Women seal first home win of the season

Something finally came for Minnesota womenâÄôs gymnastics Saturday night: a win. And it was a win against a rival. The Gophers scored their best score of the season with a 195.775 to claim their first victory since Jan. 10, when they won at Arizona to begin the season. Despite the long drought, the victory alone only bought bragging rights for the women. âÄúWhen it comes to rivals, Iowa State is like our rival. So, it felt awesome to beat them,âÄù junior Alexis Russell said. As has been the attitude of Minnesota all season, the victory was one of the least important accomplishments. âÄúFor us itâÄôs nice to have wins, especially if certain teams have beaten us in the past. But thatâÄôs really not an objective with the athletes,âÄù co-head coach Jim Stephenson said. The Gophers earned their best score of the year by improving in all areas. In the all-around, Russell and senior captain Carmelina Carabajal took the top two spots for the second week in a row. The women achieved season high scores on the vault, beam, and, finally, on the floor to finish the night. Carabajal had a record-setting performance with a score of 9.925 to lead her team to a best 48.725 score on a usually mediocre vault routine. This, to Stephenson, was the event that stood out among the rest. The women are nearing an exceptional 9.8 average for the event. There were no subsequent events that brought disappointments or costly mistakes for Minnesota. This wasnâÄôt the case for Iowa State. Two Cyclones gymnasts recorded falls on the beam. And where they struggled, sophomore Kristin Furukawa came through. âÄúSheâÄôs just a world class performer, and itâÄôs taken a while for her to develop routines that are consistent and competitive within the NCAA arena,âÄù Stephenson said. Her time came Saturday night. Having already won one event with a personal high score on the uneven bars, Furukawa went on with grace to the beam, winning her second title of the night in her fist appearance on the beam this season. To teammates and coaches, Furukawa is known to be one of the hardest workers in the gym, day in and day out, so Saturday night was no surprise. âÄúI think sheâÄôs the hardest worker in the gym. I mean she works so hard, so itâÄôs so nice to see her do and show everyone how wonderful she is. I was happy for her, but I totally knew she could do that,âÄù Russell said. In Las Vegas, one former Gophers gymnast, Guillermo Alvarez, and one current, senior captain Kit Beikmann , performed outstanding this weekend at the Winter Cup. Both competed in SaturdayâÄôs final day of competition along with 40 of the nationâÄôs best gymnasts. The meet ended late Saturday night with Alvarez regaining his spot on the U.S. National team and Beikmann taking a third-place finish on the pommel-horse. Beikmann solidified his status as one of the nationâÄôs top performers on the pommel-horse and as a leader by example for Minnesota. The impressive finishes of these two gymnasts didnâÄôt downplay the performances of three other Gophers along for the ride. Freshmen DJ Repp was the top all-arounder for Minnesota on Thursday while the other freshman, Russell Dabritz, placed high on the still rings and high bar. Junior Cole Storer took a 13th place finish on the vault.