During the four days leading up to the team’s annual Intrasquad Meet on January 1, we’ll be previewing each of the four events this season.
Today, we’ll look at the Golden Gopher vault team.
“We lost a super star on vault when Justine Cherwink was injured,” said head coach Meg Stephenson. “However, we feel excited about the rest of the team. The rest of our freshman class has shown a great amount of improvement in a short of time and we’ve upgraded many vaults.”
Freshman Dusti Russell and Kayla Slechta have both upgraded vaults, as neither performed twisting vaults in club gymnastics. Both Dusti and Kayla spent time in the gym with the Gophers over the summer while enrolled in summer programs on campus, giving them a head start on training.
Seniors Yuri Nagai and Kendra Elm were noted by Coach Stephenson among gymnasts showing great improvement on vault. Both Yuri and Kendra were in the vault line up last season, and have been working hard to perfect details and gain power and explosiveness.
Junior Lucy Ennis is a top vaulter for the Gophers, but will miss this early part of the season while rehabilitating an injury. Lucy is a strong and powerful vaulter and will be a great addition to the vault line up when she's ready to return.
Sophomore Shannon Golich did not vault last season, but Coach Stephenson says that she has come a long way and has shown much improvement during the preseason.
The team worked extensively with strength and conditioning coach Mia Jackson, a member of the U.S. bobsled team, during the offseason. The added strength and power has been a benefit to the gymnasts’ performances in all four events, but it’s perhaps most noticeable on vault. “The power and speed of the gymnasts is clearly better this season,” said Stephenson. “Our athletes are stronger and able to perform with much more explosiveness.”
Check back tomorrow for a look at the bars team, and make your plans to attend the Intrasquad Meet on Saturday evening. The even begins at 6 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion with free admission.