Men, women fall in road meets with ranked teams

The women traveled to Iowa State while the men fell in Norman, Okla.

by Alexandra Pluym

After a disappointing meet in Ann Arbor, Mich. two weeks ago, the Gophers womenâÄôs gymnastics team went back to the drawing board and figured out how to improve its scores on the road against Iowa State. Minnesota earned a best road score of 195.2 points Friday night against No. 13 Iowa State , but it wasnâÄôt enough as the Cyclones finished with 195.475 points. Gophers head coach Meg Stephenson said the women have been trying to refocus their energy and concentrate on their role at every meet, especially away from Minneapolis. âÄúThey just did not like not doing well away from home,âÄù she said. The Gophers scored 48.65 points on vault behind junior Kendra Elm who had her personal best score of 9.875 and won the event. Minnesota was also successful on uneven bars, tying a season-best score set last week and finishing with 49.025 points . Junior captain Kristin Furukawa was the GophersâÄô top scorer on bars and finished in third place in the event with a season-best score of 9.85. Other gymnasts from Minnesota had high scores, including Elm, senior Alexis Russell , and sophomore Lucy Ennis, who all scored 9.8 or higher. On the balance beam, the Gophers earned their best score of the season with 49.1 points . Furukawa had another personal-best score with a 9.9 score on the beam, winning the event. Her finish also ties the best by a Minnesota gymnast this season, which she set last weekend against Illinois. Furukawa said the Gophers now know they are capable of going on the road and doing well, but are still focusing on one meet at a time. âÄúChampionships are always on our mind,âÄù she said. âÄúBut right now itâÄôs one baby step at a time.âÄù Russell also had a season-best score on the beam with 9.85 points, giving her the fourth place finish. On floor exercise, Russell scored a GophersâÄô best 9.825 for the night, earning fourth place in the event. Minnesota finished with 48.425 points. For the first time ever, the Gophers had two gymnasts with 39 points or more for their all-around scores. Russell finished second with 39.2 points, and Elm finished third all-around with an even 39 points. Men in Oklahoma Although the No. 6 Minnesota menâÄôs gymnastics team improved in every event but vault, the Gophers could not overcome the No. 2 Sooners. Oklahoma came out victorious with a score of 359.45 points. Lingering behind them were the Gophers finishing with a total of 344.85. Also competing Saturday night was the Texas All-Star Team, which earned 310.65 points for the night. On the horizontal bar senior Aaron Fortunato led Minnesota to a 56.35 finish, and he individually scored his second-highest score of the season on the event with 14.95 points. Freshman Harris Coleman helped the Gophers on vault when he earned a career-high score of 15.55. Minnesota finished the event with 62.2 points total. Senior Adam Reichow had a season high on floor earning 15.35 points, leading the Gophers to a 59.15 finish, the teamâÄôs second best this season. MinnesotaâÄôs all-around performer was Fortunato, who finished with 86.7 points and was third overall, behind two Sooners gymnasts. The GophersâÄô next meet is against Penn State and Temple at 6 p.m. Saturday in State College, Pa.