This Week: Iowa
The No. 17 Gophers compete in their home opener Saturday evening when they take on the No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes at the Sports Pavilion. The meet will begin at 6 p.m.
Gopher Gymnastics on the internet
All of Minnesota’s regular-season home meets will have a live webcast on the Gophers’ website at www.gophersports.com. Audio and video coverage of each regular-season home meet will be available to Gold Zone subscribers. This season, Audio commentary will be provided by Gopher alums Jade Beattie and Jamie Bullock.
Click on the Gold Zone to find all the live events carried on www.gophersports.com.
Live scoring and a live blog for all home meets will also be available on www.gophersports.com, free of charge.
Minnesota is ranked No. 17 in this week’s edition of the GymInfo National Rankings, moving up from the No. 23 ranking the team earned in the preseason coaches’ poll. Five Big Ten teams are listed among the top 25 this week, including two teams that were not among the top 25 in the preseason coaches’ poll in Ohio State (No. 15) and Iowa (No. 18).
In the event rankings, Minnesota is ranked among the top 25 in three events, coming in at No. 13 on bars, No. 22 on beam and No. 19 on floor.
Individually, freshmen Dusti Russell is tied for No. 21 on beam after earning a 9.825 at Ohio State last weekend.
Last Time vs. Iowa
The last meeting between the Gophers and the Hawkeyes was at the 2010 Big Ten Championship. Minnesota tied for fourth with a 195.350 while Iowa was third with a 195.575.
In the last dual meet competition between the teams, Minnesota defeated Iowa 194.625-194.200 in Iowa City on Feb. 28, 2010.
The freshman class started their collegiate careers strong with great results at Ohio State. In last week’s competition, the top scorer in three of four events was a freshmen. Kayla Slechta was the vault winner with a 9.825, while Dusti Russell led the way on beam (9.825) and floor (9.775). Alex Feeken earned a 9.725 on beam, the second-best score for the Gophers.
Last Meet Recap: vs. Ohio State
Minnesota 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.
Coaching the Gophers
Head coach Meg Stephenson is entering her 19th season as a coach with the Golden Gopher program and her 14th as a head coach. Stephenson was a co-head coach with husband Jim from 1998-2009 before taking the helm of the Minnesota program on her own last season.
Stephenson is assisted by Jenny Alf Hansen and Louie Johnson. Both Hansen and Johnson are Minnesota alums.
Coming up Next Week: at Michigan State
The Gophers head to East Lansing, Mich., for a dual meet against Michigan State on Saturday, Jan. 22. The meet will begin at 2 p.m. central, and will be telecast on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis.
The Big Ten Championship
The Gophers will play host to the 2011 Big Ten Championship. The competition will feaure all seven teams from the league and will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19. Tickets are available and range in price from $5-$8. Call 1-800-U-GOPHER or visit gophersports.com for more information.
Minnesota on the Big Ten Network
Minnesota will appear on the Big Ten Network twice this season. The away meet against Michigan State on Jan. 22 will be telecast on a tape-delay basis. The Big Ten Championship will once again be televised live, and will be held at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.