Jan. 12, 2017
DENVER - The No. 7-ranked University of Denver women's gymnastics team, presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, will host its home opener on Saturday, January 14, against Arizona State, Air Force and Texas Woman's in Hamilton Gymnasium at 6 p.m.
MEET #2: No. 7 Denver (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. Arizona State (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12), Air Force (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) & Texas Woman's (0-2, 0-0 MIC)
Date and Time: Saturday, January 14, at 6 p.m. MT
Location: Hamilton Gymnasium/2,200 (Denver, Colo.)
Tickets: Buy Tickets
Live Stats: Denver live stats
Meet Info: DU meet notes | ASU meet notes | AFA meet notes | TWU meet notes
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Twitter: @DU_Gymnastics | @DU_Pioneers
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DU's three freshmen made strong starts to their collegiate careers, winning five event titles and breaking program records for freshmen in their first meet.
Maddie Karr (Stillwater, Minn.) shattered DU's record for highest all-around score by a freshman in her debut, winning the title with a 39.500--nearly a full point higher than the previous record held by Emily Bankhead (38.600) in 2001. Her 9.925 on vault, 9.875 on beam and 9.900 on floor are all also the highest scores that a Denver freshman has posted in her first meet.
Sam Ogden (Allen, Texas) won the bars title with a 9.850--the third-highest score on the event by a DU freshman in her first collegiate meet. She added a 9.800 on beam, which was the team's second-highest score on the event and tied her for third overall in the meet.
Courtney Loper (West Des Moines, Iowa) made her collegiate debut with a 9.700 in the lead-off spot on floor. She added an exhibition performance on beam as well.
RETURNING TO LINE UPS
Two of Denver's seniors missed the 2016 season with injuries and made their returns to competition at Saturday's season opener in Minnesota. Rachel Fielitz (Walden, N.Y.) competed on vault and beam, and tied for second on vault with a 9.825. Leah Lomonte (Katy, Texas) had a 9.850 in her return on bars.
For the first time since 2015, DU had more than one all-around competitor. Senior Julia Ross (Henderson, Nev.) and junior Nikole Addison (Fort Myers, Fla.) had each only competed once in the all-around previously--Ross on February 27, 2015, and Addison in her collegiate debut on January 9, 2015. They finished third and fourth, respectively, in the final all-around standings in the 2017 season opener.
At Saturday's meet, the Pioneers will honor Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio), DU Gymnastics' first individual NCAA national champion. After march-in and before competition begins, the team will reveal a banner commemorating McGee's floor national title in 2016. McGee advanced to the 2016 NCAA National Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, winning the floor title and finishing tied for No. 10 in the all-around.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Vault: In the season opener, the Pioneers only competed five student-athletes on vault, finishing with four scores of 9.800 or higher. Freshman Karr had the highest score of the night for either team with a 9.925. Seniors Fielitz and Ross tied for second with their 9.825s, and Addison added a 9.800.
Bars: Denver freshmen had two of the team's highest marks on bars in the season opener, led by Ogden's event-winning 9.850. Karr and Ross each tallied a 9.800 to tie for third on the event. Lomonte made her return to competition on bars with a 9.750--just .050 off her career high. Sophomore Claire Kern (Charlotte, N.C.) continued her streak of competing on bars in every meet in her career.
Beam: Again, DU's top scores last weekend came from the freshmen. Karr had the event's highest score of the night with her 9.875, and Ogden tied for third overall with a 9.800. Addison competed on beam for the first time since her freshman debut in 2015, posting a career-high 9.775. The Pioneers also saw solid performances from returners Ross and sophomore Kaitlyn Schou (Orlando, Fla.).
Floor: Denver competed five-up, five-count in the season opener on floor (after doing so on vault as well). Freshman Loper made her DU debut in the lead-off spot while Ross competed on floor for only the second time in her career. Schou matched Ross' 9.750, followed by Addison's 9.850. Karr's 9.900 on floor tied for the highest overall on the event.
EYE ON THE RANKINGS
After one week of competition, Denver holds the No. 7 spot in the national rankings--the second-highest ranking in program history, only behind the team's No. 6 ranking in 2003 and 2010.
The team is ranked in the top 11 on all four events as well: No. 7 on vault, tied for No. 10 on bars, and No. 11 on beam and floor.
Individually, three Pioneers are ranked in the top 25 nationally--each for the first time in their collegiate careers. Karr is tied for No. 4 on vault, tied for No. 6 in the all-around and on floor, and tied for No. 13 on beam. Addison is tied for No. 22 in the all-around and on floor, and Ross is tied for No. 25 in the all-around.
This is the first time since 2003 that DU has had three student-athletes ranked in the all-around.
LAST TIME OUT
Denver started its 2017 season with a road win over Minnesota 195.875-194.725 on January 7. DU's final team score is the second-highest score in a season opener in program history. Additionally, DU posted its second-highest vault score (49.050), and third-highest bars (48.925) and beam (48.950) scores in the first meet of a season.
The Pioneers' scores on vault and floor are made all the more impressive when factored in that the team only competed five student-athletes on each event.
At least a share of all five individual titles went to Pioneer gymnasts, led by freshman Karr's wins in the all-around and on vault, beam and floor (tie). Fellow freshman Ogden took the bars title. Five Pioneers had top-three finishes as well: Ross and Fielitz tied for second on vault; Addison tied for third in the all-around; Ross and Karr tied for third on bars; and Ogden tied for third on beam.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils started their 2017 campaign with a 191.800-193.850 road loss at Iowa State. Three of ASU's student-athletes placed top-three on the individual events: Morgan Wilson on vault, Ashley Szfranski on bars and Nichelle Christopherson on floor.
ABOUT AIR FORCE
AFA hosted its season opener last weekend, topping Winona State 190.875-184.750 and winning four individual titles, including podium sweeps on vault and bars. The all-around title went to Mariana Murphy, the vault title to Anna Salamone, the bars title to Analise Howard, the beam title to Kelly Johnston and the floor title to Casey Bell.
ABOUT TEXAS WOMAN'S
TWU traveled to Arizona for its season opener and finished third with a 189.500 behind Arizona (194.025) and Utah State (191.600). Schyler Jones won the all-around title, tied for second on vault and tied for third on beam. Katie Simpson finished third in the all-around.
Arizona State holds a 13-5 all-time record over Denver--though DU is 5-3 against ASU under head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart. The teams last met at a quad meet at California on January 25, 2015, where DU topped ASU 195.500-192.650. DU also won the teams' last meeting in Denver: 197.200-195.195.675 on March 9, 2013.
Saturday's meet will be the 96th meeting between Denver and Air Force. DU holds a 91-4 record over AFA, including the team's two meetings in 2016: 196.825-191.175 in Denver on March 4 and 197.050-193.825 at Air Force on March 6.
Denver leads Texas Woman's 18-1 all-time, last meeting on March 10, 2012, where DU won 196.725-193.650 in Denver. The two teams will meet against in 2017 when they both travel to Oklahoma for a quad meet on February 3.
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