Mable continues early-career success in sophomore campaign

Lindsay Mable has continued to star in her second year.

Minnesota gymnast Lindsay Mable performs on the floor Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at the Sports Pavilion.

Daily File Photo; Jaak Jensen

Minnesota gymnast Lindsay Mable performs on the floor Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at the Sports Pavilion.

by David Nelson

Upon entering the Peik Gymnasium, the aura inside might be surprising. Classic rock plays over the loud speakers,  and hands and feet collide with the floor as gymnasts work their routines. There’s a distinct calm about it.

That same calm is something sophomore gymnast Lindsay Mable displays at competitions — a demeanor head coach Meg Stephenson sees as an awesome trait.

“[It’s] almost mandatory — being able to control your emotions,” Stephenson said. “If you can do that, your chances of consistency are really good.”

Mable’s been a consistent winner since she stepped onto the mat last season as freshman.

She took home 19 event titles and earned six Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards in 2013. She also made first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-America.

“To burst onto the scene like that is a big deal,” Stephenson said.

Mable started her gymnastics career as a 6-year-old at the Colorado Gymnastics Institute. And apparently, it stuck.

“Originally, I kind of just went to release some energy and flip around,” Mable said. “And my coach just said, ‘I think you should try more of a team thing.’”

The “team thing” worked out for Mable, who found herself at the NCAA championships last season and tied for fifth in the vault at the individual event finals.

Stephenson said such production from a freshman is a rarity. Senior captain Dusti Russell said Mable’s dedication in the gymnasium has been the difference.

“You’re not going to get to a D-I program … if you’re not dedicated every day,” Russell said.

Her dedication to the sport has shown, but Mable said the support of her teammates has been another influential factor in her ability to succeed.

This season, Mable has finished first in the all-around event in two of the three competitions so far.

And while her individual success is something to be excited about, Mable said the ultimate goal is about growing as a team.

“At the end of the day … whatever makes the team better,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can to succeed as a team.”

The Gophers have won their first three competitions of the season. While the team’s placement in competitions means nothing in terms of its national ranking, Stephenson recognizes the importance of confidence.

“I think … knowing they can handle a schedule like that smack in the beginning of the season has got to be a confidence boost for them,” Stephenson said.

It appears to have been a confidence boost for Mable as well.