March 22, 2012
The University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team heads to Iowa City, Iowa for the 2012 Big Ten Championships in search of their first conference title since 2006. The No. 16-ranked Golden Gophers enter the weekend ranked fourth in the league behind No. 6 Nebraska, No. 12 Penn State and No. 13 Ohio State.
The championship meet will have two sessions this Saturday with the first beginning at 1:05 p.m. and the second slated for 6:05 p.m. The Maroon and Gold have been positioned in the second session with the other top three teams in the conference. Both sessions will be live on the Big Ten Network.
Last Week: No. 17 Denver/No. 25 Arizona State/Iowa
The Gophers put together a true team effort in Denver, Colo. as they tallied a 196.225 without claiming one individual crown. The Golden Gophers score was enough to trump host No. 17 Denver, No. 25 Arizona State and Iowa for the overall team victory.
As Minnesota entered the final rotation, they were down to Denver by .025, but thanks to a season-best vault set, the Gophers pulled out the narrow victory. The Maroon and Gold had five gymnasts score a 9.825 or over to help clinch the title.
The Gophers started off the quad meet hot by tallying their best bars score of the season. Janell Campbell, Lucy Ennis and Cierra Tomson guided the team on the apparatus with each scoring a 9.850. The impressive mark was enough for the trio to share fourth place.
Shannon Golich led the team in the next rotation, which was beam. Golich garnered second place with a 9.850 while the Amber Hammerschmidt and Dusti Russell posted a 9.800, respectively. All together, the team notched a 48.850, giving them a score of 97.925 at the halfway point. The Gophers score on beam tied with Arizona State for the top team score.
For the third rotation, Minnesota headed to its strongest event in the floor exercise. The Gophers didn’t disappoint as they had five gymnasts score a 9.800 or better. Tomson was the top scorer on the team as she tied for fourth with a 9.825. Campbell, Golich, Kylie Schermann and Kayla Slechta each tallied a 9.800 to help the Gophers post the second-best team score on floor of the night.
Everything came down to the final rotation as Minnesota trailed Denver by .025 at the turn, but the Gophers tallied a season-best score of 49.275 to claim victory. Slechta and Ennis provided the spark as they each earned a 9.875 to tie for second. All in all, five Gopher gymnasts scored a 9.825 or better.
Tomson was the lone all around for Minnesota as she claimed third with a career-high score of 39.250.
Breaking a Trend
Minnesota looks to break their current streak of finishing no better than fourth the past five seasons at the Big Ten Championships. The last time they finished top three was in 2006 when they claimed the school’s fifth Women’s Gymnastics Big Ten Championship.
Performing at a High Level
The Gophers have scored over 196.000 four times at the Big Ten Championships with the last time coming in 2009. So far this season, the Maroon and Gold have surpassed that mark four times, which is the most since the 2004 season.
Vaulting Up the Charts
The Golden Gophers tallied the fourth-best vault score in school history last weekend in Denver, Colo. by scoring a 49.275. Minnesota accomplished this mark by having five Gopher gymnasts record a 9.825 of better.
Gophers By the Numbers
36 – Individual Big Ten Champions (including all around)
26 – Individual Big Ten Champions (5 VT; 6 UB; 6 BB; 9 FX)
6 – All Around Big Ten Champions
5 – Big Ten Team Championships
The Return of Cherwink: Part II
After suffering a torn Achilles in October, sophomore Justine Cherwink made her return to the Gopher lineup for the first time on March 10 in the bars rotation. Cherwink scored a 9.700 on the routine with her score counting in the Gophers’ score.
Cherwink suffered the same injury before the 2011 season as well but on the opposite leg. She also made a return last spring after rehabbing.
Next Week: NCAA Regionals
The Gophers are expected to qualify for their 17th-straight NCAA Regional this coming Monday when the NCAA announces the 36-team field. At Regionals, the top two teams head on to the National meet in Athens, Ga.
For the latest and most updated information on Minnesota women's gymnastics check out the team on Facebook and Twitter.
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