Jenny Covers placed third in the all-around in last weekend’s meet.

Jenny Covers placed third in the all-around in last weekend’s meet.

Senior Jenny Covers competes in the floor competition at the Sports Pavilion on Jan. 17.

James Healy

Senior Jenny Covers competes in the floor competition at the Sports Pavilion on Jan. 17.

Brad Bobel

Senior Jenny Covers has come a long way.

As a freshman, Covers specialized on the vault, leading the Gophers in the event at the Big Ten championships. 

Now, as a senior, she competes in all events and is a leader on the team.

She started the season strong and even battled her least favorite event — the beam — last weekend at Michigan State, scoring her career best score of 9.875.

 “I worked really hard this summer and preseason on the beam, and I think it’s showing up this season,” Covers said.

Her improvements in all events, especially the beam, have been noticed by not only her teammates but her coach as well.

“I think she’s had a great start,” interim head coach Jenny Hansen said. “I’m really pleased at how well she’s doing on all four events.”

Her progress can be credited to her summer and preseason trainings where the Gophers focused on conditioning as their main area of improvement.

“They pushed conditioning really hard, and they worked with our strengths coach, and I think that has made a difference for us,” Hansen said.

Despite the offseason effort, the beam is still challenging for Covers, and her teammates are well aware.

“Beam has never been [Covers’] favorite event, but she stepped up and conquered a lot of her fears,” junior Lindsay Mable said. “It was exciting to see her step up and really rock [the beam].”

Covers has improved not only her beam routine but all four events. This is apparent as she placed third in the all-around competition, only 0.35 points behind first-placed Mable.

“She’s really consistent and is taking it up a notch on each of her events,” Hansen said. “We’re making improvements, little ones, but at this point, they make the difference.”

Besides Covers’ improving performance, her attitude and energy resonates throughout the team.

“She brings an energy that’s hard to match. Once she hits her routine, she gets the whole team fired,” Hansen said. “Very few people can do that.”

Covers has also stepped up to the role of senior leader, guiding the underclassmen.

“Covers brings a lot of great qualities, and a lot of people look up to her, and it’s cool to watch the freshmen learn the ways of the program through her,” Mable said.

Covers has been a part of the program during successful times. The Gophers tied for first for the Big Ten regular-season title the last two years, and in 2013 the team placed eighth at the national championships.

“It’s always great to have leaders — seniors to come in and know what it takes to be at the high level,” Hansen said.

Covers attributed her continued success and attitude to her parents and upbringing.

“[They taught me that] there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and to just be the best person and gymnast that I can,” Covers said.