Women’s gymnastics scores season-high in home loss

Jill Shirley

The Minnesota women’s gymnastics team knows how to send off its seniors in style.
The Gophers lost to Iowa State 196.225-196.125, but in the process, they managed to walk away with a season-high score.
“For the team, it was a great reassurance that we can do this,” co-coach Jim Stephenson said. “It was inspiring; it was motivating. Hopefully, this is part of our plan to peak at the most important part of the season, which is still ahead of us.”
Minnesota nabbed first place in vault with freshman Leigh Dixon’s personal-best score of 9.9. The Gophers also placed first in floor exercise with sophomore MaryAnne Kelley’s 9.95. The athlete of the evening, however, was sophomore Megan Beuckens.
Not only did she score personal-best scores of 9.825 on beam and 9.925 on floor exercise, she was the night’s most valuable player — with good reason. She nabbed a school record for all-around with a score of 39.450.
“I had a really good meet,” Beuckens said. “I really haven’t thought about (breaking the school record); I was happier with hitting beam, finally,” Beuckens said.
The balance beam proved to be less of a sore spot for the Gophers on Saturday. With only one gymnast falling, they scored a 48.750, a score much better than what they have seen all season.
Minnesota now gears up for the Big Ten championships next week at Penn State, as well as the NCAA regionals on April 1.
It might have been the last regular season home meet for the four seniors, but with a strong meet behind them and hosting regionals ahead of them, things can only get better.
“Every year, it seems that our team manages to give our seniors a proper send-off, and they sure did that tonight,” co-coach Meg Stephenson said. “It just came together; (they) put together the best performance they’ve had. We’re just happy for them.”
Men’s gymnastics
The Gophers men’s gymnastics team had the best meet of its season Saturday.
Minnesota won over Nebraska with a season-high score of 227.275 to the Cornhusker’s 224.550. The 227.275 is the highest score for the Gophers since 1997, when they scored a 227.450 in the Big Ten championships.
Freshman Clay Strother placed first on the pommel horse with a 9.90 and on floor exercise with a 9.95, tying the school record he set earlier this year. Minnesota also placed first on parallel bars with sophomore Justin Conner’s 9.675 and on the high bar with senior Chad Conner’s 9.70. Justin Conner ended the night with a career-high 55.925 in the all-around.
The Gophers travel to Iowa City for the Big Ten championships next week.