This Week: At Iowa State and Nebraska
The Gophers hit the road for a pair of competitions this weekend. Minnesota makes its annual trip to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State on Friday, Feb. 20. The gymnastics meet will be held in conjunction with a wrestling meet between the same two schools, an event which has been dubbed “Beauty and the Beast”. A live webcast of the competition will be available on www.gophersports.com. Visit the Live Events page under Multimedia, and select “Beauty and the Beast” to access the live video.
On Sunday, the Gophers head over to Lincoln, Neb., to take on Nebraska, UCLA and NC State in the Master’s Classic. Live scoring for the Master’s Classic will be available on the Nebraska website at www.huskers.com.
Minnesota is noticeably absent from the top 25 in this week’s national rankings, and the omission is due to the fact that Minnesota does not yet have a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). Starting this week, national rankings are based on RQS, which is calculated by taking a team’s top six scores, of which at least three must be from away meets, dropping the highest score, and averaging the remaining five scores. Minnesota has only competed in two away meets so far this season, and therefore the team doesn’t not yet have an RQS.
Three of Minnesota’s four opponents this weekend are listed in the top 25 in this week’s national rankings. The Gophers will face their highest-ranked opponents so far this season in No. 3 UCLA. Also in the top 25 are No. 12 Nebraska and No. 20 Iowa State.
Keep Em Coming
The Gophers have earned team scores above 195 in each of the last three competitions. Prior to the current streak, Minnesota had not scored above 195 in three consecutive competitions since 2004, when the Gophers scored 195+ for eight straight meets from Feb. 7 to March 20.
For the third week in a row, Minnesota’s all around performers Carmelina Carabajal and Alexis Russell claimed the top two spot in the all around competition. At the Best of Minnesota Meet, Carabajal took first place (39.35), while Russell was second (38.95). The previous week, against Iowa State on Feb. 7, Russell placed first (39.375) while Carabajal was second (39.25). At Oklahoma on Jan. 30, Carabajal was the all around winner (39.35) while Russell was the runner up (39.225).
One for the Record Books
Carmelina Carabajal earned a personal-best beam score last weekend with a 9.95 to win the event. Carabajal now has three beam wins to her name this year. Her score of 9.95 was the best by a Gopher gymnast on any event since the 2005 season, and was Minnesota’s top beam score since MaryAnne Kelley earned a 9.95 in the 2002 season. Carabajal is now tied with Kelley and Mindy Knaeble for the second-best beam score in program history.
Furukawa Wins Again
Sophomore Kristin Furukawa won her third bars title of the season when she scored a 9.825 to tie for first place on bars at the Best of Minnesota Meet. Furukawa also won bars titles against Iowa State on Feb. 7 (9.9) and against Michigan on Jan. 24 (9.875).
Russell Claims First Floor Title
Alexis Russell won on floor last weekend with a score of 9.85, marking the first floor exercise win by a Gopher gymnast this season. It was also the first floor title of Russell’s career.
Last Meet Recap: Best of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team won the annual “Always Dreaming” Best of Minnesota Meet with a score of 195.075. Senior captain Carmelina Carabajal was the all around champion, matching her personal best score with a 39.35. Carabajal was also the vault winner with a 9.85, and the champion on beam with a 9.95.
In the team standings, Winona State was second (181.675), Gustavus came in third (179.925), and Hamline was fourth (177.375).
In the vault competition, Carabajal led the way, winning the event with a 9.85. Junior Alexis Russell was the runner up, scoring a 9.75. Sophomore Yuri Nagai rounded out the top three, matching her personal best score with a 9.7. As a team, the Gophers tallied a 48.5 on vault.
On bars, Russell and sophomore Kristin Furukawa led the team, each scoring a 9.825 to tie for first place. The bars win marks Furukawa’s third win on the event this season. Sophomore Kendra Elm and Carabajal tied for third place, each earning a 9.75. The Minnesota team score on bars was 48.8, the lowest for the team this season.
Minnesota earned its highest team score of the evening on balance beam, where the Gophers scored 48.975 and swept the top six spots in the final standings. Carabajal had an outstanding performance, winning the event with a 9.95. Sophomore Jamie Bullock was the runner up on beam, tying her personal best score with a 9.875. Elm was third, and set a personal best score with a 9.75.
The Gophers finished the competition on floor, where Alexis Russell led the way for the second week in a row. Russell won the event with a 9.85. Carabajal was second with a 9.8, while Elm rounded out the top three with a 9.75. As a team, the Gophers had a total of 48.8.
In the all around competition, Carabajal won the crown, tying her career-high score with a 39.35. Russell was also an all around competitor for Minnesota, and came in second with a 38.95.
Last Time vs. Iowa State
One only has to look back a couple weeks in the record book to find Minnesota’s most recent competition against the Cyclones. Iowa State traveled to Minnesota on Feb. 7, when the Gophers defeated Iowa State 195.775-195.225. The score is Minnesota’s best of the season so far. Iowa State won on vault and tied with the Gophers on floor, while Minnesota won on bars and beam.
Last Time vs. Nebraska
Minnesota’s last competition against Nebraska was on March 5, 2005, when the Gophers competed against the Huskers and Air Force in a tri-meet. Nebraska won the meet, while the Gophers were second (194.85).
Coming Up Next Week: Northern Illinois
The Gophers return home to compete against Northern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 28. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. on the Sports Pavilion, and will be webcast live on www.gophersports.com.
The upcoming competition against Northern Illinois will mark the first meeting between the Gophers and the Huskies since the 1992 season.