Women card best score of year in ISU loss

Matt Perkins

Two weeks ago, after posting career-best scores in vault and floor exercise, Minnesota women’s gymnastics freshman Carmelina Carabajal couldn’t find words to express her feeling about the performance.

So Saturday night, when the 20th-ranked Gophers hosted seventh-ranked Iowa State at the Sports Pavilion, coach Jim Stephenson found the words to describe Carabajal’s best meet of the season.

“I went up to her after the meet and said you look like a college athlete,” Stephenson said. “And that’s a huge compliment to get if you’re a freshman, because it means you’ve come a long way in a short time since being on club teams.”

Minnesota posted their best team score of the season in a losing effort, as the Cyclones came out on top 196.075 to 194.750.

But the loss doesn’t speak to how well the Gophers performed, Stephenson said, as Iowa State is simply one of the best teams in the country.

“Iowa State’s ranked seventh in the country for good reason,” he said. “They are a powerful team, a mature team and a very well-rounded and experienced team.”

Carabajal lead the way for the Gophers, posting career-best scores on vault, beam and floor.

Her 9.825 on vault tied senior Laura Johnson for the team’s best vault performance at the meet.

Stephenson said Carabajal’s routines could spark better routines from all of Minnesota’s freshmen.

“I think Carmelina was at the top of the list,” Stephenson said. “That could easily get everyone else going, and I think it will.”

Men finish sixth

Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team posted its second-best team score of the season on Saturday while finishing sixth at the Pacific Coast Classic in Oakland, Calif..

The Gophers looked sharp in their first three events, coach Mike Burns said, but things died down from there.

“It was about 9:45 (p.m.) by the time we were getting into our fourth event,” Burns said. “That’s 11:45 (p.m.) central time and I think you could see that taking its toll.”

But the only real downside to the meet for the Gophers was when senior Joe Moore appeared to have torn his bicep, Burns said.

Burns said they don’t yet know the full extent of the injury, but the worst-case scenario would be an end to Moore’s season.

That’s even more disappointing news for the Gophers who appear to be on the right track, as indicated by this weekend’s performance.

“The meet was a very good indication of where we’re going to be in a few weeks at Big Tens,” Burns said. “It’s encouraging to see these guys starting to gel.”