Minnesota travels to East Lansing, Mich., to compete in the 2006 Big Ten championship, hosted by Michigan State. The meet will take place at the Jenison Field House, and will begin at 6 p.m. local time, 5 p.m. central.
Gophers Ranked No. 21
Minnesota remained at No. 21 in the GymInfo National Rankings this week. Minnesota is one of three Big Ten teams listed among the nation’s top 25 this week, with Michigan coming in at No. 7, and Penn State listed at No. 16.
In the event-by-event rankings, Michigan is the top-ranked Big Ten school in every event. Like Michigan, Penn State is one of the top 25 teams in every event. The Gophers are among the nation’s top 25 in three of four events, coming in at No. 19 on the beam, No. 20 on the floor, and No. 21 on the bars. Illinois is in the top 25 in two events, and Ohio State is ranked in one event.
Minnesota has been ranked in the top 25 in the GymInfo Rankings in every week this season.
Laura Johnson is the only Gopher gymnast listed among the top 25 in the GymInfo National Rankings. Johnson is ranked 24th in the all around with an RQS of 39.210. She is the only Big Ten gymnast ranked among the top 25 in the floor exercise, where she is ranked No. 21 this week with an RQS of 9.870.
Last Season at the Big Ten Meet
The Gophers finished in third place at the Big Ten Championship in 2005, with a score of 195.375, the team’s third-best score in the 2005 season. Minnesota hit all 24 routines, and did not count a fall.
Two Gopher gymnasts won individual Big Ten titles in 2005, marking the first time since 1991 that multiple Minnesota gymnasts won conference titles in the same season. Carolyn Yernberg tied for first place on the floor exercise with a 9.850. Ashley Mutchler tied for first on the vault, earning a 9.900, her personal-best mark on the vault. Mutchler was the first Gopher freshman to win a Big Ten title since Kathy Ness won the beam title as a first-year gymnast in 1991.
Minnesota’s History in the Big Ten ChampionshipM
The Gophers have won four Big Ten titles, with their last conference championship coming in 1998. The team also won conference titles in 1991, 1989, and 1988.
Seventeen Gopher gymnasts have won 33 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 seven times since co- head coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson arrived at Minnesota in 1993. During the 13-year tenure of the Stephensons, Minnesota has finished in the top four at the conference championship 12 times, only missing a top-four finish in their first season with the Maroon and Gold in 1993.
She’s No. 1
Laura Johnson has won 26 event titles so far in 2006, including six first-place finishes on the vault, seven wins on the bars, three top finishes on the beam, four first-place scores on the floor, and six all around titles. She won at least one event title at 10 of the team’s 11 competitions during the regular season.
Johnson has swept first place on all four individual event plus the all around at two meets this year, the Best of Minnesota Meet on Feb. 11, and the dual meet at Iowa on March 5.
Johnson owns the best Minnesota scores of the season on three individual events, and the all around. She has the team’s top bars, and floor scores (9.900 on each event), is tied with Carmelina Carabajal for the top vault score (9.900), and has the best all around score (39.475).
Into the Record Books
Laura Johnson earned a season-best 39.475 in the all around at Iowa last on March 5. Johnson is already listed at No. 2 onMinnesota’s all-time top performers list, since she earned a career-best 39.575 in the all around during her sophomore season in 2004. Her mark of 39.475 at Iowa ties the eighth-best Minnesota all around score in school history.
Strong Showing on the Bars Last Weekend
Three Gopher gymnasts earned career-best scores on the bars against Utah State, and the team tallied its second-best bars score of the season with a 49.050. Junior Stephanie Funk won her first event title in 2006 with a 9.875 to place first on the unevens. Sophomores Angela Walker earned a personal-best mark of 9.850 to finish second. Freshman Jade Beattie tied for fourth place with a 9.800, her career-best.
Stanton Scores Top Beam Score
Sophomore Ashley Stanton won the beam title against Ohio State on March 11, scoring the team’s best beam score of the season with a 9.900. The mark tied Stanton’s career-best score, which she first earned at Denver in the 2005 season. Stanton also has the third- best beam score by a Gopher this season, with a 9.850 at Iowa State on March 3.
Carabajal Vaults to the Top
Freshmen Carmelina Carabajal earned a personal-best 9.900 on the vault against Ohio State on March 11 to tie with Laura Johnson for first place. It marked the first event title of Carabajal’s young collegiate career.
Carabajal won her first career floor exercise title against Utah State on Feb. 18, taking first place with a mark of 9.800.
Stellar Vault Performance
Minnesota earned its best vault score of the season with a 49.125 against Ohio State on March 11. All five gymnasts who had their scores count toward the team score either set a season-best or career-best score. Carmelina Carabajal earned a personal-best 9.900 to tie for first place with Laura Johnson, who matched her season-best 9.900. Maria Opsahl placed third with a career-high score of 9.825. Ashley Mutchler had her best vault mark of the season with a 9.800 to finish fourth. Kelly Ganchan competed on vault after missing two competitions with an ankle injury, and earned her best vault score of the year with a 9.700 to place sixth.
Seniors Set to Graduate
All three of the seniors in the class of 2006 will graduate with bachelor’s degrees this May. Laura Johnson will graduate with a degree in marketing and public relations, Maria Opsahl will receive a degree in elementary education, and Kelly Stout will graduate with a double major in history and political science. Stout will attend law school at the University of New Mexico next fall.