Feb. 23, 2014
LAS VEGAS – Gopher junior Ellis Mannon finished in second place on pommel horse at the Winter Cup, a significant accomplishment considering some of his competitors will soon be representing the U.S. in international competition.
Mannon and teammate Steve Jaciuk competed in the annual Winter Cup this weekend, a competition put on by USA Gymnastics in Las Vegas to help determine the men who will comprise the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team.
“It was good for these guys to be on the national stage with the top guys in the country and know they belonged,” Gophers head coach Mike Burns said. “They were strong and represented the Gophers well.”
Mannon had the second highest total score on pommel horse over the weekend with a 28.250. His performance Saturday night, which earned him a score of 14.500, was the best pommel horse score of the weekend.
“That’s quite an accomplishment at this meet,” Burns said. “It was great to have him do so well and bring home some hardware.”
Mannon also competed in the other five events at the Winter Cup, and over two days of competition he earned a combined score of 161.900, which ranked him 19th overall at the meet.
Jaciuk advanced to the final round of the Winter Cup with Mannon, competing in the still rings, parallel bars and floor exercise.
According to Burns, Jaciuk tried to step up his game by attempting a new skill on his high bar routine during the finals. Unfortunately the skill did not go as planned and Jaciuk scored lower than he did in the preliminary round, but he still managed to stick his dismount.
“He’s had a love-hate relationship with that skill,” Burns said. “He just missed the bar.”
Over the two days of competition, Jaciuk earned an overall score of 82.800, ranking him 33rd among the competing gymnasts.
The two gymnasts will now head home to join the rest of the No. 5 Gophers as they prepare for the last few weeks of the regular season. The two Gophers will be bringing home some lessons from the Winter Cup with them as well.
“I think that what they should take away from this is that they can hang with anyone,” Burns said. “I think they walked away with some confidence and that’s huge the rest of the season.”
The Gophers’ next meet is at Penn State on Saturday, March 1. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. CT.
The meet will provide a very interesting match-up on pommel horse, as the gymnast that finished first on the event at the Winter Cup, Craig Hernandez, happens to compete for Penn State. Might a little revenge be in order?
“Maybe Ellis will get him this time,” Burns said.
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