Russell ends career with 21st-place finish in NCAA qualifier

The senior could not make up points from a fall on the uneven bars.

by Alexandra Pluym

Senior Alexis Russell represented the Minnesota womens gymnastics team for the last time Thursday night at the NCAA championships in Gainesville, Fla. Russell finished 21st in the all-around in the qualifying round, failing to advance to the finals. Russell rotated with Michigan for the meet, and although she said she was comfortable with the Wolverines gymnasts, being with her team couldâÄôve made the competition a little easier. âÄúI think Michigan did an amazing job [of welcoming me],âÄù she said. âÄúIt was a little awkward, but they [still] cheered for me.âÄù RussellâÄôs first rotation was on the balance beam, where she earned 9.675 points to tie for 30th on the event. After beam, Russell moved to the floor exercise, where sheâÄôs found most of her success this season. She finished in 37th place with 9.6 points after stepping out of bounds. Russell recorded her highest score of the night on her third rotation, vault, after a 9.7 finish. Although it was RussellâÄôs highest individual score, she did not place high, coming in 42nd. On the uneven bars, Russell missed her release and only scored a 9.1 âÄî her only score lower than 9.6 at the competition and another low-placement finish. Russell was âÄúa little disappointedâÄù with her results because she felt she did not hit all four of her routines. âÄúI was a little bummed,âÄù Russell said about the fall. âÄúIt wasnâÄôt the best meet for me, [but] I woke up the next day and felt accomplished.âÄù Russell finished the competition with 38.075 points, good for 21st. The sessionâÄôs first-place all-around competitor was Casey Jo Magee (39.55) from Arkansas. Gophers head coach Meg Stephenson said in a statement that Russell had a good meet considering some difficulties she had to surmount this season. âÄúAlexis had a lot of obstacles this season, things like nagging injuries,âÄù she said. âÄúI think that she did really well considering the obstacles she had to overcome.âÄù Stephenson also said Russell had limited practice before she left for the NCAAs. Stephenson was not available for further comment for this story. Although Russell did not advance past Thursday night, she felt honored to be in the same competition with âÄúthe best of the best.âÄù âÄúIt was tough confidence-wise, [and] it was just a different atmosphere,âÄù she said. âÄúTo be in the same competition as them is huge. You only get one shot.âÄù