Gophers don’t get win but are pleased with improvement

The Gophers womenâÄôs gymnastics team returned to the Sports Pavilion Saturday afternoon with a strong desire to redeem last weekendâÄôs narrow loss to Denver. And there wasnâÄôt a team they wanted to beat more than who they were hosting: No. 19 Michigan. The end result, however, was the same as Minnesota fell for the second consecutive time in a tight and highly competitive meet. The final score: 194.425-194.850. The ultimate loss did not tell of the vast improvements and differences from last weekend for the women. In fact, it was a completely different atmosphere. âÄúWeâÄôre not letting it get to us too much,âÄù senior Alexis Russell said. In fact, Russell said she has not seen a team that fights this hard in her four years with the team. âÄúItâÄôs one of the first times IâÄôve noticed that everybody is giving all they have,âÄù she said. Russell anchored Minnesota as one of three all-around performers, tying fellow senior captain Carmelina Carabajal for 3rd place with a score of 39.175. âÄú[Carmelina] has been our backbone for a few years now and itâÄôs nice to see her have some company in Alexis,âÄù co-head coach Meg Stephenson said. Perhaps the biggest improvement event-wise was the beam. Last weekend, the Gophers had a subpar performance on the beams by any standards. After two falls, Minnesota scored only 47.875 . This weekend, the women were flawless on the beams with no falls. They took the top three spots to score their top beam score of the year: a 49.050. This marked this yearâÄôs first event with a score higher than 49.0. âÄúI think that today, they really attacked [the beams] with a different mindset, a much more confident mindset, and it worked,âÄù Stephenson said. This new mindset was apparent in all other aspects of the Gophers performance Saturday. Individual and team high scores led to a full-point improvement from last weekendâÄôs Denver meet. âÄúWeâÄôre where we want to be. When weâÄôre getting personal best scores in the 3rd meet of the season, then weâÄôre feeling pretty good that weâÄôre where we want to be and weâÄôre moving in the right direction,âÄù Stephenson said. Just hours following the womenâÄôs meet, the menâÄôs gymnastics team took to the floor of the Sports Pavilion for their 2009 home debut. The men made quick work of the club teams of Calgary, Washington and Arizona State to win with a score of 348.85. âÄúWe just started off strong and I think it was the momentum that carried us over and each routine got better and better and better,âÄù freshman DJ Repp said . For the men, it was the pommel horse that led to their domination. The Gophers scored a 57.450 on the horse to make for the best coach Mike Burns has seen in his five years at Minnesota. Junior Thomas OâÄô Brien won the event with a personal best score of 14.850 , followed up by captains Kit Beikmann and Aaron Fortunato, respectively.