Aggies settle score with V

by Susan Filkins

Minnesota’s women’s gymnastics team left The Spectrum in Logan, Utah, Friday night a little bewildered after its season-best performance on the balance beam was clouded by inconsistent judging.
But so did its opponent, No. 11 Utah State. No matter. The No. 16 Gophers fell short in the final round on the balance beam, and lost a close meet to the Aggies, 193.825 to 193.65.
The scoring miscue began before the Gophers (4-2) even touched the apparatus. The head judge started the Gophers’ beam routines based on a 10.0 scale, while the other judge started judging the routines at 9.6 or 9.7.
Normally, the routines should start from a 10.0. Because of the different starting values, the Gophers’ average scores between the two judges were lowered.
It appeared the head judge was using the normal collegiate rules, while the other judge was using the system typically found during the Olympics.
Gophers coach Jim Stephenson was furious at the results of the judging and petitioned all the balance beam scores after the meet. He was unsuccessful, gaining less than a tenth of a point back.
The complications and problems with the judging also affected the Aggies (2-1). The coaching staff of Utah State contested scores at the end of the meet as well.
“It was unreal,” junior Mindy Knaeble said. “I had never gotten mad at a judge before, but I was fuming at her.”
The judging mishap erased potential high scores from all six Minnesota gymnasts who hit their routines on the beam. According to Stephenson, it was the Gophers’ greatest outing on the event.
Despite losing a close meet, the Gophers finished with their highest overall team score this season. Senior Kristen Vandersall tied her personal best score on the floor exercise with a 9.875. Knaeble tied for first place on the floor exercise, making it the fourth meet in a row she has won the event.
Freshman standout Judith Cavazos broke her all-around score, recording a 38.875. Cavazos continues to improve and has already broken her all-around score three times this season. She is the only Gopher to compete in the all-around.
Although the Gophers were handed their second loss of the season, Stephenson was impressed with his team’s performance.
“It was a really well run meet except for that one situation,” Stephenson said. “You are starting to see the team really gel and consequently that (overall) score is really coming up,” Stephenson said.