This Week: Big Ten Championships
The seven Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams will square off at the 2008 Big Ten Championship, which will be hosted at Michigan this year. The meet will take place in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday, March 29 at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. central). The Big Ten Network will televise the championship, which will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis. The championship will air on April 3 at 7 p.m. (central).
Live scoring for the meet can be found at: http://livestats.mgoblue.com/gymnastics/index-w.html
Minnesota remained at No. 25 in the GymInfo National Rankings this week with an RQS of 194.885. In the event rankings, the Gophers are tied for No. 29 on vault (48.580), tied for No. 17 on bars (48.880), No. 19 on beam (48.950), and No. 31 on floor (48.845).
Last Year at the Big Ten Meet
The Golden Gophers placed fifth at the 2007 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships, earning a team score of 193.225. The score was Minnesota’s lowest at a Big Ten Championship since the 1996 season.
Minnesota had a bye in the first rotation, and was up on vault in the second rotation. Carabajal earned the team’s best vault score with a 9.775 to tie for 15th place. As a team, Minnesota earned a 48.575.
The Gophers moved to bars in the third rotation, and earned a team score of 48.600. Angela Walker was Minnesota’s final bars performer, and earned the team’s best score in the event with a 9.850. Walker’s score tied her second-best of the season, and tied for eighth place in the event.
Minnesota had a bye in the fourth rotation, and competed on beam in the fifth rotation. The Gophers struggled on beam, counting two falls in the season-low team score of 47.300. Alexis Russell scored a personal-best mark of 9.800, bettering her previous career high of 9.675. Russell’s score placed her in a tie for eighth place on beam.
After another bye, the Gophers were up on floor in the seventh and final rotation. Carmelina Carabajal was the final competitor for Minnesota on floor, and earned a team-best 9.825 to tie for sixth place. Minnesota’s team score on floor was a 48.750, the Gophers’ best event score of the night.
Carmelina Carabajal tied for eighth place in the all around with a tally of 38.775. Alexis Russell also competed in the all around, earning a 38.025.
The Gophers Against Big Ten Teams this Season
Minnesota is 0-2 against Big Ten teams this season, and faced both Big Ten opponents on the road. The Gophers competed at Michigan on Feb. 16, and lost 192.850-196.875. The score was the third-lowest of the season for Minnesota. The Gophers competed at Iowa on Feb. 29, and lost 194.725-195.900.
The Last Time The Big Ten Meet was at Michigan
Minnesota placed third in the 2001 Big Ten Championships, the last time the conference meet was held in Ann Arbor. Michigan took first place with a 197.150, while Penn State was second with a 196.425. The Gophers rounded out the top three with a 195.750.
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.
Gophers Earn Best Score vs. Oklahoma
Minnesota earned its highest team score of the year in the dual meet against Oklahoma last weekend. The Gophers tallied a 195.625, beating the previous season-best score by .300.
Both of Minnesota’s score above 195 have come in the last two weeks, showing that the team is peaking late in the season.
Leading the Way
Carmelina Carabajal owns or is tied for the team’s top score in three of four events plus the all around this season. She is tied with Kristin Furukawa for the best bars score (9.875), owns the top beam score (9.925), and owns the top floor score (9.875). She also leads the way in the all around with a best score of 39.300, which she’s accomplished twice this year.
Carabajal has the team’s best average score on all four events: 9.774 on vault, 9.737 on bars, 9.777 on beam, and 9.806 on floor.
Seven Gopher gymnasts have won event titles this season, earning a total of 29 titles between them. Minnesota has the most event titles on beam with eight. The Gophers have also claimed seven titles on bars, five titles on floor, four in vault, and four in the all around.
Carabajal has the most titles this season, winning 19 event titles so far, including six on beam, four on vault, three on bars, two on floor, and four in the all around.
Kristin Furukawa has three event titles this season, all coming on bars. Angela Walker has two event titles to her name this season, with both of her titles coming on floor. Ashley Stanton has two balance beam titles this season.
Amanda Miles has won one floor title, Jamie Bullock has one vault title, Yuri Nagai has one bars win.
Two of the Best on Beam
Minnesota tallied a 49.225 on beam against Iowa State on March 2, and matched the score last weekend against Oklahoma. The scores of 49.225 are the team’s best beam score since earning a 49.500 at Arizona State on March 12, 2004. The score of 49.225 ranks No. 3 on the program’s all-time top scores list.
In last weekend’s beam rotation, the Gophers counted five scores of 9.800 or better. Carmelina Carabajal led the way with a 9.875, while Amanda Miles, Ashley Stanton and Angela Walker each earned marks of 9.850. Alexis Russell had a 9.800 to round out the counting scores for Minnesota.
One for the History Books
Carmelina Carabajal’s score of 9.925 on beam against UIC was the best individual score in by a Gopher gymnast in any event in more than three years. The last time a Minnesota gymnast scored 9.925 or better was on Jan. 8, 2005, when Carolyn Yernberg earned a 9.975 on floor.
Gophers Tally Best Floor Score
The Gophers earned their best floor score of the 2008 season with a 49.050 at West Virginia on March 15, marking Minnesota’s second floor score of 49.000 or better in the 2008 season.
All five of the scores that counted toward the top floor score of 49.000 were 9.800 or higher. Amanda Miles was the team leader on floor, earning a 9.850 to match her personal-best score and tie for second place overall. The foursome of Carmelina Carabajal, Ashley Mutchler, Alexis Russell and Angela Walker each earned marks of 9.800. Mutchler’s score was her personal best.
