Jan. 13, 2012
Live Stats l Live Video
Minnesota Meet Notes l Illinois Meet Notes
The No. 22-ranked University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team heads to Champaign, Ill. this weekend for their first road test of the 2012 season as they face No. 15 Illinois. The Golden Gophers look to improve off an impressive outing last weekend in their season opener against No. 18 Ohio State. The meet begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Huff Hall.
Last Time vs. Illinois
The Gophers last faced the Fighting Illini at the Big Ten Championships last spring. Illinois claimed third place with a 196.075 while Minnesota came in fourth with a score of 195.325. The Maroon and Gold have not defeated the Illini since the 2010 Big Ten Championships, where Minnesota finished fourth and Illinois came in fifth.
This weekend will be the Fighting Illini's first meet of the 2012 season.
Last Meet: Season Opener Versus Ohio State
The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team opened the 2012 season with a bang as they proved to be near mid-season form by scoring an impressive 195.075 Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion. Even with recording an impressive score in the first meet of the season, Ohio State came away with the dual victory by scoring 195.375.
The Gophers started the meet strong as they posted a 49.050 on vault. Sophomore Kayla Slechta led the way as she tallied a 9.875 while junior Shannon Golich followed closely and scored a 9.850, which is a career best. Despite the Gophers' high scores, Sarah Miller form Ohio State claimed the vaulting crown with a 9.925. Along with Slechta and Golich, freshmen Jenny Covers (9.800) and Cierra Tomson (9.850) each scored over 9.800.
In the second rotation, Minnesota moved to the uneven bars, which is the largest question mark heading into the season, but the Maroon and Gold showed that it may not be a weakness after all as they scored a 48.550. Tomson and junior Janell Campbell soared to the top of the scores list by earning a 9.800. They were matched by Buckeye senior Casey Williamson to force a three-way tie for first.
It was on balance beam that the struggles came for Minnesota as two Gopher gymnasts dropped of the beam. But thanks to a quartet of impressive scores by the other gymnasts, the team rebounded to score a 48.400, respectively. Golich marked the team's highest score at 9.850, which was good enough for a three-way tie for first with a pair of OSU gymnasts.
The Gophers ended the meet on a high note as they proved why the floor exercise is a Minnesota staple with scoring a 49.075. The team would tally four scores over a 9.800 with Russell and Tomson heading the charge. Russell put together a near-flawless routine to win floor with a 9.875 while Tomson grabbed second with a 9.850.
Russell ended up winning the all around with a 38.925, which tied a personal best score. Tomson and fellow freshman Kylie Schermann also competed in the all around for the Gophers.
Starting 2012 on the Right Foot
Minnesota started the 2012 season hot as they earned a 195.075, which is the highest a Gopher squad has scored for a season opener since 2003 (195.525).
As individuals, the Golden Gophers had five scores that either tied or surpassed a career mark. Senior Amber Hammerschmidt tied a personal best score with her beam routine (9.775) while fellow senior Briana Jones notched a career high floor routine (9.750). Junior Shannon Golich started the night off right as she earned a career best vaulting score (9.850). Sophomore Dusti Russell had a stellar day as she had a personal best bars score (9.725) and tied her top all around score (38.925).
The trio of Gopher freshmen had a huge impact on Minnesota's impressive season opening score with at least two of contributing a score on each event. Cierra Tomson and Kylie Schermann competed in the all around while Jenny Covers focused on vault and bars.
GymInfo National Rankings
Minnesota enters the 2012 season ranked No. 22 in the GymInfo National Preseason Rankings. The Golden Gophers are one of seven teams in the Big Ten Conference to receive a Top 25 preseason ranking. The lone conference school that is not in the national rankings is Michigan State, but they are receiving votes.
The first official rankings come out Monday, January 16.
Cherwink Suffers Another Setback
Sophomore Justine Cherwink will miss the first half of the 2012 season, due to a leg injury, which she suffered back in October. The Aledo, Texas native missed much of last season because of a similar leg injury but with the opposite leg. She is currently on schedule and a return this season is highly anticipated.
Next Meet: Michigan
The Gophers return home to face the five-time defending Big Ten Champions in No. 10 Michigan. The meet begins at 6 p.m. in the Sport Pavilion.
Follow the Action
All home meets can be watched live by signing up for Gopher All-Access. Each web stream will be accompanied with live commentary from former gymnasts Jamie Bullock and Jade Beattie DeSmidt. Live stat updates can also be found on the schedule page at GopherSports.com.
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).
Get Score Updates on Your Phone
Fans can get scoring updates from all Golden Gopher athletics through the Twitter account @GopherScores. Just find and follow @GopherScores, then set up your phone or mobile device to receive text updates.