Gymnastics Kicks Off 2017 Season Saturday At UW-Oshkosh

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – After taking a step forward last season, the Gustavus gymnastics team looks to keep improving this year with a veteran group as the 2017 campaign begins Saturday at UW-Oshkosh. Head Coach Aryn DeGrood enters her third season at the helm and returns 15 letterwinners to this season’s squad, which she feels has a lot of potential.

“This team is more experienced than last year and a lot of the lineups haven’t changed much,” DeGrood said. “There are not a lot of fresh faces in the lineup. It helps a lot to basically have the whole team back from last year. I am hoping they will use that experience to stay calm at the beginning of the season instead of working out the nerves.”

This season’s captains bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. The 2017 Gusties are captained by seniors Lauren Kershner (Marine, Ill.), Alex Kopp (Wayzata, Minn.), Jaimie Niedermayer (New Prague, Minn.), and Jessica Niedermayer (New Prague, Minn.). Kopp is the team’s top scorer from last season as the defending national floor champion and All-American in the all-around and vault. Kershner returns as a specialist on the bars, beam, and floor. Jaimie Niedermayer competed mostly on floor last season, while Jessica Niedermayer competed on the bars and beam.

“It’s pretty obvious what Alex brings to the table as the defending national floor champ and three-time All-American,” DeGrood said. “She brings a lot of talent and mental toughness. The other three bring the work ethic and the heart. They all combine to make this super human that is a phenomenal leader, gymnast, and teammate. They communicate well with the team and they get everyone involved. They have a lot of ownership over the team this year, which is something different than in the past. That helps a lot because they are all on the same page and that helps me as a coach.”

Coach DeGrood also mentioned this year’s squad is very team oriented. The Gusties lost only two seniors to graduation last year and welcome six first-years to a roster of 21 gymnasts. Last season the Gusties took eighth place at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet with a score of 184.475, which is the second highest team score in program history. That number is a mark the Gusties are hoping to improve on this season.

“The team has set their own goals and a lot of it revolves around being a team and staying focused on being together,” DeGrood said. “We don’t want anything to drag anybody down. The end goal is to finish in the top six at regionals. I think we can accomplish more than that because we only lost one scorer from last year. We are starting off strong and have a good base, and if we can start where we left off last year, I think we can accomplish some big things.”

The season opener at UW-Oshkosh tomorrow begins at 2 p.m. The Gusties travel to Winona State next Friday before hosting the home opener against UW-Whitewater on Jan. 21.

2017 ROSTER | 2017 SCHEDULE | 2016 STATS

 

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