Gophers defeat Iowa, Brockport on Senior Night

Go Gophers! Zack Chase was one of eight seniors honored during Saturday's meet.
Go Gophers!
Zack Chase was one of eight seniors honored during Saturday's meet.
Go Gophers!

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March 8, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers men's gymnastics team won their final home meet of the season Saturday night, defeating Iowa and Brockport by a final score of 427.750 to 426.450 and 184.700, respectively.

The Gophers honored eight departing gymnasts after the meet was over: Steffen Beck, Zack Chase, Nathan Fortunato, Matt Frey, Adam Kern, Justin Morinishi, John Scallon and Sam Wright.

"We're losing a lot of leadership and a lot of talent," Gophers head coach Mike Burns said. "To send them off on their last home meet, it's kind of emotional."

The group collectively was given the meet's Louis J. Cooke award for their contributions to the Gopher's gymnastics program.

The Gophers were ahead after the first rotation, and they managed to hold the lead throughout the meet despite Iowa pulling close near the end.

"They put up a good fight," Burns said. "It was a little nerve-wracking, but the guys hung on."

The Gophers took home three event titles in the meet, winning the floor exercise, pommel horse and parallel bars.

The Gophers also won three individual titles, with junior Ellis Mannon taking at least a share of all of them.  Mannon won the pommel horse and parallel bars with scores of 14.750 and 14.700, respectively. Mannon also tied for the high bar title with teammate sophomore Daniel DiBenedetto and Hawkeye gymnast Cyrus Dobre-Mofid with a score of 14.600.

"He really put it together tonight," Burns said. "He was in the zone."

The Gophers will continue to try to improve their hit percentage next week, as the team is still adjusting to the "five up, five count" method of scoring, where teams are not allowed to discount one score per event.

"The pressure is higher, but that's what makes it fun," Burns said. "You just have to keep the deductions as low as possible."

The attendance for the meet at the Sports Pavilion was 815. Burns mentioned how appreciative he is for the support the fans have given his team at home all year.

"Their energy shoots you through the roof," Burns said. "We have great fans here."

Next up, the Gophers will travel to Nebraska next Saturday for their final home meet of the season. The meet will also feature Iowa, Air Force and Illinois. The meet will take place at 4 p.m. CT.

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