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Denver Gymnastics Signs Three for 2017 Season

Nov. 12, 2015

DENVER - The University of Denver women's gymnastics team welcomes three student-athletes for the 2017 season, head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart announced Thursday. Maddie Karr (Stillwater, Minn.), Courtney Loper (West Des Moines, Iowa) and Samantha Ogden (Allen, Texas) signed their National Letters of Intent this week as part of the early signing period.

"We're very excited to welcome an extraordinary class of talented and well-accomplished student-athletes to DU, each of them from gymnastics clubs with outstanding reputations," head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said. "They are already proud to be Pioneers and have been for many years. They'll integrate well into our great team chemistry and help continue our tradition of teamwork, character and excellence."

Maddie Karr is a Level 10 gymnast from Twin City Twisters in Champlin, Minn. In 2015, she finished first in the all-around at the prestigious Nastia Liukin Cup while also finishing tied for second on vault, and third on bars and floor. She qualified to J.O. Nationals in each of the last five years, most recently finishing second on beam, third in the all-around and tied for fourth on vault in 2015. She has been named to the J.O. National Team every year since 2013.

"Maddie already has strong leadership qualities in and out of the gym," Kutcher-Rinehart said. "She's known for her consistency and how she rises to the occasion under pressure in high-level competition."

WATCH: Maddie Karr Highlight Video

Courtney Loper is a Level 10 gymnast from Chow's Gymnastics in West Des Moines, Iowa. She has qualified to J.O. Nationals every year since 2012, and finished eighth on floor and 14th in the all-around in 2015. In the last two years, she finished top three in the Region 4 Championships, including third on floor in 2015, and first in the all-around and on floor in 2014.

"Courtney is known for her flowing, elite lines," Kutcher-Rinehart said. "Her outstanding work ethic was evident from even my first visit to Chow's Gymnastics."

WATCH: Courtney Loper Beam Routine

Sam Ogden is a former international elite and current Level 10 gymnast training at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, Texas. She finished ninth in the all-around at the 2014 U.S. Secret Classic and qualified as a junior to the 2013 P&G Championships where she finished eighth on bars and 16th in the all-around. At the prestigious 2014 Nadia Comaneci Invite, she won bars, and finished third on beam and in the all-around. In 2015, she competed at the Region 3 Championships, finishing sixth on beam, ninth on vault and 11th in the all-around.

"Sam brings international elite experience, which is invaluable," Kutcher-Rinehart said. "She's known for complex and stylish gymnastics, especially on bars and beam."

WATCH: Sam Ogden Bars Routine

DU finished the 2015 season ranked No. 15 in the nation and saw two-time All-American Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio) tie for second on floor at the 2015 NCAA National Championships. McGee will return for her fifth and final season in 2016, and will be joined by fellow seniors Emily Barrett (Norman, Okla.), Maggie Laughlin (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Katie Menhinick (Paramus, N.J.) and Morgan Tolman (Northridge, Calif.).

Denver will begin its first season as an affiliate member of the Big 12 Conference in the team's home opener on January 9, 2016, against West Virginia and Southern Utah. Fans can meet the team at the annual Crimson & Gold Intrasquad on December 12, which is free to the public.

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