Men and women face toughest competition yet

Senior captain Carmelina Carabajal knows what her team is capable of right now. After winning the all-around title at the âÄúAlways DreamingâÄù Best of Minnesota meet last weekend , leading to Big Ten gymnast of the week honors this week (her third all-time) , Carabajal wants an even higher team score. Gophers womenâÄôs gymnastics will have to put that score on opposing teamâÄôs scoreboards this weekend, as they face Iowa State Friday and then compete in the Masters Classic on Sunday, where they will compete against some of the nationâÄôs best. No. 12 Nebraska put up a fight last weekend versus the nationâÄôs top ranked team, Utah, and No. 3 UCLA represents one of the few teams in womenâÄôs gymnastics that has won a national championship. âÄúI know that weâÄôre this good, weâÄôre better than this, too,âÄù Carabajal said after the Best of Minnesota meet. âÄúAnd weâÄôre going to get better. I think as the season goes by, youâÄôre going to see 196s soon.âÄù To say the least, the Gophers have been consistent. The Best of Minnesota meet marked the third consecutive time the women have achieved a 195 team score (195.075). This compared with Winona State, the runner-up whose team score was only 181.675 . The past two meets have even brought the Gophers satisfying wins, including a rivalry win over Iowa State at home. On Friday, Minnesota will have to prove themselves once more on the road at Iowa StateâÄôs own âÄúBeauty and the BeastâÄù competition, which will include a wrestling meet between the two teams. âÄúI think itâÄôll be a huge crowd because of that combined event and itâÄôll be a very competitive [meet],âÄù co-head coach Jim Stephenson said. Despite coming off the lowest of three 195 scores last weekend and perhaps facing their toughest opponents in a distracting environment, Stephenson believes his team will also use the competition as motivation to achieve the 196 score. âÄúWhat weâÄôre looking to do in both of these competitions is approach a score of a 196,âÄù Stephenson said. âÄúItâÄôs going to be a very motivating environment for our team to be in the midst of that level of gymnastics.âÄù The Gophers menâÄôs gymnastics team also faces their toughest competition of the season as they travel west to the Pacific Coast Classic. Coach Mike Burns knows his team, though tired , needs to be ready for the best of the west and Big Ten. No. 2 California, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Illinois will be present at the Oakland Convention Center. âÄúItâÄôs going to be a battle. If we donâÄôt bring our A-game, weâÄôre going to be in a little trouble,âÄù Burns said. Even if Minnesota doesnâÄôt make the grade with these top teams, they can be sure of the fact that it is preparation for whatâÄôs nearing closer each day. âÄúThis is going to be a good mid-season tune up for what weâÄôre going to see in the Big-Tens and NCAAs in just over a month. ItâÄôs going to be here fast and we better be ready for it,âÄù Burns said.