Minnesota travels to Michigan for the 2011 NCAA Regional. The competition will begin at 6 p.m. local (5 p.m. central) on Saturday, April 2 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Live results will be available on Michigan's website at Mgoblue.com. The meet will not be televised.
Minnesota is seeded fifth among the six competing teams assigned to the Region. Also competing in the Ann Arbor Region will be No. 4 Stanford, No. 9 and host Michigan, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 21 Iowa State and No. 24 Kent State. Big Ten Strength
For the third season in a row, all seven women's gymnastics teams from the Big Ten Conference have advanced to NCAA regional competition. Six of the seven conference schools are ranked in the top 25 nationally, matched only by the SEC's six teams in the top 25. National Rankings
Minnesota moved to No. 23 in the latest GymInfo National Rankings. Minnesota's RQS is 195.255. In the event rankings, Minnesota is listed No. 19 on bars, No. 14 on beam and tied for No. 19 on floor. Versus the Field
The Gophers have already competed against three of the five opponents assigned to the Ann Arbor Regional. In 2010, Minnesota has a 2-2-1 record against teams in the region.
Minnesota has met Ohio State twice this season, at the Big Ten Championships, and in the season opener in Columbus on Jan. 8. Minnesota finished one spot ahead of Ohio State at the conference championship, with the Gophers placing fourth and the Buckeyes coming in fifth. In the dual meet on Jan. 8, Ohio State won, 194.475-193.925.
The Gophers competed against Michigan at the Big Ten Championship, where the Wolverines won with a score of 196.60 to Minnesota's 195.325.
Minnesota had two dual meets against Iowa State this year, one in Minneapolis and one in Ames, Iowa. At home on Feb. 20, Minnesota won 195.600-194.950 over ISU. On the road on March 4, the teams tied at 195.325. All-Big Ten
Three Minnesota gymnasts earned All-Big Ten honors, announced at the Big Ten Championship banquet.
Seniors Kendra Elm and Kristin Furukawa, and freshman Kayla Slechta all earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors. All three received conference honors for the first time in their Gopher careers.
Kendra Elm has been an all around competitor for the Gophers this season, and won five all around titles in eight appearances. She owns the team's top four scores in the all around. Elm leads the team in average bars score, averaging 9.785 this season.
Kristin Furukawa has been a top performer for the Gophers on bars and beam this season. She has won five bars titles and has scored 9.85 or better on bars five times this season. Furukawa owns the team's top bars score this year with a 9.90 at UCLA (Feb. 27). On beam, Furukawa has a top score of 9.925, which ranks sixth in school history on the all-time top scores list. She has won two beam titles this season.
Kayla Slechta has competed on vault, bars and floor all season, and added beam late in the season. She has the team's top vault score of the season, a 9.925 earned at the Best of Minnesota meet. That vault score places her in a tie for the fourth-best vault score in program history, and makes her the second-highest scoring freshman on vault in team history. She has won vault eight times this season, and has been Minnesota's top vault scorer in 10 of 11 competitions. Minnesota's History in the NCAA Regional Championship
The Gophers have not won any team titles at an NCAA Regional Championship, but finished as high as second in 2002 and 1983.
In the Stephenson era, Minnesota has finished second at one regional (2002), finished third twice (2001 and 2008), finished fourth five times (1997, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2010), finished fifth five times (1994, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007), and was sixth twice (1996, 2004).
Five Minnesota gymnasts have won a total of 12 individual regional titles. The most recent NCAA Regional Champion was MaryAnne Kelley, who won on floor in 2002. Marie Roethlisberger owns the most individual regional titles in Gopher history with six, including all around titles in 1989 and 1990.
Last Year at the NCAA Regionals
The Golden Gophers finished fourth with a score of 195.00 at the 2010 NCAA Columbia Regional Championship.
Minnesota had a bye in the first rotation, and were up on bars in the second rotation. The Gophers tallied a 48.80, led by senior Alexis Russell with a score of 9.825 to tie for fifth place.
On the balance beam in the third rotation, Minnesota earned a team score of 48.70. Alexis Russell was once again the top scorer for the team, earning a 9.775, good for 12th place overall.
The Gophers had another bye in rotation four, and competed on floor in rotation five. Alexis Russell was the top scorer for the Gophers, finishing in a tie for 12th place with a 9.825. As a team, the Gophers earned a 48.875 on floor, their highest event score of the meet.
In the sixth and final rotation, Minnesota competed on vault. Junior Kendra Elm was the team’s top scorer, earning a 9.80 to finish in a tie for 13th place.
Alexis Russell was the top all around performer for the Gophers with a 39.10. Kendra Elm had her second-best all around score of the season, earning a total of 39.05. Russell tied for fifth place while Elm came in eighth. Floor Score Best Since 2004
Minnesota's floor score against NC State on March 12, a 49.325, was the best by the Gophers since the 2004 season. The last time Minnesota scored better than 49.325 was on March 12, 2004 when the Gophers tallied a 49.550 at Arizona State.
