Women win at PSU, men take fourth in Chicago

Freshman Lindsay Mable led the women with strong scores on bars and floor.

Nickalas Tabbert

The Gophers women’s gymnastics team rallied to win its second-straight meet Saturday night at Penn State.

Minnesota trailed Kent State and Penn State after three rotations, but it scored well enough on vault and got enough help from the Nittany Lions to edge both teams. The Gophers scored 195.525, Kent State scored 195.450 and Penn State slid to third place with 194.3 points after leading for most of the night.

The Gophers (2-0) were led by freshman Lindsay Mable, who scored 9.8 on bars and 9.875 on floor. She and teammate Jenny Covers led the all-around competition with scores of 39.325 and 39.250, respectively.

Mable said the team’s strength was on display Saturday after the comeback.

“We’ve been talking a lot about it as a team and being together, but it was really cool to see it happen last night,” she said.

Head coach Meg Stephenson said she has high expectations for Mable.

“Lindsay has an impeccable form,” Stephenson said, “and that along with difficult routines is an incredible combination.”

Minnesota featured 10 gymnasts Saturday. Stephenson said everyone will see action again this week as she tries to figure out the best gymnasts for each event.

“Last year we didn’t have as much depth as this year,” Covers said.

Covers said having two or three teammates that can fill spots at any moment is relieving to the team. She added the team’s confidence is high two weeks into the season.

“I know I trust every single one of these girls,” Covers said. “I know that when they go out there, they’re going to hit their routine no matter what is thrown at them.”

Sophomore Kylie Schermann scored 9.825 or higher in her three events.

“She is just a tough competitor,” Stephenson said.

Junior Kayla Slechta won vault for the second time in as many weeks with a score of 9.925.

On beam, senior Shannon Golich tied for third place with a 9.875. She was the only Minnesota gymnast in the top seven on beam.

Minnesota dominated the floor and vault events. The Gophers posted the top four scores on floor — two scores of 9.875 and two of 9.850 — and four of the top five scores on vault.

Minnesota started the night with two falls on bars and found itself in fourth place after the opening rotation.

But the Gophers rallied to win the meet by posting scores of 48.925, 49.150 and 49.225 in their final three events.

Stephenson said she wasn’t worried after the early struggles.

“They’re not the kind of team that’s going to cave,” she said. “They’re the kind of team that’s going to rally.”

Men finish fourth at Windy City Invitational

The men’s gymnastics team scored 425.75 to finish fourth out of six teams at the Windy City Invitational on Saturday night in Chicago. Big Ten conference rival Michigan won the meet with a score of 431.3. Illinois and Ohio State tied for second place with scores of 427.75.

Head coach Mike Burns said he wasn’t sure entering the meet how his team would match up against four conference rivals.

“We gave away enough points that we could have been second all around,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of room for improvement.”

The meet gave Minnesota a chance to gauge itself against conference opponents early in the season.

“We’re right on the tail of Ohio State and Illinois, and they’re two really good programs,” Burns said.

He appeared pleased with the performance of his two freshmen, Daniel DiBenedetto and Michael Farquhar.

DiBenedetto scored 14.4 on the horizontal bar to lead the team while Farquhar scored a 14.3 on the rings.

Burns said he didn’t know what to expect from the freshmen and that they stepped up and hit their routines at the right time.

The Gophers featured 15 gymnasts in the competition. Sophomore Sean Bauer finished fourth on floor with a score of 15.2 to lead the team.

Junior Harris Coleman  tied for third in the pommel horse with a score of 15.0.

Junior Zack Chase led Minnesota with a score of 14.650 on rings, good for sixth place.

Sophomore Ellis Mannon tied for fifth on vault with a score of 14.7.

Burns said he liked the fight his team showed despite some frustrating moments.

“The focus of today’s meet was to try and keep the momentum going,” he said. “The guys did a great job of getting back on track and not getting discouraged.”

Burns said the team’s body language was positive at the end of the night. He said many of the guys knew the mistakes they made and were excited to make the necessary changes.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete again this Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.