This Week: Big Ten Championships
The Gophers will travel to Champaign, Ill., to compete in the 2009 Big Ten Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois. The meet will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
Minnesota remained at No. 17 in the national rankings, coming in with an RQS of 195.525 this week. In the event rankings, the Gophers are listed among the top 25 in two events. Minnesota is listed at No. 15 on the uneven bars (48.995) and No. 12 on balance beam (49.035).
Individually, Carmelina Carabajal is ranked among the nation’s top 25 on two lists, coming in tied for No. 23 on the balance beam (9.865) and No. 23 in the all around (39.285).
Five Big Ten teams are ranked between No. 13 and No. 17 in the current national rankings, giving the conference more parity than in recent seasons. Only Michigan State (No. 26) and Iowa (No. 27) are not listed among the top 25 this week.
Minnesota’s History in the Big Ten Championship
The Gophers have won five Big Ten titles, with their last conference championship coming in 2006. The team also won conference titles in 1998, 1991, 1989, and 1988.
Eighteen Gopher gymnasts have won 30 individual Big Ten titles since 1978. Marie Roethlisberger holds the record for the most individual titles by a Minnesota gymnast, with seven in her career, including four titles at the 1989 championship (all around, bars, beam, vault).
Minnesota has finished in the top three at the Big Ten meet eight times since co-head coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson arrived at Minnesota in 1993. During the 14-year tenure of the Stephensons, Minnesota has finished in the top four at the conference championship 13 times.
Last Year’s Big Ten Championship
The Golden Gophers placed sixth with a score of 194.425 at the 2008 Big Ten meet. Carmelina Carabajal was the team’s top scorer in three of four events, and finished in a tie for fourth place in the all around with a total of 39.200.
The Last Time The Big Ten Meet was at Illinois
Minnesota placed fourth in the 2003 Big Ten Championships, the last time the conference meet was held in Champaign. The Gophers earned a score of 195.425, the team’s fifth-best score at a conference championship meet.
Carabajal Earns Big Ten Honor
Carmelina Carabajal garnered her second Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors of the 2009 season after capturing three individual titles, including the all around crown to lead the Minnesota women’s gymnastics team to victory against Iowa last weekend. She shares the conference honor with Penn State's Brandi Personnett.
The senior captain posted a career-best 9.95 on floor, good enough to tie for third place on Minnesota’s all-time top performers list in the event. She tied with teammate Alexis Russell for first place on floor, helping Minnesota to its best floor score of the season. Her all around score of 39.375, which ranks fifth on the school’s all-time top performers list, was also a career high. The Albuquerque, N.M., native was Minnesota’s top scorer on vault, where she earned a 9.85 to tie for first place. She lead the Gophers to their best vault score of the season. On beam, she earned a 9.875 to tie with teammates Kristin Furukawa and Jamie Bullock for first place, en route to tallying the second-best team beam score in program history.
Carabajal was also named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 16 of this year. This is the fourth career weekly laurel for Carabajal, who picked up an award in each of her last two seasons in March of 2007 and January of 2008.
All Around Competitors
Minnesota’s three all around competitors, Carmelina Carabajal, Alexis Russell and Kendra Elm, have all achieved success this season. The trio provides half of Minnesota’s 24 routines, and last weekend against Iowa, they contributed 60 percent of the team’s scoring, earning 117.775 points for the Gophers. Between Carabajal and Russell, Gopher gymnasts have claimed nine all around titles so far this season.
It’s Been Awhile
Several of Minnesota’s scores from last weekend’s meet against Iowa will go down in the history books for the Gopher program. The team score of 196.75 was the best for the team since the 2004 season, and ranks as the fourth-best team score in program history. It was the second-best score for the team at a home meet in the Sports Pavilion.
The Gophers’ beam score of 49.30 ties for the second-best team beam score in program history.
The floor exercise scores of 9.95 by Alexis Russell and Carmelina Carabajal place them in a tie forNo. 3 on Minnesota’s all-time top floor performers list. They are the best floor scores by a Minnesota gymnast since Carolyn Yernberg earned a 9.975 on floor in the 2005 season.
Kristin Furukawa’s bars score of 9.925 was the best bars score by a Gopher gymnast since the 2004 season. Furukawa is now tied for No. 6 on Minnesota’s all-time top bars performers list.
With six sophomores on the roster, the sophomore class makes up nearly half of the 13-member Gopher team. Last week against Iowa, the class accounted for 13 of 24 routines, and 108.20 points.
Bullock Back on Vault
Sophomore Jamie Bullock returned to the vault line up at Arkansas (3/6), and came back in grand fashion as she matched her personal best score with a 9.825. She vaulted again against Iowa, and once again matched her best score, earning another 9.825, helping Minnesota to it’s best vault score of the season (48.925). Bullock vaulted four times during the 2008 season, but hadn’t competed on vault in more than a year.