Welcome back to our weekly review and preview of all things Minnesota Golden Gophers non-revenue sports. Several of the winter sports seasons have kicked off in whatever limited form they may be taking, and others are gearing up for a start very soon. Here is a look at how the Gophers teams formed last week and who they will face in the coming week.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s gymnastics team got off to a great start to thier season a week ago and now will have the biggest regular season meet in recent memory on Friday as a reward.
Then #11 Minnesota hosted the Iowa Hawkeyes in a duel meet last Friday at the Pav. The Gophers got off to a great start recording their highest team score in the first meet of the season ever in defeating the Hawkeyes 197.025-196.450. The Gophers dynamic senior duo of Ona Loper and Lexy Ramler lived up to the hype as Loper tied her career high score in winning the all-around with a 39.625 and set a career best on bars (9.925) and floor (9.950). Loper was honored with the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award for her performance—the first of the season and the third of her career with Minnesota. Ramler was right behind in the all-around with a score of 39.550, and was nearly perfect on her best event—the balance beam with a score of 9.975.
After their performance last week the Gophers were elevated to #4 in the newest national rankings. It is the highest ranking in school history. The Gophers are ranked in the top-10 in all four events: vault (8th), bars (4th), beam (4th) and floor (3rd). After their performances last week Loper is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around and vault. She also is tied for second on bars and tied for third on floor. Ramler is the nation’s top gymnast on beam, tied for No. 2 on bars, No. 23 on vault and No. 5 in the all-around. Junior Maddie Quarlles comes in at third on vault and freshman Mya Hooten is tied for third on floor.
That sets up the most significant regular season meet in recent memory as the Gophers will travel to Ann Arbor to take on the #3 Michigan Wolverines Friday afternoon. The Wolverines are incredibly talented and just like then Gophers they let up the score sheet last week in their first meet of the season. The Wolverines are ranked No. 3 overall and are in the top-10 in all events. Michigan is first on bars and floor, second on vault, and ninth on beam. Sophomore Sierra Brooks comes in tied for second on bars, tied for third on vault, tenth on floor and sixth in the all-around. Natalie Wojcik is also ranked in all four events, coming in at third all-around, tied for second on bars, tied for sixth on beam, and tied for 10th on floor. Gabby Wilson is ranked #3 on floor and Maddie Mariani is ranked #6 on beam.
The Wolverines defeated Ohio State 197.225-196.000 in their opener last week. It was the second highest opening week score in Big Ten history. It should be an epic meet Friday afternoon. It will kick off at 4:30 PM Friday and will air on ESPN U.
The Gophers got back on track this week picking up a huge win at Nebraska last Tuesday 76-71. Gadiva Hubbard let the Gophers in scoring with 18 points with all of her points coming on either threes or free throws. Jasmine Powell added 14 points for Minnesota. and most importantly only had two turnovers.
Minnesota has two games this week first heading to Penn State at 5 PM on Monday in a game that will air live on BTN, and then returning home to the Barn for a game against Purdue at 4PM Thursday in a game that will stream on BTN+.
Indoor Track and Field:
The Gophers competed last weekend in the Nebraska Triangular in Lincoln against both the Cornhuskers and Iowa Hawkeyes. Minnesota’s men’s and women’s teams combined to win 12 events on the weekend. Tess Keysers and Amira Young each won two individual events to lead Minnesota. Keysers won both throwing events taking home the shot put and weight throw while Young won both the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. It was the second week in a row with a win in the 200-meters for Young, and this time she improved upon her own Minnesota record with a time of 23.61 seconds.
Abigail Schaafe and Val Larson also each brought home two titles, winning once individually and helping a Minnesota relay team win. Schaafe won the 800 meters and Larson won the 600 meters. Both were two of four Gophers along with Janielle Josephs and Jayla Campbell won won the 4x400 meter relay for Minnesota.
Rounding out the Minnesota women winners were Anastasia Korzenowski who won the mile and Bethany Hasz who won her second race of the season in taking home the 15,000 meters in a facility record time of 15:50:74.
The Gopher men took home three event titles with Kaleb Siekmeier winning the weight throw, Eli Hoeft winning the mile and Kion Benjamin taking home the 60 meters.
Both the Gopher men and women are back south again this weekend this time back in Iowa City. Iowa hosts the Larry Wieczorek Invitational this Friday and Saturday where the Gophers will join the host Hawkeyes, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin. The meet begins at 1PM Friday and restarts at Noon on Saturday and will stream live on BTN+ ($$)
The Gopher wrestling team bounced back from a season opening loss at Nebraska to sweep a pair of duels last weekend. Minnesota routed Maryland 48-0 before defeating host Michigan State 28-6.
Eight of the ten Minnesota wrestlers won both matches on the day. The most impressive win came from #17 Patrick McKee at 125 pounds where he upset the Spartan’s #2 ranked wrestler Ravon Foley.
#1 Gable Steveson easily won both matches including now being tied for the second fastest pin in school history with a fall on Maryland’s Connor Bowes in just 13 seconds.
In all Minnesota earned four pins over the Terrapins to achieve their 48-0 score. it was the Gophers biggest winning margin against a conference foe since a 51-0 victory against Purdue on Feb. 10, 1979.
#11 Minnesota will return home fir the first time to the Pav Friday night to take on arch rival Iowa. The Hawkeyes are ranked #1 in the nation and sport an impressive three individual wrestlers ranked #1, one ranked #2, and a pair ranked #3. Iowa will be the prohibitive favorite in all matches but one where Minnesota’s #1 Steveson will take on Iowa’s #3 Tony Cassioppi. There will most likely be two additional top-ten matchups as Iowa’s #1 Spencer Lee at 125 will take on Minnesota’s #9 McKee and Minnesota’s #6 Brayton Lee will take on Iowa’s #7 Kaleb Young at 157 pounds.
The duel will take place at 8PM Friday night and will air live on BTN.
Swimming and Diving:
The Gophers men’s and women’s swim and dive teams will begin their season with one of their two scheduled meets this weekend. Minnesota will take on Purdue and Wisconsin in Madison beginning at 1PM Saturday. The highlight will the the return of redshirt senior diver Sarah Bacon back to the pool after taking a year off trying to earn a 2020 Olympic spot...that obviously never happened. The back to back NCAA Champion will be back to attempt a three-peat, if the NCAA Championships occur. Additionally the women return All-American Emily Cook while the men bring back a pair of All-Americans in Tom Donker and Max McHugh. The meet begins at 1PM on Saturday and will be streamed on BTN+ ($$)
The 2021 Gopher softball schedule has yet to be released, but it has been announced that the Big Ten is expected to play a Big Ten only schedule this spring. Thus the season will not start in early February on the road as many of the last few have, However the initial national polls have come out and the D1Softball.com poll has the Gophers ranked #20 in their preseason edition. Minnesota returns star pitcher Amber Fiser for her super senior season along with All-American second baseman Makenna Partain and power-hitting utility player Natalie Denhartog.