Women’s gymnasts place fifth at regional meet

The Gophers women’s gymnastics team went into this weekend’s Central Regional meet in Tuscaloosa, Ala., thinking it could win the meet, or at least take second.
But the 19th-ranked Gophers turned in their second-lowest team score of the season on the floor exercise, an event which is generally considered their best, en route to a 192.8 team score and fifth-place overall finish. Host Alabama won the meet with a score of 196.55.
Despite the letdown of not making it to Nationals, co-head coach Jim Stephenson was still upbeat.
“We had some wonderful performances tonight. Unfortunately, to win this competition, Minnesota would have to have had the best meet of the year, and we didn’t have that,” he said.
Even though the team didn’t perform as expected, it did surprisingly record the third-highest team score in history on the uneven bars, an event which is considered its weakest.
Led by Judith Cavazos’ third place finish, Minnesota scored a 49.05 on the event. Cavazos scored a 9.875, Megan Skokut scored a 9.825 and Melissa Chang tallied a 9.8.
Second-ranked Michigan took second place with a team score of 196.0. The Gophers had defeated Michigan twice this year, and had also knocked off Alabama.

Beatty qualifies for Nationals
George Beatty qualified for Nationals on the parallel bars, with his performance at the NCAA East Regional meet in Amherst, Mass.
Beatty also tied for the final place on the pommel horse, but didn’t qualify because he has a lower NCAA average on the event.
Jason Krob (pommel horse), Lindsey Fang (all-around) and Chad Conner (horizontal bar) also were competing at the meet, but they failed to qualify for the National meet.

— Michael Dougherty

Chimko qualifies in Texas
The field events helped carry the women’s track team through the Texas Relays this weekend.
Nicole Chimko provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in June with two near-record throws. Chimko put the shot 48 feet, 3 1/2 inches, good for sixth place on the school’s all-time list, and threw the javelin 165-10, the fifth best in school history. Her results placed her seventh and fourth, respectively.
Teammate Aubrey Schmitt placed 11th in the shot put, while Christine Gulbrandsen placed seventh in the pole vault.
The women will compete next weekend at UCLA.

Men’s track and field
The Gophers men’s team got a fifth-place finish from Niles Deneen in the 110-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays and also had three winners at a local meet at Macalaster College.
Minnesota dominated the middle distance events, taking home victories in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter races.
Jeremy Polson won the 1,500 with a time of 3:56:46. Freshman Brian Meyer was the 400 winner, with a time of 49.22, and Josh Brang took the 800 title.

— Jim Schortemeyer

Women’s golfers fourth
Minnesota’s women’s golf team shot a combined 307 in the final round of the Indiana Invitational to finish fourth.
The Gophers’ final score was a 952, 40 strokes behind invitational winner and host school Indiana. The two top placers individually were both from Indiana — Jennifer Seger and Erin Carney.
Amy Dahle and Melanie Lepp were the highest Gophers finishers, both tying for 12th place with an overall score of 234. Lepp shot an even par 74 in the final round to help the Gophers to their fourth-place finish. The only other Minnesota golfer to finish in the top 20 was Keri Sawvell, who shot a 235 to finish 14th.
The Gophers’ next and final regular season stop will be April 18 for the Iowa Invitational. After that, the team will compete in the Big Ten Championships on May 1.

— Tim Nichols