The new look Gustavus Adolphus gymnastics team is filled with a great deal of optimism as it is set to embark on the 2010 season. This year’s team will need to fill the vacancies created by the graduation of 10 seniors from last year’s squad. Last year’s team concluded the 2008-09 season with a sixth place finish at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships. Kelly Mathewson will look to lead this young and inexperienced squad as the 2010 Gustavus gymnastics team returns 11 letterwinners and welcomes nine first year gymnasts to the program.
Junior Kelly Mathewson (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo) has emerged as the leader of this young Gustavus team. Mathewson has made a full recovery from a knee injury that limited her to competing only on the bars last season. She was named team captain and is the top returning Gustie in the all-around. The Gusties will be without seniors, Christina Sorensen (Worthington, Minn./Worthington) and Laurel Urquhart (Great Falls, Mont./Great Falls High), for the month of January, as they both will be traveling over seas. Upon their return, Urquhart will add depth on the bars and balance beam, and Sorensen will look to contribute on the vault and balance beam.
Other top retruners are juniors Lindsay Smithson (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) on the vault and bars, Katie Mehrmann (Tai Tam, Hong Kong/Hong Kong International School) on the vault and beam, Maren Lodge (Coon Rapids, Minn./Coon Rapids) on the balance beam and floor, Breann Moore (Wendell, N.C./William G. Enloe) on the vault and bars, Kelsey Stafford (Ramsey, Minn/Anoka) on the balance beam and floor, Alina Stevenson (North Bend Ore., North Bend) on the vault and floor, and Amanda Woodhull (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) on the balance beam and vault.
Although the team is much younger and less experienced, Coach Glidden says the returning juniors and seniors have shown strong leadership and this group of first year competitors is hard working and willing to learn. “The environment in the gym has been quieter, more serious and more focused,” says Glidden. “We have worked hard on new skills in the early months of practice and are now ready to move to the real world.” Glidden believes that staying healthy will be key to the success of the team this season. The Gusties currently have nine all-around gymnasts on the roster, seven of which are new to the program. The first year gymnasts in the all-around include Amanda Christensen (Albany, Minn./Albany), Tiffany Etterman (East Gull Lake, Minn./Brainerd), Samantha Opsahl (Forest Lake, Minn./Forest Lake), Kristeen Patsche (Welcome, Minn./Martin Co West), Danielle Thibodeau (Rochester, Minn./Century), Shelby Winzent (Golden, Colo./Wheat Ridge), and Baily Zeinert (Oshkosh, Wisc./Oshkosh West).
Coach Glidden’s expectations this season are to get better every week and to improve individual scores every meet. Gustavus has been selected to host the WIAC Championships on March 7, and Coach Glidden expects the Gusties to peak at that point and finish in the top three at that meet. “The goal is to find our best six competitors by that time,” said Glidden. “We want to perform well in front of our home crowd and make the last meet of the season our best.”
The Gustavus gymnastics team will open the season with a dual meet at home against UW-Oshkosh this Saturday, January 16, at 6:00 p.m.