Jan. 12, 2013
The streak continues.
The Minnesota men’s gymnastics team hosted its annual Alumni Meet this evening and once again the alumni were triumphant. The former Gophers beat the current Gophers 426.000 – 409.200 to extend its win streak in the meet to 46 straight years.
“The alumni were having a great time,” said a smiling Minnesota head coach Mike Burns. “As every event went by, they were pulling away from us. The alumni came out and they were well represented. It was good to see all of them.”
The highlight of the match for the alumni was Reid Gysland’s performance on the high bar. The 1979 graduate, who has competed in every alumni meet since his collegiate days, wowed the crowd with a 14.800 score on the high bar.
“Reid coaches a club in the Twin Cities area and a lot of his gymnasts were here cheering him on,” said Burns. “He hit that pirouette and he almost did not make it over. He fought, fought, fought and he finally made it over. That was just another example of great fight from a Gopher tonight. It is just great to see him out there and I hope he is able to walk tomorrow.”
Burns enjoyed the routine and also took pride in the grit his varsity squad showed in its final tune-up before the season begins next weekend at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago.
“We got some work to do,” said Burns. “We are not ready for primetime yet. It was good to get out there and see where we are and see where the weak spots are and where the strong spots are. It was our first meet of the season, so you expect some rough spots and we had them.
“We had a fair number of misses tonight, but I thought I saw a lot of good gymnastics. It was not quite polished, but overall it was good gymnastics.”
The Gophers have been together for a week since returning from the holiday break, and Burns said he saw great improvement from last week to this week. He expects the same improvement over the next week as the team prepares for its first official meet.
“A lot of it right now with the guys is mental preparation,” said Burns. “Physically, we are still getting back into shape from break over Christmas. That takes a little bit of time.”
Burns was pleased with the performance of sophomore Ellis Mannon, who was awarded with the Louis J. Cooke award for his performance on the pommel horse. Mannon tied for the second highest score for the Gophers on the night with a 14.800 on the pommel horse, trailing only Adam Kern’s 14.900 on the rings. Louis J. Cooke started the men’s gymnastics program at Minnesota in 1903 and an award given in his honor is presented to a top performer every meet.
“Ellis did a phenomenal job and he had been struggling recently,” said Burns. “I am sure he came into tonight’s meet not feeling completely ready, but he dug down and fought hard. I was really impressed and liked what I saw.”
Burns was also pleased with junior Matt Frey’s performance on the floor exercise (14.700), vault (14.800) and parallel bars (14.200).
“Matt had some issues last year that he struggled with,” said Burns. “I thought he did a great a great job for us tonight.”
The alumni had fun and extended their winning streak, while the varsity gained valuable meet experience before heading to Chicago next week. However, the most important thing is everyone left the competition unscathed.
“We came out pretty healthy tonight,” said Burns. “A couple of guys tweaked a few things, so we need to make sure we get into the training room and get ice on things and be ready to go. Now it is all about getting mentally prepared and getting ready to do 36 routines and hit as many as we can.”