Jan. 6, 2012
The 2012 Gopher gymnastics season is officially underway.
The team held its final dress rehearsal as they hosted former Gopher alumni gymnasts in the annual Alumni competition Friday night.
The alumni kept their winning tradition alive and came out on top for the 45th consecutive year. They beat the current Minnesota varsity team 341.8-335.4.
“It was great to see all those guys back in the gym,” head coach Mike Burns said. “The judges were mighty friendly to the alumni as always, but they managed to beat our varsity guys for the 45th year in a row.”
The meet provided the coaches and current team members with a final chance for routine tune-ups and lineup modifications. It also gave the athletes the opportunity to get some nerves out of the way and compete in front of a larger crowd.
“We had some struggles out there, but I’m glad we do this meet a week before the real season begins,” Burns said. “We have some kinks to work out this next week but nothing that can’t be solved.”
The team fought through a couple mistakes but also left the gym with some solid performances.
Ellis Mannon and Russell Dabritz were the top varsity performers on the pommel horse. Dabritz also led the team on the still rings with a score of 14.1 as well as the parallel bars, where he scored a team-high 14.0.
“We have this first experience under our belt now,” Burns said. “I’m expecting a big improvement next weekend.”
The Golden Gophers open the regular season next weekend at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago.
Preview: Gophers set for quad at Stanford
Minnesota will travel this weekend to compete against Stanford, and the National Teams from both Japan and Canada.
Day Two: Winter Cup Challenge
Stephens finished 23rd in the all-around competition, while alum Mannon finished fifth on pommel horse. Incoming freshman Wiskus also competed in the all-around finals, finishing 12th.
Day One: Winter Cup Challenge
Stephens, Wiskus, Mannon advance to the 2017 Winter Cup Challenge finals this Saturday, Feb. 18. in Las Vegas, Nev.