March 26, 2012
As announced by the NCAA on Monday afternoon, the University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team has been chosen as the No. 3 seed in the Salt Lake City Regional. The No. 17-ranked Golden Gophers have qualified for their 17th-straight regional, and it’s the first time as a No. 3 seed or better since 2009.
Joining the Gophers in Salt Lake City, Utah will be Big Ten Champion and No. 5-ranked Nebraska, No. Utah, No. 24 Iowa State, Arizona State and San Jose State. The regional meet is slated for April 7 at 7 p.m. CST in the Huntsman Center.
The Big Ten Conference leads the charge in the 32-team Regional selection process as all eight team qualified, which is the most for any league. No. 21 Michigan and Michigan State are headed to the Auburn Regional while No. 12 Ohio State and No. 13 Penn State are positioned in the Raleigh Regional. Iowa will be trekking to Washington while No. 22 Illinois gets the luxury of hosting in Champaign, Ill.
A total of 36 teams have qualified for an NCAA regional championship, and those 36 teams will compete at six sites. The teams finishing in the top two spots at each regional meet will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held in Duluth, Ga. on April 20-22. In addition to the top two teams, the top two individual all around competitors who are not members of an advancing team will also earn a trip to the NCAA Championship as individual competitors.
The Minnesota gymnastics team has qualified to compete in an NCAA regional meet for each of the previous 17 seasons. In 1997 and 2002, the Gophers earned a trip to the NCAA Championships. In 2008, Minnesota hosted the NCAA North Central Regional Championship, and placed third, narrowly missing a trip to the National Championship. Last season, Kayla Slechta represented the Gophers at the NCAA Championship as an individual all around competitor.