Joesphine Kogler sprinted down the runway and jumped onto the vault table. The junior twisted into a Yurchenko full that soared high and kept solid form. Kogler spotted the mat and landed with only a slight hop, earning a 9.825.
Assisting Kogler, Natalie Martin also posted a 9.825 on the vault after powering into a one and a half. The freshman took a step back on her landing but tied Maryland gymnastics’ highest score on the event Saturday evening.
Taylor Rech, Olivia Weir and Alexa Rothenbuescher each added a 9.750 to the total.
“It’s such a tough environment,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “For them to handle themselves after an uncharacteristic bars… and put up six great vaults, I was really impressed with them.”
On the other end, Minnesota’s Maya Hooten, the Terps’ biggest threat, flipped off the table into a one and a half. Hooten maintained tight legs and straight lines, eventually sticking the landing. She tallied a 9.950 after averaging 9.867 on vault.
Maryland, who entered Saturday ranked 31st on vault nationally, scored a 48.900 after the full rotation. Minnesota, the 28th best vault team nationally prior to the meet, earned a 49.275.
No. 21 Maryland traveled to No. 17 Minnesota for the team’s first road competition of 2024. Led by Hooten, the Golden Gophers soared past the Terps 196.725- 195.600.
First road meet jitters were the cause of Maryland’s mistakes, Nelligan said.
“They have a great environment in Minnesota,” he said. “Fans were loud and the energy was incredible, but that can be a tough environment if you’re not used to it.”
Victoria Gatzendorfer leaped onto the low bar and floated up to the high bar. She swung back down to the low bar and precisely made her way back up to the high bar. The junior squeezed her legs tightly in her handstands, giving her confidence to a double back tuck dismount and scored a 9.800.
Sierra Kondo, a consistent bars leader, earned a 9.850 on the event, her highest score of the season. But the Terps (2-1, 1-1 Big Ten) totaled 49.625 on the event, their worst bars score of the year.
Maryland transitioned to the floor for its third rotation. Nelligan added senior Tayler Osterhout to the lineup and replaced Emma Silberman. Osterhout, making her season debut, earned a 9.750 after finishing her routine with a controlled double back pike.
Leading the floor rotation, Rothenbuescher opened her routine with a whip to double back tuck and stuck the landing. She powerfully shifted into her dance elements and leap series, remaining consistent throughout the full 90 seconds. Rothenbuescher finished high, tightly keeping her feet and legs together in a double back pike.
Both Osterhout and Rothenbuescher’s scores, with the help of Rhea Leblanc’s 9.825 and Maddie Komoroski’s 9.800, gave Maryland a 49.050 on floor.
Silberman, the Terps’ go-to all-arounder, only competed in two events. The graduate student posted a 9.650 on the uneven bars and 9.750 on the beam. Nelligan said he’s expecting her to be back in the lineup going forward.
“She was having some kind of unusual warm up for her,” he said. “We pulled her out of those events just as a caution.”
Maryland closed out the evening on beam. Nelligan’s team entered the meet ranked No. 8 nationally in the event and first in the Big Ten.
Komoroski stepped up to the beam and kicked off her routine with a one arm back handspring into back layout. The sophomore’s focus and confidence allowed her to land straight on the four inch beam. She transitioned into a high leap sequence and maintained power through the air. Komoroski ended with a one and a half and a slight step forward to earn a 9.850.
Kogler and Martin also contributed a 9.750 and a 9.850 to end the Terps’ performance with a 49.025.
“I told them at the end, it’s like all the mistakes we made were just first meet jitter errors,” Nelligan said. “This meet will actually benefit us a lot in order to improve because of tonight.”