Photo: Courtesy denverpioneers.com
At LetsGoDU we have speculated for years about which DU women’s athletic team will be the first to win a Division I NCAA national team championship. DU women’s gymnastics (#9 – CGA) gets a crack at an NCAA team title in St Louis, Missouri beginning this Friday.
The first goal will be challenging – score enough points to move into the Super 6 on Saturday (see details below). Second, finish ahead of Utah in their section – the number one regular season seed in the Pioneer’s regular season region and take the step of becoming the premier gymnastics power in the Mountain West. Utah has been to 19 Super 6’s while DU has never made the final cut to six finalists. And, third, can DU crack the Super 6 to achieve a level never achieved by any prior Denver gymnastics squad?
Achieve any of these three and Denver gymnastics makes history. A national team championship may be unlikely but this is a critical first step in building national credibility and join the conversation.
Bracket & schedule below:
There is no doubt that the top seeds will have the advantage and reputation on their side. DU on the other hand, behind head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart, has joined the conversation – moving from somewhat of a novelty with some outstanding individual performers to a deep team and a force to be reckoned with on the national stage.
And the competition is full of gymnastic program blue bloods who have made the Super 6 a number of times – Alabama (22), Georgia (20), UCLA (19), Florida (14), and Nebraska (10) to name a few of the more prominent programs. DU, representing the Big 12, is the only private school standing in the team competition. The qualifying order from all the national qualifying regionals is shown below:
While Freshman Maddie Karr, North Central Gymnast of the Year, gets most of the ink for the Pioneers, there is plenty of depth on this year’s squad. Karr enters the NCAA Championships on Friday in St. Louis ranked 10th in the all-around and sixth on vault. At regionals, senior Rachel Fielitz on vault and sophomore Diana Chesnok on bars joined Karr on beam to win regional event titles.
DU’s Fayetteville, Arkansas Regional results below:
DU’s NCAA Championship Semifinal Event 1 takes place 11:00 MT on Friday with the top 3 teams in each section advancing to Saturday. Follow @letsgodu on twitter for breaking news during the day.
PioNation will be watching.