Denver competes against Iowa on Monday, January 18, at 1 p.m. MT
Jan. 16, 2016
DENVER – The University of Denver women’s gymnastics team, ranked No. 13 in the nation, will compete on the road for the first time in 2016 when the Pioneers visit the University of Iowa on Monday, January 18, at 1 p.m. MT.
MEET #2: No. 13 Denver (2-0, 1-0 Big 12) at Iowa (2-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
Date and Time: Monday, January 18, at 1 p.m. MT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena/15,000 (Iowa City, Iowa)
Live Stats: Iowa live stats
Live Video: Iowa live stream ($)
Meet Info: Denver meet notes | Iowa meet notes
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The Pioneers are led by head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart in her 18th season. Under Kutcher-Rinehart, DU has qualified to 17 consecutive NCAA Regionals and is seeking its fourth trip to the NCAA National Championships.
Denver is ranked No. 13 in the first Road to Nationals rankings, released Monday, January 11, three spots higher than the team’s preseason ranking of No. 16. New rankings will be available the morning of January 18, before the Pioneers and Hawkeyes’ meet.
Senior and two-time All-American Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio), who returns in 2016 for her fifth and final season, leads the Pioneers. McGee tied for second on floor at the 2015 NCAA National Championships and finished No. 11 overall in the all-around. Already in 2016, McGee has a perfect 10.0 on floor after the Pioneers’ first meet.
BEST IN THE BIG 12
Nina McGee was recognized as the Big 12 Conference Gymnast of the Week for the first week of the season, the conference announced on Tuesday. The award comes after McGee posted her first career 10.0 on floor in DU’s first meet of the season on January 9. She finished the meet with titles in the all-around, on bars and floor. Her all-around tally of 39.250 matched the highest for any Big 12 gymnast through the first week of competition.
The 2016 season is Denver’s first as an affiliate member of the Big 12 Conference.
EYE ON THE RANKINGS
DU comes in at No. 13 in the first Road to Nationals rankings of the 2016 season, giving the team its highest ranking since the 2013 season. Denver is also ranked inside the top 25 on three events, including two inside the top 10. The vault squad sits at No. 7 (49.100) while the team is tied for No. 10 on bars (49.100). The Pioneers are ranked just outside the top 10 on floor, tied for No. 12 (48.975).
Nina McGee leads the Pioneers in the individually rankings, starting with her No. 1 ranking on floor. This is the second time in McGee’s career that she has held the top spot on floor; she tied for the No. 1 ranking on March 9, 2015.
McGee is also tied for No. 4 on bars (9.900) and tied for No. 13 in the all-around (39.250). Junior Rachel Fielitz (Walden, N.Y.) is tied for No. 21 on vault (9.850).
Rankings will be determined by season average through February 21. Beginning, February 22, teams will be ranked based on their Regional Qualifying Score (RQS).
LAST TIME OUT
DU opened 2016 with a win over then-ranked No. 24 Southern Utah and No. 31 West Virginia on January 9, posting a team total of 195.375—the highest in the first meet of the season since 2010. Denver’s victory was punctuated by Nina McGee’s 10.0 on floor, the first perfect score of her career and the only such score in the nation through the first week of competition.
Three Pioneer freshmen made their collegiate debuts in the meet. Diana Chesnok (Charlotte, N.C.) and Kaitlyn Schou (Orlando, Fla.) each performed twice: Chesnok on vault and bars, Schou on beam and floor. Claire Kern (Charlotte, N.C.) also added a bars routine. Grace Broadhurst (Broomfield, Colo.) performed the team’s exhibition on bars.
In addition to the freshmen’s new personal bests, three other Pioneers set new career highs. McGee’s 10.0 on floor topped her previous career best of 9.975. Sophomore Claire Hammen (Loveland, Colo.) posted a 9.825 on beam on her way to sharing the event title while also competing on floor for the first time in her collegiate career. Senior Katie Menhinick (Paramus, N.J.) scored 9.825 on bars to establish a new person best.
Monday’s meet will be the second of the weekend for Iowa after the team’s Friday night competition at Michigan State. Iowa won 194.900-192.575 and saw junior Mollie Drenth take the titles in the all-around and on vault.
In the January 11 rankings, Iowa is tied for No. 21 on vault (48.700) and No. 23 on floor (48.788).
The Hawkeyes are led by juniors Drenth and Angel Metcalf. Larissa Libby is in her 12th season as the team’s head coach.
This will be the 11th meeting between Denver and Iowa. DU leads the all-time head-to-head record 7-3-0, which includes DU’s 196.725-195.850 win on February 21, 2015 in Denver. The team’s last met in Iowa City on February 11, 2011, where Iowa edged Denver by less than two tenths to record a 196.350-196.200 win.
Monday’s meet is the first of two meetings between the teams in 2016. Iowa will make the trip to Denver on February 27 for a quad meet also featuring SE Missouri State and Illinois-Chicago.
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