Tradition of Excellence: 1985 Gymnastics Wins Division III National Championship

Posted on March 19th, 2020 by

In the absence of sports for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Gustavus sports information will provide a series of stories to take a look back at great moments in Golden Gustie athletics history, celebrating its proud tradition of excellence.

Previous “Tradition of Excellence” stories:

1987 Men’s Basketball Wins MIAC Playoffs 

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March 2, 1985

Gymnastics Wins NCGA Division III National Championship

By Tim Kennedy, Gustavus Sports Information Intern

The Gustavus women’s gymnastics team got off to a slow start at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association National Championships in Superior, Wisconsin, but some clutch performances by returning All-Americans Karen Ahlstrom (Jr., Franklin, WI) and Kim McNeal (So., Minnetonka) gave the Gusties the come-from-behind victory. Gustavus finished with a total of 135.05 to outdistance UW-La Crosse with 132.15 and Hamline which totaled 130.8.

With the Gusties trailing by two full points after two of the four events, it looked like the team was going to have trouble defending its title; however, Ahlstrom scored a 9.15 and McNeal a 9.0 in the floor to put the team back into contention with the vault competition left. In the vault, it was NcNeal’s turn to take the top spot as she recorded a 9.15, while Ahlstrom followed with a 8.9 which gave the Gusties the winning edge.

To top off the evening Ahlstrom put together a total of 34.5 in the all-around competition to capture the national title edging out defending champion Ann Kelly of Hamline. Ahlstrom finished the meet by winning the floor exercise competition, taking second in the uneven bars and picking up third place in both the beam and vault.

While Ahlstrom was leading the way for the Gusties four of her teammates joined her in the winner’s circle as McNeal, Tari Gould (Sr., Fairmont), Tina Pulido (So., Fergus Falls) and Amy Mickelson (So., Mankato/West) all gained All-America status by finishing in the top six of at least on individual event. Ahlstrom was named All-America in the all-around as well as each individual event, McNeal in the vault (1st) and floor exercise (3rd), Gould in floor exercise (2nd), Pulido in the vault (3rd), and Mickelson in the uneven bars with a 4th place finish.

The Gusties will now have two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Division II Regional Championships which will be held at Gustavus. Gustavus will be competing against Division II schools from the Central region which will include defending central region champ Winona State, Southwest Texas State, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Northern Colorado and Hamline University. The winner of the meet will automatically qualify for the national meet to be held at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Central Region meet will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 in the Lund Center Forum at Gustavus.

 

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