Soccer coach jumps to Georgia over break

Jim Schortemeyer

While Glen Mason has long been the subject of where-will-he-coach-now conversations, another coach slipped out of state.
Minnesota soccer coach Sue Montagne left the Gophers for Georgia on December 29.
“We really appreciate all the opportunities and support Minnesota has given me and the soccer program over the past seven years,” Montagne said in a statement released before the new year.
Montagne leaves behind a team she has coached since its inception in 1993. The Gophers won two Big Ten championships (in ’95 and ’97) under Montagne and have appeared in five straight NCAA tournaments. She has a lifetime record of 97-42-9.
Georgia earned a 13-9 record in 1999, and the move leaves Montagne closer to relatives in Georgia.
It’s rumored that interim coach Barbara Wickstrand is the leading candidate to permanently take over at Minnesota. The women’s athletics department was happy with the direction the soccer team was headed under Montagne, which makes it seem natural to hire a coach from within the program.
Wickstrand has been with Montagne and the Gophers since 1993. She was an All-American for North Carolina State in 1985.
Women’s gymnastics
The fourth-ranked Gophers faltered slightly Saturday, but that was all No. 3 Michigan needed to win the meet 195.175-193.2.
The Wolverines rolled, thanks to winning or tying in every event. Michigan’s Sarah Cain won the all-around title.
Minnesota had been on a high because of its ranking. The Gophers’ ranking ties its best ever, which was set last year. The ranking is based on team scores, and the Gophers netted a score of 194.800 in a meet with Auburn earlier in the year.
Sophomore Megan Beuckers also earned accolades when she was named Big Ten gymnast of the week last week. Her mark of 39.075 was the second-best all-around score in school history.
Men’s Gymnastics
Minnesota took fifth place Saturday at the Windy City 2000 meet, an event primarily composed of Big Ten teams.
Michigan State was the only team the Gophers managed to top, thanks in large part to freshman Clay Strother. Strother finished eighth in the all-around — enough to be Minnesota’s best finisher. Strother finished as high as second in the floor exercise.
Minnesota opens its home season next Saturday when it faces Illinois at 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.

Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]