The University of Minnesota opened the 2009 season with a 194.375-192.575 win over the University of Arizona. The Gophers were led by all around performers Carmelina Carabajal, who took first in the all around with a 39.125, while Kendra Elm placed third with an all around score of 38.625.
Minnesota was up on vault first, and tallied a team score of 48.225, the lowest event score for the Gophers on the night. Carabajal was the top scorer for the team, earning a 9.775 to tie for third place. Lucy Ennis, a newcomer to the vault line up, earned a 9.725 in her vault debut. Sophomore Yuri Nagai set a personal-best with a 9.575 on vault.
Before tonight’s meet, the coaching staff was touting its strong bars team this season, and their predictions of great bars performances came true tonight. The Gophers earned their best team score of the night with a 48.900 on bars. Minnesota swept the top six spots on beam, led by Carabajal and Alexis Russell, who tied for first with marks of 9.800. Sophomores Elm and Kristin Furukawa tied for third with scores of 9.775. Nagai was fifth, earning a 9.750. Sophomore Julie Kinal competed on bars for the first time in her Gopher career, and finished in sixth place with a 9.725.
The Gophers competed on beam in the third rotation, and earned a 48.525 as a team. Senior Jade Beattie made her beam debut in grand fashion. Beattie tied for first place on beam with a 9.775 in her first beam performance. Sophomore Jamie Bullock tied for third place, tying her personal-best score with a 9.750. Carabajal tied for fourth place with a 9.725. Kendra Elm competed on beam for the first time in her collegiate career, and earned a 9.600.
Minnesota finished up the night competing on floor exercise, and tallied a 48.725. Carabajal was the top scorer for the Gophers, earning a 9.825 to place second overall. Freshman Lucy Ennis earned a mark of 9.750 in her first performance on floor, a score that tied her for fourth place. Elm also scored 9.750 to tie for fourth, a mark that tied her personal-best score. Sophomore Ana Balboa competed on floor for the first time in her collegiate career, and score 9.700. Nagai also tallied a personal-best mark with a 9.650.
Two Gopher competitors competed in the all around, with Carabajal taking first place (39.125). Elm made her debut as an all-around competitor and placed third with a 38.625.
Minnesota heads on the road next weekend, and will compete at Denver on Saturday, Jan. 17. A live webcast of the meet will be available on www.gophersports.com. The Gophers are next in action at home on Saturday, Jan. 24 when Minnesota takes on Michigan in a meet scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.