April 5, 2013
The University of Minnesota men's gymnastics team turned in a strong performance at the Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships on Friday night. The host Gophers tallied a 430.350 to finish third among the seven competing teams in the team competition. It was the first time the Gophers finished on the podium since they placed third in 2007.
Michigan won the conference crown with a score of 438.900, while Wolverine Olympian Sam Mikulak took home top individual honors on the all-around with a score of 89.850
The event resumes tomorrow with individual event championships. Competition begins at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota advanced seven gymnasts to the individual finals, led by Steve Jaciuk who placed first on the high bar on Friday with a 15.150 and also qualified for still rings on Saturday.
The Gophers began Friday night on the vault and scored a 72.700, which placed them in fifth place after the first rotation. Minnesota, which was competing without 2011 Big Ten vault champion Zack Chase, notched five scores of 14.300 or better and three scores of 14.600 or better. Adam Kern recorded a 14.650, while Sean Bauer and Ellis Mannon each notched a 14.600.
Minnesota moved to the parallel bars where it was led by Matt Frey. The junior tallied a 14.700 (season-high this year was a 14.750) as Minnesota placed fourth in the event with a 71.450. The score was their third highest team score of the year on the event.
The third rotation of the night for the Gophers was the high bar. Steve Jaciuk, who is ranked No. 3 in the country, electrified the crowd with a meet-best 15.150. The Gophers finished the event with a 71.100 (third highest score of the year) to place first. Minnesota also sent Daniel DiBenedetto to the event finals as he finished fourth after recording a 14.700.
After the high bar, Minnesota moved to the floor exercise where it registered its second-best score since mid-February with a 72.150. Minnesota was led on the floor exercise by Matt Frey who tallied a 15.000.
The Gophers had a bye before competing on the pommel horse. Minnesota posted a 68.800 on the pommel horse, which was the third-best team score of the night. The Maroon and Gold advanced No. 3 Ellis Mannon (second with a 14.850) and Harris Coleman (14.100) to the event finals on Saturday.
Minnesota closed the event with a sparkling performance on the still rings. The Gophers team score of 74.150 allowed them to finish second in the event and also moved them from fifth in the overall meet to third, securing a podium finish. Steve Jaciuk and Jack Metcalf both tied for third on the event with a 15.150 to advance to Saturday's finals.
Shashank's Redemption: Journey to Most Improved
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Alex Wittenberg was chosen as the student-athlete representative for the 2016 Men's Gymnastics NCAA Championships.
Gophers Finish Sixth at NCAA Championships
Minnesota tallied four All-America finishes and its best team finish in nine years.