Five Gustavus gymnasts have been selected to participate in the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championships March 20-21 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. The group consists entirely of seniors as Christine Askham qualified in the all-around competition, Aryn Bell qualified on vault, Jess Dolan qualified on floor exercise, and Laura Hansen and Meghan Johnson qualified on balance beam. Askham, Hansen, and Bell have previous experience at the national meet, and will be the first appearances for Dolan and Johnson.
The championships will begin on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. with the team competition and all-around finals. The event will continue on Saturday with the individual event finals. Each gymnast will compete in their respective events on Friday night with the top 14 scores on Friday advancing to the event finals on Saturday afternoon.
Askham, a senior from Arvada, Colo., was the only Gustie gymnast to compete in the all-around competition this season. She qualified for the NCGA Championships with an average score of 35.547 with her best score of the year, 36.525, coming at the NCGA West Region Meet for an eighth place finish. Askham’s strongest event is floor exercise where she is averaging 9.069 this season and finished tied for sixth at the NCGA West Region meet with a score of 9.550. She made appearances at the national meet during her rookie and sophomore years in floor exercise.
Hansen, a senior from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., competed on the uneven bars and balance beam this season for Gustavus. She qualified for the NCGA Championships with a season average score of 8.964 on the balance beam. Hansen’s top score of the season was a 9.650 at the Best of Minnesota meet on February 14. Hansen is making her fourth appearance at the national meet as her first two appearances were on the uneven bars and her third appearance was on the balance beam.
Bell, a senior from Eden Prairie, Minn., competed on the vault and uneven bars this season. She qualified for the NCGA Championships with a season average score of 9.236 on the vault. Her top score of the season was a 9.475 in a dual meet against UW-Stout on February 19. This will be Bell’s second appearance at the national meet on this apparatus.
Dolan, a senior from Milroy, Minn., competed on the vault and floor exercise this season for the Gusties. Dolan qualified for the NCGA Championships with a season average of 8.871 on floor exercise and posted her season-best score of 9.500 at the NCGA West Region Meet on March 6. Dolan is making her first appearance at the national meet.
Johnson, a senior from Minneapolis, Minn., competed on the balance beam for Coach Kris Glidden this season. Johnson qualified for the NCGA Championships with an average score of 8.831 and a season-high score of 9.300 during the Gustavus Triangular on January 17. This will be Johnson’s first appearance at the national meet.