The No. 20 Golden Gopher women’s gymnastics team tied No. 19 Iowa State in Ames tonight, with both teams scoring 195.325. The score is Minnesota’s best at an away meet this season. Gopher highlights from the meet included Kayla Slechta winning on vault (9.85), and Dusti Russell taking first place on beam (9.90).
The Gophers started out on uneven bars, where the team tallied a 48.475. Janell Campbell was the team leader for the first time this season. Campbell earned a 9.775 to tie for third place. Kendra Elm was the second-highest scorer for Minnesota, earning a 9.75. Freshman Justine Cherwink made her first appearance in the bars line up after performing in exhibition in the last three competitions, and earned a 9.725 on bars.
Minnesota was up on vault in the second rotation, where the team earned a 48.725. Kayla Slechta was the top scorer for the Gophers, earning a 9.85 to win the event. Slechta has now won seven titles on vault this season, and has scored 9.80 or better on vault at every meet this year. Kendra Elm and Shannon Golich each earned marks of 9.80 to tie for third place. Golich’s score was a personal best.
Moving to floor exercise, the Gophers had a total of 48.90. Shannon Golich was the team’s top performer, earning a 9.85 to tie for second place. Golich was Minnesota’s top floor scorer for the fourth time this season. Kendra Elm and Kayla Slechta rounded out the top three scorers for the Gophers on floor, each earning a 9.775.
The Gophers finished the competition on beam, and earned the top event score of the night with a 49.225. The mark is Minnesota’s best on any event this season. Dusti Russell won the event, earning a personal best 9.90. Shannon Golich and Ana Balboa tied for second place, each scoring 9.875. Balboa’s score was her personal best.
For the first time this season, Minnesota had two all around competitors. Kendra Elm and Kayla Slechta tied for second place in the all around, each earning a total of 39.125. Slechta’s score of 39.125 is the best by a Gopher gymnast in her first appearance as an all around competitor. She is one of only three Minnesota gymnasts to score 39 or better in her all around debut, with Annie Laatsch earning a 39.10 in 2003 and Lucy Ennis earning a 39.05 in 2010.
Minnesota is next in action at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday, March 12 for a dual meet against NC State. The Gophers will celebrate Senior Night at on March 12, the final regular-season meet of the 2011 season.