Gophers falter on the beam as season ends at Regionals

One thing the Minnesota womenâÄôs gymnastics team didnâÄôt lack heading into its regional championship over the weekend was confidence. Unfortunately, that confidence didnâÄôt lead to a berth to nationals like they had hoped. The Gophers finished in fifth place, despite coming in as the third seed in the Central Region. Florida and UCLA finished first and second, respectively, earning the two automatic bids to the NCAA championships. Minnesota had made some small mistakes early on, but overall, co-head coach Meg Stephenson said she felt like her team wasnâÄôt in too bad of shape. But when the Gophers got to the beam, the wheels came off as they earned a score of 47.475 âÄî the second-lowest score on the beam this season. âÄúI honestly donâÄôt know what happened when we went to beam,âÄù Stephenson said. âÄúIt was a very uncharacteristic performance for us. Unfortunately, I have to say that we lost our focus in that last event.âÄù The salt in the wound however, came courtesy of DenverâÄôs Kelly Hennigan. Senior Carmelina Carbajal, who had anchored the Gophers team all season, finished tied for the final individual bid to the NCAAs with Hennigan. The tiebreaker went to the highest overall score in an event on the night âÄî Carabajal lost out by .025 points. âÄúI think it was heartbreaking for everyone. She went out there, she hit all four of her events and unfortunately it wasnâÄôt enough for her to advance on,âÄù Stephenson said. âÄúWhat a career sheâÄôs had. She really should be proud that in her last meet of her career she did a great job.âÄù Men earn fourth at Big Tens The Minnesota men didnâÄôt come away from the Big Ten championships with a conference crown. But that doesnâÄôt mean Minnesota head coach Mike Burns found the weekend to be wasted. The Gophers fourth place finish told Burns a lot about his team and gave him some insight into where his team needs to go to prepare for the NCAA championships in two weeks. âÄúWe did a pretty good job. We werenâÄôt as sharp as IâÄôd like to have been,âÄù Burns said. âÄúBut it showed us where weâÄôre at right now and where we need to be and weâÄôre not that far away from where we need to be.âÄù Though not official, it looks as though the Gophers will be battling with Ohio State, Illinois and Oklahoma as the top-four teams in the six-team Thursday session when Minnesota hosts the NCAA championships. Burns said itâÄôs likely Oklahoma and Illinois will advance to the team finals after the qualifying rounds, leaving a potential Big Ten showdown for the third and final spot to compete in the finals. âÄúWeâÄôre in a situation right now where weâÄôre basically in a dual meet right now with Ohio State,âÄù Burns said. âÄúThey had a few problems themselves âÄî both teams have been struggling with consistency.âÄù