Gymnasts upset by poor showing in beating Iowa

Jill Shirley

Despite several impressive individual performances at the Gophers’ meet against Iowa on Saturday, the women’s gymnastics co-coaches are frustrated.
“We had some great performances,” co-coach Jim Stephenson said, “but when you have three or four people missing routines, it doesn’t help the score.”
Minnesota beat Iowa 193.450 to 191.40. But the team needs scores of at least 195 or better at the rest of their meets if they want to go to the NCAA championship.
“We’re at a point in the season where we need to look better at home,” co-coach Meg Stephenson said. “We just haven’t been able to put together a good meet at home since the first one.”
The balance beam continued to be the problem for the Gophers — the team only scored a 47.125 on the beam.
Despite the low team effort, senior Kristi Sellinger placed second, and sophomore MaryAnne Kelley placed first on the beam with a score of 9.85.
The Stephensons agreed they had a great week of balance-beam training. Both coaches said the Gophers were jittery in their beam performances.
“It’s all about the attitude,” Meg Stephenson said. “We’re just a little disappointed in the tentative performances on balance beam.”
Two highlights of the evening were senior Judy Cavazos’ routine on the uneven bars and sophomore Megan Beukens’ floor exercise. Cavazos scored a 9.9 with what the Stephensons said was one of the hardest routines in the country, and Beukens executed an almost flawless floor exercise, scoring a 9.9 as well.
The Gophers’ performance Saturday was good, but not good enough to get the 195 score that the team is looking for.
So what are they going to work on for next week?
“(We’re going to) continue to work on altering personnel,” Jim Stephenson said.
The coaches had to alter the lineup for Saturday’s meet after sophomore Catie Christensen, the team’s second-best gymnast on the uneven bars, injured her shoulder. Freshman Kelly Watson substituted for Christensen.
The Stephensons will also up the ante in practice, putting pressure on the team to perform well to get them used to meet situations.
And with one month to go before the NCAA championships, time is running out on the Gophers to respond well to that meet pressure.
“The score we got tonight doesn’t help us in the rankings at all.”