The Gustavus gymnastics team brings all but one key contributor back from last year’s squad that posted a record of 20-3 during the regular season. Head Coach Kris Glidden, who is entering her fourth season guiding the Gusties, will lead the most experienced squad she has had during her tenure. With 11 letterwinners, including two All-Americans, returning from last year’s team that placed fourth at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) national meet, this could be the season that Glidden coaches Gustavus to its first national title since 1994.
Headlining the group of returning athletes for Gustavus are five gymnasts who competed in the individual NCGA finals a year ago: Amanda Parker (JR, Ames, IA), Alyssa Cox (SO, Big Lake, MN), Molly McIntyre (SR, Minneapolis, MN), Therese Gay (JR, Sugar Grove, IL), and Mary Puder (SR, St. Paul, MN).
Parker, a six-time All-American, returns for her third year in the program. After winning the national all-around title in 2002, she placed second in the floor exercise, third in the vault, and sixth in the all-around at the national meet last season. Had it not been for a sub-par performance in the uneven bars, Parker would have likely repeated as the national all-around champion.
Cox claimed the national championship in the vault a year ago, becoming the sixth Gustie to win the national vault title. In addition to her success on the vault, Cox had the highest floor exercise average on the team (9.30).
McIntyre placed seventh in the uneven bars competition at last spring’s national meet. She had the team’s third highest bars average during the regular season (8.60).
Gay placed 12th at the national finals in the uneven bars. She
experienced success on the uneven bars and in the floor exercise in 2003 despite battling an injury the entire season.
Puder capped off a successful junior season by placing 11th in the vault at the national meet. She had the highest regular season vault average on the squad (8.977).
Other returning letterwinners include Danielle Abel (SO, Blue Earth, MN), Katie Balcom (JR, Minneapolis, MN), Caren Carlstedt (JR, Sun Prairie, WI), Sarah Greniger (JR, Maple Grove, MN), Ali Legler (SR, Rockville, MD), and Christina Rischmiller (SR, Brooklyn Park, MN). Five of these six gymnasts finished in the team’s top five spots in at least one event in at least two competitions last season.
While having an experienced team with depth is always an advantage, a talented incoming class is usually necessary to seriously contend for the regional and national titles. Joining the solid core of returning athletes are 11 first-year students, nine of which earned all-state honors or higher in high school.
Gustavus will open the season on January 10 at UW-Whitewater. The squad’s home opener is February 13 against U W-Eau Claire. In order to qualify for the national meet, Gustavus will need to place in the top four at the NCGA West Regional in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on March 19. A successful performance at the regional meet will earn the Gusties a trip to the national championships hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts on April 2-3.
School Name: Gustavus Adolphus College
Location: 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082
Nickname: Golden Gusties
School Colors: Black and Gold
Home Site: Sponberg Gymnastics Studio in Lund Center
President: Dr. James Peterson
Athletic Director: Al Molde
Athletic Phone: 507-933-7617
National Championship Appearances: 18
National Championships: 8
National Event Champions: 21
Sports Information Director: Tim Kennedy
SID office phone: 507-933-7647
SID home phone: 507-934-2642
SID Fax: 507-933-8412
Head Coach: Kris Glidden
Years at Gustavus: 4
Alma Mater: Gustavus
Head Coach’s office phone: 507-933-6409
Assistant Coach: Jon Janzen
Player & Team Information
Regular season record last year: 20-3
Regional finish: 3rd
National finish: 4th
Letterwinners returning/lost: 11/17
Danielle Abel (SO, Blue Earth, MN)
Katherin Balcom (JR, Minneapolis, MN)
Caren Carlstedt (JR, Sun Prairie, WI)
Alyssa Cox (SO, Big Lake, MN)
Therese Gay (JR, Sugar Grove, IL)
Sarah Greninger (JR, Maple Grove, MN)
Ali Legler (SR, Rockville, MD)
Molly McIntyre (SR, Minneapolis, MN)
Amanda Parker (JR, Ames, IA)
Mary Puder (SR, St. Paul, MN)
Christina Rischmiller (SR, Brooklyn Park, MN)