Lu sticks in the swing of things

Ivy Lu has emerged as a freshman leader for Minnesota in the uneven bars.

Emily Polglaze

New team, new school, new country – Ivy Lu has now checked all the boxes.

The freshman has flourished in her first meets with Minnesota and has quickly become a reliable asset to the team in her respective events.

“I did struggle a little bit during my first few meets,” Lu said. “But it was definitely working on the confidence and building on my confidence in competition as been a key to my success.”

The Montreal, Quebec, native first became acquainted with Minnesota over email.

Lu said she recalls Gophers head coach Jenny Hansen sending emails to a few girls in Canada who were affiliated with the national program.

From there, the wheels started turning and Lu landed in Minnesota – nearly 19 hours away from her home.

Lu said the adjustment, like any, was tough at first, but the composition of Minnesota’s team this season helped.

“To get used to everything, it was hard,” Lu said. “But we were such a big class of freshmen and that made it easier.”

She is one of eight rookies on the squad this season and has not only solidified herself as a competitor, but is also someone the Gophers can rely on in competition.

Lu said she contributes most in bars, and it has rung true at Minnesota.

Lu has tallied two first place finishes on uneven bars so far this season, both times with a career-high 9.875 mark and holds the second-best average in the event among any of her teammates.

“[There’s] a lot of mental preparation,” Lu said of her specialty in bars. “Just visualizing on your routine before you go and [you] just talk through your routine when you compete and then you just focus on the key words.”

Lu is modest in speaking about herself, but her teammates can elaborate on her ability with ease.

“Coming in as a freshman it’s very hard to make such a big impact right away,” said Julia Huebert. “I think it’s very evident that she’s doing that and I think it’s great to [help] get the bars team all together. I think she’s doing great.”

Huebert, a freshman herself, has also come to know Lu as a friend.

The two are roommates and Huebert said that Lu has a quirky side too.

“Outside the gym, Ivy is a very funny person,” Huebert said. “She’s pretty quiet, but once you get to know her she’s a really great person. She’s so sweet.”

Lu’s 9.875 mark is Minnesota’s second-best all season, and the rookie has certainly set the bar high, but Lu said she knew she had to do well to contribute to the team in the event.

Mostly though, Lu wants to keep learning and improve her consistency – all part of any freshman process that many of her teammates have already gone through.

“That definitely helped me to kind of get to know the process of competing every single weekend,” Lu said. “Especially in different environments every single weekend, too. They help me a lot through all of that.”