Feb. 15, 2014
By Ben Gotz, Student Assistant
FULL RESULTS: 0215 Minnesota @ Iowa
MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 6 Gophers men's gymnastics team increased its winning streak to five this weekend, defeating No. 10 Iowa and No.11 Nebraska on the road at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The Gophers scored a season high in overall points, with a score of 437.400 to Iowa's 433.050 and Nebraska's 418.150.
"We talked about coming into this meet and not just trying to win, but trying to dominate," head coach Mike Burns said. "In the end, I think we did have a dominating win. The guys just kept pushing through."
The Gophers posted their highest score of the season thanks in large part to shoring up their areas of weakness. The Gophers posted their highest scores of the season on pommel horse (72.600) and high bar (72.9) at Iowa, two of their weaker events at the beginning of the season.
"It's very satisfying when you see things fall into place like that," Coach Burns said. "And see the confidence being built while they're doing it."
The Gophers were led by a strong performance from their captain, junior Steve Jaciuk. Jaciuk won the parallel bars event with a score of 15.300 and tied for first in the still rings with a 14.850. Jackiuk also performed a "hat trick" by sticking every one of his three dismounts.
"He was in the zone today," Burns said. "It was a great performance."
The Gophers also had great performances on the floor exercise, where freshmen Zach Liebler scored a 15.250, and junior Sean Bauer scored a 15.500 to win the event. For Burns, it was just an example of Liebler's growth throughout his first season.
"We knew he was very talented when we recruited him," Burns said. "But today, he really put it all together."
Next week, most of the Gophers will take a week off from competition. Jaciuk and junior Ellis Mannon, however, will be headed to Las Vegas to compete in the Winter Cup. For the gymnasts still at the Sports Pavilion, the week will be spent practicing to perfect their routines.
"They're going to focus a little more on skill perfection than full routines," Burns said. "We may back off a little compared to a normal week of practice, but probably not drastically."
After the Winter Cup meet scoring switches from a "Six Up" to a "Five Up" system, meaning only five gymnasts will now compete in each event and every score will count.
"It gets a little more critical to stay up and hit your landings," Burns said.
After their break, the Gophers will compete next at Penn State on Mar. 1. The meet will begin at 7 p.m.
Meet Individual Event Champions:
Floor Exercise: Sean Bauer, Minnesota - 15.500
Pommel Horse: Doug Sullivan, Iowa - 15.250
Still Rings: Steve Jaciuk, Minnesota & Robbie Kocks, Nebraska - 14.850
Vault: Matt McGrath, Iowa - 15.100
Parallel Bars: Steve Jaciuk, Minnesota - 15.300
High Bar: Mitchell Landau, Iowa - 15.150
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