The Gophers gymnastics team is soaring into Friday's Big Five meet with an 8-1 overall record, while a constellation of upperclassmen is helping the freshmen grow brighter with each passing meet.

Leading the way, Mya Hooten has left fans in awe with her eight career perfect-10 performances on the floor. The senior standout has pushed the program to new heights while serving as a guiding light for new stars taking the air.

"There are freshmen in our lineups, and I want to be there to support them 100 percent of the time," Hooten said. "This year is different for me because last year, the seniors were doing that for me, and now I'm doing it for them."

Stillwater native Jordyn Lyden shot into the gymnastics scene and became a catalyst for the Gophers' routine. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week often performs on the bars as her main event but filled in for senior Katie Horak on the beam during Sunday's meet at Illinois.

In just her third appearance on the beam, Lyden posted a career-high 9.875 points, displaying her exceptional potential for the program's near future. Hooten complemented her by taking home her 11th event title of the season on the floor with a 9.975.

"I know when Jordyn goes out there that she's gonna hit her routine," Hooten said. "She just has that confidence, she trusts herself, she attacks everything, she's a beast out there."

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Minnesota is ranked No. 15 in the nation and tied for second in the Big Ten standings with Michigan (4-1), which handed the Gophers their only loss this season.

Lyden has been a coach's wish turned into reality. Gophers coach Jenny Hansen sees the freshman's dependability as an essential tool for the team's ability to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

"I look at Jordyn, and I think she's got potential to be competing in two events this year and more in the future," Hansen said.

Hansen added that it often takes time for freshmen to acclimate to a collegiate-level setting as they "do not quite understand until they live it."

For Lyden, her prove-it moment came during an earlier meet against Penn State.

She inspired the Gophers with her white-hot routine on the bars, tying a program-high 9.975 points for that event. The performance launched Minnesota to a season-best score of 197.525 and the win over PSU.

With true freshmen outnumbering seniors on the roster, seven to five, the veterans are helping prepare the newcomers for the future while helping them perform today.

"They really push me to become a better version of myself, and they help lead the team by example," Lyden said.

Seeing the similarities in competitiveness, Hooten stepped into her leadership role and took Lyden under her wing. The two have competed against each other at practice, improving themselves by attempting to outperform the other.

Along with Hooten, Lyden said senior Gianna Gerdes has been a quintessential leader on the team, citing Gerdes' emotional support whenever a routine fails to go her way and begins to weigh on her.

The impact the two seniors made on Lyden helped grow her appreciation for the leadership role.

"I'm trying to keep becoming a leader myself, and when they leave, I'll fill their spots," Lyden said.