Minnesota Hits The Road To Take On Iowa

On Jan. 19, Minnesota will face off against Iowa as the two women’s gymnastics teams compete in a dual meet. The matchup will take place at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and fans are sure to show up in droves, cheering loudly for their favorite competitors. 

Minnesota, although not yielding the home team advantage on Saturday, has started the season off strong so far. The Gophers began their season unofficially with an intrasquad meet on Dec. 31, seeing what routines worked and what they needed to change.

The Gophers’ first official competition was on Friday, Jan. 4, at Arizona State. University of Illinois Chicago and Missouri were also competing, making it a quad meet with intense competition. Minnesota took third place, finishing behind first-place Missouri and second place Arizona State, but beating UIC. Minnesota had strong routines on both vault and bars, making it a solid start to the team’s season. 

Minnesota next competed in a home meet, hosting competitors Hamline, Gustavus Adolphus, and Winona State. The Gophers swept the meet, taking first place with a 195.600 all-around score. The second-place team, Hamline, scored only a 183.500 all-around, giving Minnesota the lead by more than 12 points. Minnesota once again put up a string of high scores on bars, this time competing wisely on beam as well. 

Lexy Ramler is a gymnast to keep an eye out for this season, as she scored a 9.800 on vault, 9.900 on bars, 9.925 on beam and 9.850 on floor at the Gophers’ last meet. Minnesota gymnasts took first place on every event, but impressively, a different gymnast took first on each event, showcasing the team’s depth.

Iowa also had a solid start to their season, beginning with an intrasquad meet on Dec. 1. An early intrasquad meet led to the official start of their season with a dual meet at Auburn on Jan. 4. The GymHawks put up an impressive 193.225, just slightly behind Auburn’s 194.825. 

“To be honest, I made some cautious decisions in terms of lineup changes as I believe it will benefit us in the long run,” head coach Larissa Libby stated after the meet. “We have a fantastic team that is capable of greatness once we are functioning with full lineups again.”

The GymHawks are putting a lot of freshmen in the lineup this season, as they have a lot of new talent. Making the transition from club to college gymnastics is sometimes a shaky start, but the seven new Iowa freshmen have held their own. At its second meet on Friday, Jan. 11, the team took on Missouri State at home, defeating MSU by an incredible 194.700 to 180.925, and the freshmen shone at their first official home meet. Bridget Killian scored a 9.775 on vault, beam and floor, and Lauren Guerin scored a 9.875 on floor, winning her second floor title in just two meets. 

In its third meet, Iowa competed against the New Hampshire Wildcats and lost by tenths of a point, scoring a 193.500 all around as compared to New Hampshire’s 193.950. Despite the loss, Iowa earned high scores on many events, mainly needing to focus on consistency and finding a lineup of six gymnasts who are sure to hit every time to improve their scores. Meet highlights included Charlotte Sullivan’s stuck bar routine that scored a 9.825, Clair Kaji earning a 9.800 for her action-packed floor routine and Allie Gilchrist and Bridget Killian both scoring a 9.825 on beam, tying for first place on the event. 

As both teams have started their seasons with a combination of wins and losses, the competition is heating up and either team could take home first place on Saturday. Fans can watch this Iowa City meet from anywhere, live on FloGymnastics.

Miranda Martin is a freelance writer who writes about gymnastics, social justice issues, and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or contact her through her website.

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