Jan. 10, 2014
|| No. 14 Minnesota vs. Air Force and Lindenwood
||Saturday, January 11
||6:30 p.m. CT
||Sports Pavilion (5,840)
||Air Force - Won 195.575 - 191.5 (1/29/11)
Lindenwood - First Meeting
||Minnesota | Air Force | Lindenwood
This Week: Air Force/Lindenwood
Coming off a season in which it captured a share of the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title and finished as the eighth-ranked team in the country, No. 14-ranked Minnesota will open its 2014 campaign with a home tri-meet against Air Force and Lindenwood Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Gophers were 26-9 last year with a 6-1 league mark and started the season with a program record 12-straight wins.
About Air Force
Air Force comes to Minneapolis with an experienced squad that includes six seniors. AFA is coached by former Minnesota assistant coach Doug Day, a Jan. 10, 2014 inductee of the Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Jen Kesler’s Lindenwood squad is will open its second season in program history at the meet. The Lady Lions, who have just one upperclassman, senior Emily Turik, dropped a 191.95-179.55 exhibition decision against Missouri back on Dec. 8.
Last Time vs. Air Force
The last time the Gophers and Falcons met was in 2011, when Minnesota emerged with a 195.575-191.5 victory at the Sports Pavilion.
Last Time vs. Lindenwood
Saturday’s meet will mark the first time Minnesota and LU will compete together.
Last Meet Recap: Intrasquad
In its first action of the 2013-14 season at its home arena, the team came together to register a final score of 194.65.
Juniors Jenny Covers and Kylie Schermann led the way in vault, tying for first at 9.75. Freshman Rachel Haines impressed in her debut with a third-place finish, posting a 9.725. In total, eight Gophers vaulted for a team score of 48.575.
Sophomore All-American Lindsay Mable had a strong day overall, following her vault with a first-place showing in the balance beam by putting up a 9.8. Coming in second of the 11 Minnesota gymnasts on the beam was Schermann, who put up a 9.775 score. Senior Justine Cherwink rounded out the top three at 9.7. As a team, the Gophers scored a 48.525 in the event.
With a score of 9.775, junior Cierra Tomson claimed the top spot in the uneven bars. In second was Mable with a 9.75. The Aurora, Colo., native was followed by freshmanBailie Holst and sophomore Madie Hanley, who each posted scores of 9.675. As was the case in the beam, the team finished with a 48.525 score.
The floor exercise was the team’s strongest event at the meet. Mable won her second event of the day with the highest score on any event on the afternoon with a 9.9. Rounding out the top three were Tomson (9.85) and Covers (9.775). Minnesota finished floor exercise with an impressive team score of 49.025.
With top-five finishes in all four events, Mable won the all-around with a score of 39.1. Cherwink was named the Most Valuable Performer.
Minnesota enters the 2014 season ranked No. 14 in the GymInfo National Preseason Rankings. The Golden Gophers are one of six teams in the Big Ten Conference to receive a Top 25 preseason ranking. The only conference schools that are not in the national rankings are Michigan State and Iowa, but they are receiving votes. Last season, Minnesota went 16-7 against ranked foes.
Coaching the Gophers
Head coach Meg Stephenson is entering her 16th season at the Gophers’ helm. Stephenson is assisted by Jenny (Alf) Hansen and Louie Johnson. Both Hansen and Johnson are Minnesota alums.
Saluting a New Captain
Senior Dusti Russell of Oshkosh, Wis. will serve as Minnesota’s captain in the 2014 season.
Next Meet: At No. 20 Washington
Minnesota has a quick turnaround between their first two meets. After a opening with a Saturday night tri-meet, the Gophers will head west to take on No. 20 Washington Monday night. That meet will air on the Pac-12 Network.
The Gophers welcome five newcomers to their squad this season. Colorado natives Bailie Holst and Bailey Abernathy join Rachel Haines, Kaitlin Rahon, and Brooklyn Park’s Athena Geisness.
For the latest and most updated information on Minnesota women’s gymnastics check out the team on Facebook (Minnesota Women’s Gymnastics) and Twitter (@GopherWomensGym).