Gymnasts set for success

Hanna Nordquist and Madie Hanley have progressed this season.

by David Nelson

While Gophers sophomores Hanna Nordquist and Madie Hanley usually compete in just one event, the two are anything but one-dimensional.

“They’re both incredible gymnasts,” head coach Meg Stephenson said. “So the chances of them getting in on more events is possible every week … because of what they are capable of doing.”

Nordquist and Hanley’s talents were on display last weekend at Nebraska, where they found themselves with the two highest individual scores on the team.

Hanley scored a 9.875 on the uneven bars, while Nordquist garnered the exact same score on the balance beam.

“I don’t consider them one-event people,” Stephenson said. “It’s better for our team if they aren’t. So they’re definitely working hard not to be one-event people.”

Though their talent is evident, this season’s team is loaded with skill, which sometimes makes it hard for the two to crack the lineup.

“We have our really strong team,” Stephenson said. “It can be a very different lineup because we do have quite a few players.”

While Nordquist and Hanley want to participate in competition, they said they don’t take it personally when they’re excluded from the lineup.

“It gets really frustrating at times,” Nordquist said, “but we do what’s best for the team, and obviously, the best people are in.”

Hanley and Nordquist participated in the all-around events in high school, but they said their change in role didn’t come as a surprise.

“In college, it is a whole new game,” Hanley said. “It’s not even comparable.”

While they might only participate in one event during meets, both said their practice routines haven’t changed a bit.

And the lack of competition time doesn’t deter their confidence.

“It pushes me and motivates me,” Nordquist said. “I want to get in [the] lineup, so I work that much harder.”

Hanley said the added pressure to make lineups at the end of the week helps keep the entire team motivated.

“You do want to keep on challenging the people who are in [the] lineup,” Hanley said. “You kind of want to be like, ‘Oh, I’m pushing for your spot.’”

Stephenson said Hanley and Nordquist’s hard work is evident. Both have improved this season and are continuing to grow, she said.

Hanley started off the year on bars with a 9.25 in the first meet, and she has since raised that score by 0.625 points.

“I started out the season a little shaky,” Hanley said. “Every meet, I have improved. … I just hit my personal record, so it’s a good confidence boost.”