and Jenny both have upgrades in their bar routines this year, so they should make an impact,” Stephenson said. “Jenny added a new release, and Cierra added a new dismount, and both of them will be really strong for us.”
“On balance beam, all three will do a great job for us. Last year, Jenny Covers didn’t compete for us on beam, but this year she will. She’s doing a really good job, and worked really hard over the summer to become a contender for a spot on that event. And Kylie Schermann and Cierra Tomson now have a year of competition on that event under their belt, so that will help to make an impact. Cierra has added a few new things to her routine, so that will be fun for fans to see. And, of course, Kylie does a double-back dismount, which is something you don’t see very often in NCAA competition.”
“On floor exercise, again, all three will help us on that event. Jenny has added some tumbling, and Kylie and Cierra have some new dance in their routines, so we’ll look for them to be consistent performers for us on floor, as well.”
“So, all three gymnasts in that class are competing in all four events, which is really exciting and we’ll count on them quite a bit.”
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.
Gophers Top Spartans
The Golden Gophers edged out Michigan State 193.875 to 193.000 on Friday night at Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich.
Meet Preview: Gophers Travel to Michigan State
The No. 21 Golden Gophers will face Michigan State this Friday, Jan. 20 at 6:00 p.m. on the road.
Gophers Place First in Quad Meet
Minnesota placed first with a score of 194.900 at a quad meet against Arizona (193.225), Maryland (192.350) and Alaska Anchorage (188.175).