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Gopher Sports: It’s Championship Week for Some Gopher Sports

The Gopher Swim and Dive Teams and both gymnastics teams have big championship meets this weekend

As the winter sports seasons progress into spring it’s getting to be nearly championship season for several of the winter sports. The first Big Ten Championships of the winter season kicks off this weekend as the Women’s Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships are underway at the University of Iowa. Meanwhile both the women’s gymnastics team and two members of the men’s squad have some big championships level meets this weekend as well!

Women’s Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships—Iowa City, Iowa

The Minnesota Golden Gophers women head to the Big Ten Championships looking for their fifth title in the last nine seasons. Minnesota comes into the championships on a roll winning their last four dual meets against Hawaii, USC, Purdue and Northwestern.

Minnesota will look to get some fresh blood some experiences in the Big Ten Championships. Missing from the team is two-time defending Big Ten diving champion Sarah Bacon who has been competing internationally this season in preparation for qualification for the 2020 Olympics and is taking a redshirt season.

Two Gophers with the best chances to win a Big Ten title include senior Lindsey Kozelsky who specializes in the breaststroke and freshman Jordan McGinty who is one of the top freestyle swimmers in the conference. Joy Zhu is not as accomplished as Bacon, but she will compete for the top spot in the conference in both the one meter and three meter diving competitions.

The Gophers will have the most competition from Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana at the meet. Live events will stream on BTN+ with prelims in the mornings and finals taking place Thursday through Saturday evening.

Women’s Gymnastics @ Big 5’s at Elevate The Stage—Toledo, OH

The #7 Gopher women’s gymnastics team will compete at the Big 5’s event with the four other top Big Ten gymnastics programs this weekend in Toldeo, Ohio. At stake is the Big Ten Regular Season championship. Minnesota and #9 Michigan both enter the competition at 5-0 in Big Ten meets this season—so the winner will take home the regular season title. If Minnesota wins it will be their first regular season title since 2016. Also competing along with the Gophers and Wolverines this weekend will be #24 Maryland, Penn State and Michigan State.

It’s been a great season thus far for the Gophers and their individual stars. Junior Lexy Ramler was once again named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week last week after winning the all around competition in the Gophers dual meet win over Nebraska last Sunday. Ramler’s score of 39.625 included two 9.975 scores on the bars and the beam. The Gophers as a team are ranked #2 in the nation on the beam and have the highest score in the nation with a 49.700 earlier this year.

The event will begin at 6PM Saturday night and will stream live on Flo Gymnastics ($$)

Men’s Gymnastics at Winter Cup—Las Vegas, NV

The Gopher men’s gymnastics team will send two members, junior Shane Wiskus and sophomore Mike Moran to the Winter Cup in Las Vegas. The Winter Cup is an annual meet that features some of the nation’s best collegiate and senior gymnasts.

Wiskus will contend to keep his place on the U.S. Senior National Team during the event. The top six all-arounders from Thursday will automatically receive a spot, with six other team members being named after the finals session. Gymnasts named to the team will keep their status through the U.S. Championships in June.

Moran is currently ranked No. 11 all-around in the NCAA with an average score of 77.417. He is also ranked No. 9 on floor with an average of 14.233.

The prelims will take place Thursday evening with the finals Saturday night. Both nights wil lbe treamed live on the USA Gymnastics Youtube Channel.