The Golden Gopher women’s gymnastics team finished in third place at Illinois tonight, scoring 194.325. The host Illini won the meet with a 195.750, while Central Michigan was second, scoring 194.525. Highlights for the Gophers include Lucy Ennis’ win on bars, and top-three finishes by Ana Balboa on beam and Kayla Slechta on vault.
Minnesota started the meet strong, earning a 48.975 on bars, a season best for the Maroon and Gold. Minnesota’s top scorer was junior Lucy Ennis, who tied for first place. Ennis earned a personal-best 9.875 in her first uneven bars performance this season. Ennis missed competing on bars in the first month of the season due to a preseason elbow injury. Kristin Furukawa scored 9.825 to place fourth, earning her fourth bars score of 9.80 or higher this season. Kendra Elm rounded out the top three for the Gophers, earning a 9.80.
The Gophers tied their best beam score of the season, earning a 48.725 in the second rotation. Ana Balboa was the team leader on the balance beam, earning a season-best 9.825 to tie for third place. Alex Feeken and Shannon Golich each earned a 9.75 to tie for eighth place. Feeken’s score was a personal best. Amber Hammerschmidt earned her best beam score of the 2011 season, scoring 9.725.
Minnesota was up on floor in the third rotation, and compiled a 48.475. For the second week in a row, Kayla Slechta was the top floor scorer for the Gophers. Slechta scored 9.775 to tie for seventh place. Lucy Ennis earned a 9.75, while Shannon Golich scored 9.725 to round out the top three scorers for Minnesota.
The Gophers struggled a bit on vault, and tallied the lowest team score of the evening with a 48.150. Kayla Slechta was the top scorer on vault for the Gophers for the fourth time in five competitions. Slechta earned a 9.80 to tie for second place. Slechta has scored 9.80 or higher on vault at every competition this season. Lucy Ennis earned a 9.70 and Shannon Golich scored 9.65 to round out the top three scorers for the Gophers.
Kendra Elm was the lone all around competitor for the Gophers, and scored 38.25 to place seventh.
In their next competition, Minnesota will home to host the annual Always Dreaming Best of Minnesota Meet on Saturday, Feb. 12. The meet features all four collegiate women’s gymnastics teams in the state of Minnestoa: the Gophers, Hamline University, Gustavus Adolphus College and Winona State University. The meet is named Always Dreaming in honor of former compliance director Frank Kara and serves as a cancer awareness event.