The No. 18 Gophers return home to compete against the U.S. Air Force Academy on Saturday, Jan. 29. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
Rosemount Community Day
This Saturday, the Gophers will celebrate Rosemount Community Day in honor of junior Amber Hammerschmidt and her hometown of Rosemount, Minn. Residents of Rosemount can get discounted admission for just $2. For more information call the ticket office at 1-800-U-GOPHER.
Honoring our Armed Forces
Minnesota will honor current military members and veterans at the competition against Air Force with Military Appreciation Day. Military members and veterans, as well as their families, will get free admission to the meet with proper identification.
Minnesota is ranked No. 18 in this week’s edition of the GymInfo National Rankings. In the event rankings, Minnesota is ranked among the top 20 in three events, coming in at No. 18 on bars, No. 14 on floor, and No. 15 on beam.
Last time vs. Air Force
The last meeting between the Gophers and the Falcons was in the 2005 season, when both teams traveled to a triangular meet at Nebraska. Nebraska won the meet, the Gophers placed second, and the Falcons were third.
Elm Wins All Around
Senior Kendra Elm competed in the all around last Saturday, making her first appearance as an all around competitor this season. Elm took first place with a 39.0, the best all around score by a Minnesota gymnast this season. Elm’s career-best all around score is a 39.175, earned as a junior in 2010.
Slechta Wins Again
Kayla Slechta took first place on vault at Michigan State last weekend, earning her second vault title in just three weeks of competition. Her score of 9.875 last Saturday was the best individual score by any gymnast in the competition. She is now tied for the top score by a Gopher this season (Dusti Russell scored 9.875 on floor against Iowa on Jan. 15).
Furukawa Back to Top Form on Beam
Senior Kristin Furukawa was one of the team’s best beam performers last season, but faltered in the first two meets this year. Against Michigan State last weekend, she returned to top form, scoring 9.825 to win the event. She is now tied with Dusti Russell for the top beam score this season.
Last Meet Recap
The Golden Gophers earned a 194.45 to defeat Michigan State on the road. The Spartans started the meet strong and led halfway through the meet, but the Gophers came back to win 194.45-191.40. Minnesota gymnasts won three of four events with Kayla Slechta taking the vault title (9.875), Kristin Furukawa winning on beam, and a tie for first on floor by Janell Campbell and Shannon Golich. Kendra Elm won the all around in her first all around performance this season.
Minnesota competed on bars in the first rotation, and earned a team score of 48.475. Senior Kendra Elm was the top scorer for the Gophers, earning a 9.775 to tie for third place. The score is Elm's best this season. Three Gophers tied for fifth place with scores of 9.70; Janell Campbell, Yuri Nagai and Kayla Slechta. Michigan State turned in a 48.80 on vault in the first rotation and entered the second rotation with a .325 lead.
On vault, Minnesota earned a 48.725, led by Kayla Slechta's winning score of 9.875. The event win is the second for Slechta in three weeks. Three gymnasts tied for fifth place with marks of 9.725; Kendra Elm, Lucy Ennis, and Shannon Golich. The Spartans earned a 48.80 on bars in the rotation, expending their lead to .40 going into rotation three.
The Gophers moved to floor exercise where they tallied a 48.825. Janell Campbell and Shannon Golich were the event winners, each earning a 9.80. Kendra Elm was close behind with a 9.775 to place third. Kayla Slechta made her first appearance in the floor line up and earned a 9.75 to finish in fourth place in her floor debut. Michigan State struggled on beam earning a 47.725, allowing Minnesota to pull ahead with a .70 lead at 146.025-145.325 going into the final rotation.
Minnesota earned its lowest event score of the meet on beam, a 48.425, but was able to secure the win with Michigan State earning 46.075 on floor in the final rotation. The Gophers' leader was Kristin Furukawa who won the event with a 9.825, her best beam score this season. Shannon Golich was the runner up with a 9.775.
Kendra Elm was the lone all around competitor for Minnesota, and earned the best all around score by a Gopher gymnast this season, a 39.0. Elm was the top finisher in the all around competition.
Catch the Action on BTN
Last Saturday’s competition at Michigan State will air on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis. The meet will be shown at 10 a.m. central on Saturday, Jan. 29.
Coaching the Gophers
Head coach Meg Stephenson is in 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. Coaching the Falcons
Doug Day is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Air Force gymnastics team. Day was the Mountian Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year last season after leading his team to the 2010 conference title. Prior to joining the Falcons, Day was an assistant coach here at Minnesota from 1997-2006.
The Gophers travel to Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 5. The competition will begin at 5 p.m. in Huff Hall.
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.
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.
Live scoring and a live blog for all home meets will also be available on www.gophersports.com, free of charge.