We’re already three weeks into the collegiate gymnastics season, and the Denver Pioneers are off to a great start. The team started the season off with a win at home on January 8th, followed by two second-place finishes on January 13th and 20th. Their fourth meet will be the best competition we’ll see in Magness in the regular season this year as the #1 Oklahoma Sooners travel to Denver for a meet this Sunday, January 29th.
Let's BLACKOUT Magness Arena!
Fans are encouraged to wear black to Sunday's meet!
Limited tickets remain: https://t.co/uPdQsb5RmD#GoPios | #NCAAGym pic.twitter.com/Ncqua568nU
— Denver Gymnastics (@DU_Gymnastics) January 25, 2023
Prepping for the second home meet of the season, I’ve got a few notes about fan experience. How awesome is it that all the gymnastics meets are in Magness this year? Really great!
What’s not great is that DU is now charging for parking for gymnastics meets. Also instead of cheerleaders, we got a couple of guys with DU flags draped around their shoulders and DU headbands, walking around the floor, looking clueless, trying to hype the crowd. These guys look like they belong at a football tailgate, crushing beer cans on their foreheads. The student section did a better job of hyping the crowd. Sorry if these two guys are reading this, I’m sure you tried, but can we please do something about this situation before the best gymnastics team in the country thinks DU fan experience is the amateur hour?
About the gymnastics, we’ve seen from DU athletes thus far, not too shabby. Denver is averaging in the top 10 in the nation as a team right now. In the first meet at home on January 8th, they seemed almost sluggish and had mistakes and missteps on every event. But even with that, we saw flashes of excellence and their team score was nearly tied for the highest season opener by a Pioneer team ever. On vault, DU has made strides to increase start values and stick landings, both of which plagued the team last year. In fact, the improvements were so great that in the second meet on 1/13, the team achieved a DU all-time record for the highest team vault score. Five Pios have hit career-high vault scores already this year.
Notably missing in many lineups is Graduate Student, Lynnzee Brown. Brown has competed only on bars and beam thus far in 2023. She suffered her second Achilles tear early last season and was granted an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA. She is in her 6th year at DU and has been a standout All-Around athlete and was NCAA floor champion in 2019. Her bars performances this year seem to lack the amplitude we’ve seen from her in previous years. She looks like she is still recovering from her injury or possibly not fully back in competition shape. Still, on beam she is solid and clean. I’m not sure if she’ll return to the vault and floor or what head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart has planned for Lynnzee. We can only hope that she’s still shaking off cobwebs and will make a full return.
Looking forward to this weekend’s competition, it’ll be the Pioneer’s first dual meet; a head-to-head competition against the reigning NCAA champions. Three weeks in, the Sooners’ team average score is nearly a full point higher than Denver’s. A point in gymnastics is huge. All six spots in the Sooners’ vault lineup have 10.0 start values, whereas Denver has only 3 (the other 3 have 9.9 start values). The other big difference is stuck landings on all 4 events and flawless execution. For gymnastics fans, the Sooners will certainly put on a show in Magness. For Denver, the team just has to keep plugging away, hit six routines on every event, and chip away at deductions by sticking more landings. Also, fans, remember to bring cash for parking.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics
2 thoughts on “Denver Gymnastics to face Oklahoma Sooners Sunday at Magness Arena”
Good article, and good luck to DU!!!
Very good report catching us up. I’d love to know if Lynnzee is doing floor routines in practice. OU should bring out our best. I expect we’ll rise to a 7-8 ranking when the next polls are released.