This Week: vs. Arkansas
The No. 18 Gophers travel to No. 10 Arkansas for a Friday night meet. The competition will begin at 7 p.m. on at Barnhill Arena. Live scoring for the meet will be available at www.arkansasrazorbacks.com, and a live webcast will be available on www.gophersports.com.
For the second week in a row, Minnesota is listed at No. 18 in the national rankings, coming in with an RQS of 195.025 this week. In the event rankings, the Gophers are listed among the top 25 in two events. Minnesota is listed at No. 13 in the uneven bars (48.935) and No. 15 on balance beam (48.785).
Individually, Carmelina Carabajal is ranked among the nation’s top 25 on two lists, coming in at No. 21 on the balance beam this week (9.850) and 20th in the all around (39.240).
Big Ten Championship Will be a Tight Race
All seven of the Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams are ranked in the top 25 this week, with all seven being listed between No. 14 and No. 23. Minnesota is the fourth-highest Big Ten team in the national rankings, listed at No. 18.
Not Afraid to Take on the Best
Eleven of the teams currently listed in the top 25 in the national rankings are on the Gophers’ schedule this season, including all six Big Ten foes. Arkansas is the third top-10 team on the Minnesota schedule this season (UCLA, Oklahoma).
In the Big Ten
Four Gopher gymnasts are listed among the top 10 in the Big Ten rankings this week. Name Event Rank RQS Carmelina Carabajal All around 1 39.240 Carmelina Carabajal Beam 1 9.850 Carmelina Carabajal Vault 2 9.845 Alexis Russell Bars 2 9.845 Jamie Bullock Beam tie-3 9.830 Kristin Furukawa Bars 4 9.835 Alexis Russell Vault tie-6 9.810 Alexis Russell Floor tie-7 9.830 Alexis Russell All around 8 39.025 Carmelina Carabajal Floor tie-9 9.815
Last Meeet’s MVP
Junior Alexis Russell was named the Most Vital Performer at last Saturday’s meet against Northern Illinios. Russell won three individual events as well as the all around, compiling a personal-best all around score of 39.45. Her all around total was the best by a Gopher gymnast since the 2004 season, and ties her for fourth place on Minnesota’s all-time top performers list. Russell also won event titles on bars (9.875), beam (9.875) and floor (9.875). Her beam score was a career best, and her floor score tied her career-high mark. So far this season, Russell has won four bars titles, one beam title, two floor titles, and two all around titles.
It’s Been Awhile
Minnesota’s scores from last weekend on vault and bars, as well as the total team score, were the best for the Gopher program in several seasons. Minnesota’s vault score of 48.80 was the best in that event since the Gophers earned a 48.90 at Utah State on March 17, 2007. The team total of 195.85 was the highest for the program since Minnesota tallied a 195.875 at Iowa on March 3, 2006. Minnesota’s bars score of 49.225 was the best for the team in over five years, since the Gophers earned a school-record 49.40 at the Best of Minnesota meet on Feb. 7, 2004.
Minnesota gymnasts have won 18 individual event titles this season, and eight all around titles. Carmelina Carabajal leads the way, with nine event titles and five all around wins. Alexis Russell has seven event wins and two all around titles to her name this year. Sophomore Kristin Furukawa owns four event titles, three on bars and one on beam. Seniors Jade Beattie and Angela Walker each have a beam title this year.
All Around Success
Minnesota’s three all around competitors, Carmelina Carabajal, Alexis Russell and Kendra Elm, have all achieved success this season. Carabajal is currently the top-ranked all around perfoemer in the Big Ten, and has won five all around titles this season. She has not competed in the all around in the last two meets, but is expected to return to all four events this week. Alexis Russell has been Minnesota’s top all around performer at three meets this season, and has won two all around titles. She owns the top all around score for the Gophers this season with a 39.45 earned last weekend. Kendra Elm has competed in the all around at five meets, and earned her best score last Saturday, a 39.075 to finish in second place.
Carabajal on the Mend
Carmelina Carabajal missed competing in the Master’s Classic on Feb. 22 after suffering a minor muscle injury. Against Northern Illinois, Carabajal returned to the line up in three events. She earned scores of 9.85 in all three events she competed in last Saturday (vault, beam, floor).
Ennis Steps Up
With Carmelina Carabajal out of the line up on bars, Lucy Ennis had the opportunity to compete in last Saturday’s meet. In just her second bars competition, Ennis tied for second place, earning a personal-best score of 9.85.
Walker Suffers Injury
Senir Angela Walker tore her achilles tendon in practice on Feb. 24, and underwent surgery to repair the injury. She will not compete for the remainder of the season.
The Razorbacks are currently ranked No. 10, and have a 5-4 record on the season. They are coming off a 195.80-196.15 loss to then-No. 6 LSU. The Razorbacks have surpassed 195 in all nine of their meets this season, and have scored 196 or better in four meets. The top score for Arkansas this season is a 196.725, earned in a loss to No. 1 Georgia on Feb. 20.
Last Time vs. Arkansas
Minnesota’s last competition against Arkansas was the 2008 NCAA North Central Region Championship at the Sports Pavilion. Arkansas finished in ssecond place with a 196.125, earning a spot in the NCAA Championship. Minnesota finished second with a 195.275.
Coming Up Next Week: Iowa
The Gophers will host Big Ten foe Iowa at the Sports Pavilion in the final home meet of the 2009 campaign. Three senior gymnasts, Jade Beattie, Carmelina Carabajal and Angela Walker, will be honored during a Senior Night presentation. The competition against Iowa will begin at 6 p.m. on March 14, and will be televised on a tape-delay basis by the Big Ten Network. The meet will air on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. central.