DENVER -- The bass ricocheted off the walls. The music provided a soundtrack and a message. In "Lose Yourself," Eminem asks as the athletes stretched for Wednesday's practice, "If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment would you capture it or just let it slip?"
The Denver University women's gymnastics team began the season with a lean roster, competing with a minimum number of five competitors on multiple exercises. Rather than form a backdrop for excuses, it shaped the group mentally.
"We are thriving on adversity. We have really adopted the slogan of being 'All In,' " said senior Leah Lomonte.
The Pioneers (11-4 overall) host Minnesota (5-3) Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hamilton Gymnasium. Denver is ranked 11th nationally with a 196.161 season scoring average. They own top 20 spots in all events -- No. 11 bars, No. 12 on floor, No. 13 on beam and 20th on vault.
The team blends the senior leadership of Lomonte and Julia Ross with junior standout Nikole Addison and freshman sensation Maddie Karr (pictured above). Karr ranks 12th nationally in the all-around. She posted the fourth highest all-around score in DU history against Boise State, earning Big 12 Conference Gymnast of the Week.
The Pioneers topped Minnesota on the road on Jan. 7.
"I think (the fans who attend) will see not just a gymnastics meet, but a show in and of itself. The artistry to it, the beauty to it, the power to it, our team is really built to perform," Ross said. "It's almost magic because the energy and the atmosphere are so great."