Official Press Release (PDF)
Dec. 18, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS - Head coach Meg Stephenson has announced the addition of two walk-ons to her Minnesota women's gymnastics program.
Bailey Abernathy of Denver, Colo. (Colorado Academy) and Athena Geisness of Brooklyn Park, Minn. (Fridley HS) will join the Gophers' roster beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.
Abernathy is a Level 10 gymnast who trains at the Colorado Gymnastics Institute, the same gym as current Minnesota freshman Lindsay Mable. Her coaches at CGI are Vinicio and Sonia Leria and Lindy Franzini-Carpenter. Abernathy has twice qualified for the Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament and has competed the past three years at the Region 3 Meet. Abernathy finished third on the floor exercise and was 13th in the all-around at the 2012 JO National Invitational Tournament, while tying for fourth on the floor, taking ninth on beam, and eighth in the all-around at the 2012 Region 3 Meet. She also captured second on the floor and tied for third in the all-around at the 2012 Colorado State Championships. In the classroom, Abernathy has been a member of her school's academic honor roll every trimester and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. She has an interest in pursuing degrees in pre-med and Spanish at Minnesota. She is the daughter of Lauren and Brett Abernathy, and has an older brother, Connor.
Geisness is a Level 10 gymnast who trains at Midwest Gymnastics in Little Canada under the guidance of Alison Lim and Jess Graba. She is a three-time qualifier for regionals, and finished fifth on uneven bars at the Minnesota state meet in 2011. Geisness also captured third in the all-around at the 2012 Twisted Moose Gymnastics Meet, third on uneven bars at the 2012 Rising Stars Invitational, and fifth on floor exercise at the 2012 Northern Lights Classic. In the classroom, Geisness is a member of the National Honor Society with a 3.95 grade point average who is interested in biomedical engineering. She is the daughter of Laura and Adam Geisness, and has two brothers, Taylor and Ethan.
"We are so excited to welcome two additional up-and-coming gymnasts to our team next fall," Stephenson said. "Bailey Abernathy continues a long line of CGI gymnasts to attend Minnesota and brings a wealth of potential on every event. And Athena Geisness is an exceptional student who we see making an immediate impact on bars. Both are outstanding young women, and we are thrilled to have them join our excellent group of recruits for 2013-14."
Abernathy and Geisness will join Rachel Haines, who signed a National Letter of Intent with the Golden Gophers last month. Haines is a senior at Greenville High School and trains at Geddert's Twistars Gymnastics Club under John and Katherine Geddert and Brett Wargo. She is a two-time Junior Olympic National Championship qualifier (2011 and 2012). Haines is also a two-time Level 9 Eastern All-Around champion. In 2011, Haines was a JO National Team member after finishing fourth in the all-around at JO Nationals. This past year, Haines finished ninth in the all-around, which included tying for fifth on beam and taking eighth on floor.
Minnesota, ranked No. 23 in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, will open its 2013 season with its Intrasquad Meet on Jan. 5 at 6:00 p.m. The regular season begins with a dual meet against No. 17 Washington on Jan. 12 at 6:00 p.m. For information regarding tickets to any of the Gophers' home meets this year, visit www.mygophersports.com.