The 49.325 earned against NCSU is the top floor score at home in the Sports Pavilion since setting the school record with a 49.575 in the 2003 season.
Against NSCU, all five of Minnesota's counting scores on floor were 9.85 or better. Furukawa Finishes First
Senior captain Kristin Furukawa has won the most event titles among Gopher gymnasts this season. She owns five bars titles and two beam titles.
Furukawa's bars score of 9.90 at UCLA (Feb. 27) is the highest bars score for the Gophers this season. She earned a 9.85 at the Big Ten Championship to tie for third place.
Furukawa also owns the team's top beam score, a 9.925 earned at the Best of Minnesota Meet on Feb. 12. She was the runner up on beam at the 2010 Big Ten Championship. Slechta a Standout
It's early in her career, but Gopher freshman Kayla Slechta has certainly made her mark on the Minnesota women's gymnastics program. She has been the top scorer for the Gophers on vault at 11 of 12 competitions this season, and has won vault at eight meets. She has scored 9.80 or better in every competition.
Slechta has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice this season, Jan. 31 and March 7. At the Big Ten Championship, Slechta was Minnesota's top scorer on vault (9.875, third place) and floor (9.90, fourth place).
In her all-around debut at Iowa State on March 4, Slechta posted a 39.125, marking the best score by a Gopher gymnast in her first all-around competition. Slechta is one of three Gopher gymnasts to score 39 or better in her all around debut, joining Annie Laatsch and Lucy Ennis. Laatsch scored 39.10 in her first all around in 2003, and Ennis tallied a 39.05 in her first all around competition last season.
With her vault score of 9.925 at the Best of Minnesota meet, Slechta is now tied for No. 4 on Minnesota's all-time top scores list. She’s the second-highest scoring freshman on vault (Carolyn Yernberg earned a 10.0 as a freshman in 2002). Russell Back in the Line Up
Freshman Dusti Russell was a top performer for the Gophers in the first two meets this season, but then missed five weeks of competition while recovering from an elbow injury. Russell returned to the line up on beam and floor at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 25. In her seven appearances on beam, she has been the Gophers' top scorer four times, and has won two beam titles. On her seven floor performances, she has been Minnesota’s top scorer three times and has won two floor titles. Balboa a Star on Senior Night
Senior Ana Balboa had a great competition at Senior Night March 12, tying for third place on beam with a 9.80, and earning a personal-best 9.85 on floor to tie for fourth place.
Balboa is finishing her senior season strong, earning career-best marks on beam and floor in the last two competitions of the regular season. Golich Tops on Floor
Sophomore Shannon Golich has been Minnesota's top scorer on floor at four meets this season, and has won two floor titles this season. Golich owns the team's top average score on floor, averaging 9.806 this year.
In addition to her impressive floor performances, Golich has been one of the team's most consistent competitors on the balance beam. She owns the team's highest average score on beam among gymnasts who have competed in every meet (9.792). She is the only gymnast to compete on beam in every meet who has not recorded a fall this season. Elm Awaits Injury Evaluation
Senior Kendra Elm missed competing on Senior Night against NC State due to a lower leg muscle strain. At the Big Ten Championships, Elm was able to compete on vault and bars. The coaches are hopeful she can return as an all around competitor for the regionals.
Senior Kendra Elm has competed in the all around eight times this season, and has been the all around champion five times. She earned her best score of 39.225 against Air Force on Jan. 29. In addition to her all around titles, Elm has won event titles on vault, bars and beam this season. Cherwink Sees Action
Freshman Justine Cherwink missed much of the season recovering from a preseason ankle injury. She has competed on bars in the last three meets, earning her best score of 9.75 against NC State (March 12). She has vaulted at two meets, earning her top score of 9.75 vs. NCSU on March 12. Nagai Injured
Due to a foot injury, senior Yuri Nagai will miss the remainder of the 2011 season. Nagai competed on vault and bars in nine meets in 2011, averaging 9.603 on vault and 9.658 on bars. Vault Score for the Record Book
Minnesota vault score at the Best of Minnesota meet Feb. 12 (49.175) ties the fifth-best vault score in program history. The Gophers also scored a 49.175 in the 2001 season in a dual meet against Arizona. The two scores of 49.175 rank as the top vault scores at a home meet as the top four vault scores in team history were all achieved on the road. Minnesota's vault mark from last weekend is the best since the Gophers scored 49.30 on vault at Arizona State in the 2004 season. Coaching the Gophers
Head coach Meg Stephenson is in her 19th season as a coach with the Golden Gopher program and her 14th as a head coach. Stephenson was a co-head coach with husband Jim from 1998-2009 before taking the helm of the Minnesota program on her own last season.
During Stephenson's tenure, Minnesota has won two Big Ten titles: 1998 and 2006.
Stephenson is assisted by Jenny (Alf) Hansen and Louie Johnson. Both Hansen and Johnson are Minnesota alums.