Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gym Countdown: #19 Minnesota

2008-09 Season Recap

It was a whirlwind season for this team last year with some incredible highs and some rock bottom lows. Let's start with the highs. On senior night the Golden Gophers scored a season high 196.75 against Iowa which gave the team its highest score in five years. Senior Carmelina Carabajal took the Big Ten all around title and while Minn. finished 4th they still had a strong showing at the conference championship.
On the down side the Gophers posted several low scores on the season including a 191.475(?!) against Iowa St. Perhaps worse than that was their poor showing regionals where they landed in fifth. While I don't think people were expecting them to challenge for the top two spots over Florida or UCLA, this team definitely had a shot at third and therefore a higher ranking than they attained at the end of the season.

2010 Season Outlook

So what can we expect from the Gophers this season? Well on the downside losing Carabajal doesn't help. That's four consistently strong scores and a conference all around champion that this team is going to have to replace. On the other hand this extremely young team shoulg find a strong leader in their sole senior Alexis Russell. If she can step up and top last season's already strong scores the Gophers may make even more noise than they did last year. From what I can tell of their incoming class, their recruits look pretty good and should be able to contribute right away.
I expect Minnesota to have continued strength on bars and beam. The place they really need to work is vault. If they could improve their average score on that event alone by half a point they would have a true shot at making nationals. That having been said I don't see this team making it to NCAAs this year. With all their youth they should have an opportunity in the near future if they keep improving

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