April 16, 2012
Sophomore gymnasts Dusti Russell and Kayla Slechta head to the NCAA National Championships in Duluth, Ga. this week. The two University of Minnesota student-athletes will be representing Minnesota in the all around competition. This is the first time since 2002, when the Gophers qualified as a team, that the Maroon and Gold have sent two competitors to Nationals.
Russell, who is a Oskosh, Wis. native, is making her first-ever trip to Nationals. She has been the team's top all arounder for the majority of the season and will be rotating with No. 3 Oklahoma during the national meet.
Slechta returns to the national stage for the second-straight season. Last year, the Shakopee, Minn. native reached Nationals as an all arounder and was the lone Gopher to qualify. The sophomore has been the Gophers top vaulter all season and one of the most consistent floor exercise performers. Slechta will be rotating with No. 4 UCLA at the national meet.
Competition begins on April 20 with the finals for the individual competition taking place on April 22.
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Loper is a four-time Junior Olympic qualifier. At the 2017 Junior Olympic Championships she won the national championship on floor and finished fifth place in the all-around.
2017 By The Numbers
Take a look back at highlights from Minnesota Women's Gymnastics 2017 season by the numbers.
Incoming Gophers Win JO National Titles
Lexy Ramler (St. Michael, Minn.) and Ona Loper (Bluffton, S.C.) each won a national title at the 2017 Women's Junior Olympic National Championships.