Freshmen Bolster Bars Line up
Minnesota regularly competes with three freshman in the bars line up, and the results have been impressive this season. The Gophers tallied a 49.075 on bars against Illinois-Chicago, the best bars score since the 2006 season. The Gophers also surpassed the 49 mark with a 49.075 on Feb. 4, 2006 at New Hampshire. Minnesota earned a 49.000 on bars against Oklahoma last weekend. While the Gophers never scored over 49 on bars last season, they have surpassed the 49 mark three times so far this season.
Seniors Carry Beam Team
While the Gophers use youth to their advantage on bars, Minnesota relies on the experience of its senior class to lead the beam team. All three seniors regularly compete on beam. Amanda Miles has a season average of 9.693 on beam, and has earned career-best scores of 9.850 twice this year. Ashley Mutchler has a season average of 9.585 on beam, and earned her season-best score, 9.775, twice this season. Ashley Stanton has been one of the strongest and most consistent beam performers throughout her collegiate career. Stanton has a season average of 9.756 on beam, and matched her personal-best score with a 9.900 against Illinois-Chicago.
Furukawa Steps up on Bars
Freshman Kristin Furukawa has competed on bars in all 12 meets this season, and has been the team’s top scorer at four competitions. She has the squad’s second-best average score with a 9.692, and has the team’s best RQS on bars with 9.810 to rank No. 72 nationally, and No. 12 in the Big Ten.
The Gophers: Breakdown by Event
Vault: Alexis Russell notched the team’s best vault score of the year when she earned a 9.850 last weekend. Russell was one of the team’s top vaulters in 2007, but this year she competed with a modified vault for several meets and missed five competitions this year due to a knee injury. Carmelina Carabajal owns five scores of 9.825 this season, and has five event titles to her name this season. Carabajal has been the team’s top performer on vault at nine competitions this season, and has the team’s best average score on vault with a 9.766. Jamie Bullock notched her personal-best vault score with a 9.825 at the Best of Minnesota (2/9). Jade Beattie has been the team’s top scorer on vault twice this season, and has tallied her personal-best score of 9.800 twice this season. Beattie missed last weekend’s meet because of an ankle injury. Minnesota’s top vault score is a 48.775, earned in the meet at Iowa State (3/2).
Bars: Freshman Kristin Furukawa was the winner on bars against Illinois-Chicago (2/23) with a 9.875, and was also the event winner at Iowa (2/29) with a 9.850. Furukawa is tied with Carmelina Carabajal for the team’s top bars score this season. Furukawa has the team’s second-highest bars average (9.692), and has the best bars RQS on the squad (9.810). Carabajal earned her career-best 9.875 at the Best of Minnesota (2/9). Carabajal has the team’s best average score with a 9.737 average. Yuri Nagai had the team’s best bars score against New Hampshire, a 9.650 to place second overall. Nagai set her personal best with a 9.825 at the Best of Minnesota (2/9). Nagai won her first bars title, tying with teammates Carabajal and Furukawa for first with a 9.750 against North Carolina (3/7). Minnesota’s top team score on bars is a 49.075 and came in the dual meet with Illinois-Chicago (2/23). Minnesota’s highest event ranking is a tie for No. 17 in the nation on bars.
Beam: Carmelina Carabajal owns the team’s top beam score this year, a 9.925 earned against UIC on Feb. 23. Carabajal has the team’s best average beam score, a 9.777. Carabajal tallied a 9.900 at Iowa State (3/2) and a 9.875 at home against Iowa State (1/26), giving her three of the team’s top five scores of the year. Ashley Stanton also owns two of the team’s top scores on beam, with her best score (9.900) coming in the meet against UIC (2/23). Stanton also notched an event-winning 9.875 at Michigan (2/16). As a team, Minnesota’s top team score is a 49.225, scored against Iowa State (3/2). Angela Walker matched her career-high score on beam with a 9.875 against UIC (2/23).
Floor: Carmelina Carabajal owns the top floor score of the year with a 9.875 vs. UNC on March 7. She also earned a 9.850 against Illinois-Chicago (2/23) and again at Iowa State (3/2). Carabajal has an average floor score of 9.806 to lead the team. Amanda Miles has competed on floor at nine meets this season, missing three meets with a foot injury. In her nine performances, she led the team four times, and owns three scores of 9.850 this season. Alexis Russell matched her career-high floor score of 9.825 against UIC (2/23). Against Iowa State on Jan. 26, Angela Walker set her career-high mark on floor with a 9.850 to place second against North Carolina (3/7). Minnesota tallied its best team score on floor (49.050) at West Virginia on March 15, where all five of the Gophers’ counting scores were 9.800 or better.
Coaching the Gophers
Jim and Meg Stephenson are in their 16th season at the helm of the Golden Gopher program. Jim served as the head coach while Meg was an assistant until 1998, when Meg joined Jim as a co-head coach. The duo has a 157-125-1 record as co-head coaches.
Looking Ahead: Gophers to Host NCAA North Central Region Championship
The University of Minnesota has been selected to host the 2008 NCAA North Central Region Championship. The championship will be held at the Sports Pavilion on April 12 at 6 p.m., and will feature six teams from around the country. If the Golden Gophers are selected to compete in a regional championship, they will compete at home in the Sports Pavilion.
Tickets are available and may be ordered online at www.gophersports.com, or by calling the athletics ticket office at 612-624-8080 or toll free at 1-800-U-GOPHER. All seats are reserved, so Gopher fans are encouraged to buy tickets early to ensure they get the best seats available!
The University of Minnesota is one of six institutions to host a regional championship in 2008. The other five sites and host institutions are: Baton Rouge, La. (LSU), University Park, Pa. (Penn State), Norman, Okla. (Oklahoma), Gainesville, Fla. (Florida), and Corvallis, Ore. (Oregon State).
Two teams from each regional championship will advance to the NCAA National Championship, which will be hosted by the University of Georgia on April 24-26, 2008.