U women’s gymnasts

David La

The No. 19 Gophers women’s gymnastics team made up for a lack of experience with wide-eyed determination, finishing in a tie with No. 13 Denver for fourth place at the NCAA Region 2 championships in Logan, Utah, on Saturday.
Defending national champion Georgia and No. 10 Florida, the highest seeds at the regionals, advanced to the NCAA championships, which will be held Apr. 24 in Salt Lake City.
“We could not be more pleased with the result,” Minnesota co-coach Jim Stephenson said. “The part that we could control, we took control of. We can’t do anything about what other teams do. We just went out and hit our routines.”
The Gophers’ outcome at regionals was based on their judged 24 routines, 12 of which were performed by freshmen. The results were solid if unspectacular, but at least the routines went cleanly.
“No one fell,” freshman Megan Beuckens said. “We had 24 hits out of 24 routines. It was a good way to end the season.”
Senior Cathy Keyser, who ended her Minnesota career on Saturday, got her team started with a 10th place finish on the balance beam.
The next rotation saw the Gophers turn in their highest event point total of the meet. Freshmen All-Big Ten selections Megan Beuckens and Catie Christensen took 7th and 11th, respectively, and junior Kristi Selinger finished at 15th place on the strength of a career-best score.
Beuckens’ score of 9.85 was the highest individual score of the meet for Minnesota.
Finishing in a tie for 11th place in the all-around was a pair of freshmen, MaryAnne Kelley and first-timer Beuckens.
Other event leaders for the Gophers were sophomore Shanyn Lancaster, who placed 20th on the vault, and Christensen, who finished 17th on the uneven bars.
Missing from the lineup due to injury was Judy Cavazos, who owned the Gophers highest averages on the uneven bars and floor exercise.
Even without the benefits of big-meet savvy — and the considerable contributions of Cavazos — Minnesota announced itself as a team that could cast a long shadow over the region in the years to come.
“We have the youngest team in the region whose potential is yet to be seen,” Stephenson said.

Women’s Gymnastics NCAA Region 2 Order of Finish

1. Georgia 197.375
2. Florida 195.225
3. Utah State 194.575
4. Minnesota 194.2
4. Denver 194.2
6. Iowa State 194.175