Women once again have success when traveling westward

The Minnesota women’s gymnastics team totaled its best score on the season Saturday.

by Mark Heise

Heading west has had some great effects on the Minnesota women’s gymnastics team this season.

After posting a then season-high score of 195.125 at Arizona on Feb. 2, the Gophers had an even better performance against Utah State on Saturday, grabbing their best score of the year in a 195.8-193.8 win.

Minnesota posted season-high scores in three of four events, sticking nearly every routine in its last away meet of the regular season.

Junior Angela Walker led the Gophers through their first event, leading the way on the uneven bars with a career-high score of 9.875, and helping the team to a score of 48.7.

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West virginia
when: 6 p.m. Saturday
where: Sports Pavilion

Minnesota was more impressive on the vault, tying its season-high score of 48.9 with five quality scores. Sophomore Carmelina Carabajal and freshman Alexis Russell led the way, each scoring 9.85, tying for the best score of the meet.

But while the Gophers have nearly maxed out their potential on vault, junior Ashley Mutchler still said there is a chance for progression.

“There’s always room for improvement, and one way we’re looking to do that is by working on our landings,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to think that as well as we’re doing, we still have this room for improvement.”

Minnesota somehow found room to improve on the floor, posting another season-best with a 49.2. Carabajal led the way scoring 9.9, while junior Andy Cornelius added a 9.875 for the Gophers.

Coach Meg Stephenson expressed her pleasure in the team’s ability to hit its routines and credited Minnesota’s clean tumbling routines to the Gophers success.

Mutchler and the rest of the Minnesota lineup continue to show definite progress on the balance beam since switching rotations in early March, grabbing a team score of 49.0. Mutchler and Walker tied for the win on beam, as each posted a score of 9.85.

“It was really exciting,” Mutchler said after nailing her routine, including a difficult tuck front flip. “I was really happy with the way our whole team hit and was just happy I could end on a good note for the team.”

The performance on the beam also drew praise from Stephenson.

“Beam was a huge event for us,” Stephenson said. “It was great to end the meet on such a high note.”

In the all-around, Carabajal took home the win with a career-high 39.175 points, while Russell finished a close second, scoring a 39.125.

Russell said she appreciates having Carabajal back in the all-around, crediting the added competition for her improvement.

“We’re good competition for each other,” she said. “Plus, as a freshman, she’s a good role model for me. Carmelina is really consistent on all four events, so I can watch how she trains for competition and use it to improve my scores.”