Gophers Finish on Top against Iowa & Nebraska

Go Gophers! Adam Kern
Go Gophers!
Adam Kern
Go Gophers!

Feb. 12, 2012

In last year's tri-meet against Iowa and Nebraska, the Gophers finished third out of the three competitors. But this season they did not let history repeat itself.

It wasn't Minnesota's strongest meet. They struggled with the last three events, allowing Nebraska and Iowa to close the scoring gap.

But the No. 6 Gophers pulled through and won the meet with a total score of 340.0. The 11th-ranked Cornhuskers finished in second with a 336.5, and No. 12 Iowa came in third at 334.5.

Despite the win, the Gophers did suffer a big loss. Junior Josh Wokurka tore his ACL on the floor exercise and is out for the season.

"It's pretty tough to lose a guy like that," head coach Mike Burns said. "He was a valuable asset to the team. It was hard on the rest of the guys, but we were able to stay strong enough to win the meet."

Minnesota either won or tied for first place on every event but the high bar.

Zack Chase had a standout performance for Minnesota. Chase finished first in each of his three events. The sophomore scored a 14.8 on the floor exercise, a 14.5 on rings, and a 14.7 on the vault.

Freshman Kyle Banks had a great night as well. He had the difficult job of following Wokurka on the floor after his injury, but Banks helped the Gophers bounce back with a 14.5.

He also filled in for Wokurka on the vault. It was his first time vaulting all year, but his 14.4 was the team's third-highest score. And his 14.3 on the high bar tied him for second overall on the event.

"He has really come out strong for us this year," Burns said. "He stepped in big tonight and did a great job."

The Gophers swept the top three spots on the pommel horse. Harris Coleman won the event with a14.6. Ellis Mannon finished in second and John Scallon in third.

Other notable performances included Russell Dabritz on the parallel bars, where he tied for first with a 14.8, and Steffen Beck, who tied for second place on the rings.

"Overall it was a decent meet for us," Burns said. "It wasn't our sharpest meet, but we were good enough to get the win. We were hoping to execute a little better, but we were pleased to get a victory over two teams on the road."

Minnesota beat Nebraska by three and half points and will have to face the Cornhuskers again at home next week.

"We still have to perform better if we want to achieve the goals we've set for ourselves this year," Burns said. "We'll be busy in the gym next week preparing for Nebraska."

-UM-