Nearly one year ago on Feb. 16, Gophers gymnast Ivy Lu achieved perfection.
Lu wrote her name in the Gophers' record book that day as the second gymnast in program history to hit a perfect score on the balance beam.
"It was my first year competing on beam, so honestly I didn't really have any expectations. I just wanted to go out there and compete the way I practice at the gym," Lu said. "I remember that day warmups were going really well and I just hit that routine and hit every single skill perfectly. Once I landed my dismount, I didn't think I was going to get a perfect 10."
Fast forward a year later and Lu has her eyes set on rarefied air once more, this time on a new event, the uneven parallel bars. Lu, a junior, is already tied for the highest score in Gopher history on the uneven parallel bars with a 9.975. A 10 would put her atop the record books as the only gymnast in the team's history to hit a perfect score on bars.
"I was really close last year, two weeks in a row. That was for sure my goal last year," Lu said. "But I still have half a season this year and all of the next season, so getting that 10 on bars is my ultimate goal."
Head coach Jenny Hansen said she's seen a shift in Lu this season. "I see a difference in her this year where she feels she can hit almost every time she goes," said Hansen. She added that Lu strives for perfection.
This season, Lu has already flirted with the score, finishing with scores of 9.950, 9.900, 9.875 and 9.850 in Big Ten competition. She's also ranked as the 15th-best gymnast on the uneven parallel bars in the country.
"Overall, I have a pretty packed routine. It's really hard to hit every single handstand and stick every landing," Lu said. "Then it really depends on ... the judges, so I can't really control the scoring. I can just only control how well I do."
Lu, a Montreal native, had a unique transition to the team when she arrived as a freshman, adjusting not only to college gymnastics but also to English. Lu is trilingual, speaking English, Mandarin Chinese and French. When competing as an amateur, all of the technical language was taught in French, so she had to relearn it in English.
"I remember my first year was really hard because all the technical stuff was all in French for me back in club. So learning all that was a long process, but with experience and time it is all good now," Lu said.
With two seasons under her belt, Lu has began to transition into a leader for her team.
"I just try to lead by example and share my own experiences [with the other gymnasts]," Lu said.
The women's team faced off against Nebraska on Saturday in Lincoln and came away victorious, winning 196.600-196.375.
Lexy Ramler continued to lead the way for the Gophers, finishing first on beam scoring 9.900. She also tied for first on vault with a 9.875.
The teams leading scorer on the floor exercise, Paige Williams, continued to dominate for Minnesota, finishing tied for first in the event with a score of 9.900.
The team will hit the mats again on Friday at home against Maryland on cancer awareness night.