March 11, 2012
The Gopher men’s gymnastics team posted a total score of 346.9 in a tri-meet held at the University of Nebraska today. It is Minnesota’s second highest point total of the season.
Despite missing their season-high by just a tenth of a point, the Gophers finished the competition in second place. The third-ranked Illini posted a score of 353.65 to win the meet, while Nebraska scored 344.7 to finish in third.
The Gophers had a rocky start on their first three events, missing six out of their 18 routines.
“We had a rough first half of the meet,” head coach Mike Burns said. “We’d have a couple of good routines, and then a miss, then one or two more good routines, followed by another miss. It made it really hard for us to build any momentum.”
The biggest struggles came on the pommel horse, which was Minnesota’s first event of the afternoon. John Scallon and Steffen Beck offered some bright spots for the Gophers, though, scoring 14.3 and 14.0, respectively.
On the still rings the team was led by senior Russell Dabritz. Dabritz scored a 15.1 and finished in second on the event. Steffen Beck also performed, scoring a 14.45.
The third event, the floor exercise, presented the Gophers with some more difficulties. They hit only about 50% of their routines. Freshman Sean Bauer posted a 14.8 and was the team’s top scorer on the event.
After a shaky and inconsistent start, Minnesota was able to turn things around on the last three events. The Gophers only missed one routine in their final 18 performances and closed out the meet on a high note.
“The first and second halves were like completely different competitions for us,” Burns said. “It was encouraging that we were able to overcome our initial mistakes and finish strong, but we have to get out of the blocks a lot quicker.”
On the parallel bars the team tallied a new season-high score of 59.1. Russell Dabritz finished in first with a personal best of 15.45. His score is one of the highest scores in the country on the event. Freshman Steve Jaciuk posted a personal best of 14.85.
Dabritz was also Minnesota’s top scorer on the high bar. He hit a personal best of 14.65, earning him third place. Jaciuk had a solid high bar performance as well, scoring a 14.5. The Gophers hit five of their six high bar routines, including four stuck dismounts.
The team finished the meet strong on vault. Keeping up with the momentum from their previous two events, the Gophers hit all six of their vaults. Zack Chase was the leading scorer. His 15.25 put him in second place overall on the event. DJ Repp, Adam LaFleur, and Adam Kern all scored above a 14.7.
“Overall it was a good meet but not as good as we’d like to be at this point in the season,” Burns said. “Our first priority will be getting in the gym and figuring out how to hit our pommel horse routines better. If we hit that event I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”