The Denver gymnastics team had a tough draw at the NCAA Regional in Minneapolis, Minnesota Saturday. Trying to earn a return trip to nationals, the Pioneers faced a steep climb. Placed in the same bracket as powerhouse #1 Oklahoma, the remaining five teams battled it out for the only remaining auto-bid to advance to NCAA Nationals in St. Louis. As a third seed, DU was unable to slip past the number two seed, Kentucky, to advance to NCAA Nationals. All this, despite scoring one of their highest team scores ever at an NCAA Regional competition – their 19th consecutive trip.
The bright spot for Denver was Freshman Lynnzee Brown in the all-around. She earned a bid to compete at Nationals. The biggest surprise for Denver was sophomore sensation Maddie Karr who failed to advance in any of the events. Competing in front of her hometown family and friends from Stillwater, Minnesota she was certainly expecting better. Karr became the first DU gymnast to finish the regular season nationally-ranked on all four events (beam, floor. bars, vault) and the all-around, and finished with four regular season All-American nods. Heading into NCAA Regional, she was the 5th ranked gymnast in the country.
The Pioneers battled the injury bug all season, but continued to perform at a superior level under head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart. With a young squad, another year of experience, and good health, expect continued great things from DU women’s gymnastics in the future.
Lynnzee Brown will be representing the University of Denver April 20th-21st at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.