Gophers Finish Fourth at Big Tens, Send Six Gymnasts to Event Finals

Go Gophers!
Adam Kern

Go Gophers!
Adam Kern
Go Gophers!

April 7, 2012

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The Gopher men's gymnastics team came in fourth place out of seven at the Big Ten Championships on Friday night. Minnesota finished with a total score of 345.80. The Fighting Illini won the meet with a score of 352.95 and were crowned champions for the fourth consecutive year. Second place went to Michigan with a 351.80, and Penn State took home third with a score of 350.00.

Minnesota started the night out strong, scoring a 58.50 on the still rings to open the meet. Senior Russell Dabritz led the team with a 15.2 and finished in fourth place overall.

The momentum continued on vault as the Gophers reached their highest event score of the evening with a 59.15. Adam Kern's outstanding performance earned him a 15.1 and tied him fourth place. Defending Big Ten vault champ Zack Chase finished tied for eighth with a 15.0.

"Kern had the best vault of his career tonight," head coach Mike Burns said. "It was really perfect timing for it, and it helped our team build a lot of excitement."

Russell Dabritz was once again the top scorer for Minnesota on the parallel bars. His final score of 15.15 put him in second place overall on the event, which was Minnesota's highest finish of the night.

The Gophers brought home another top-three finisher on their next event, the high bar. Freshman Steve Jaciuk posted a 14.7 to secure third place.

Kyle Banks was the team's leading scorer on the floor exercise. He finished in fifth overall with a 15.05. Teammate Harris Coleman finished in eighth with a 14.7.

Despite strong performances on their first five events, the Gophers struggled during their last rotation on pommel horse and were unable to break into the top three.

"It was a rough finish to a pretty good night otherwise," Burns said. "We finished the meet on pommel horse, but the pommel horse kind of finished us off instead. We were hoping to knock into the top three today, so it was a little disappointing. But our guys fought hard and we ended up with a decent score."

However, six Minnesota gymnasts and a total of seven routines finished in the top ten on individual events, qualifying them for a spot in tomorrow's event finals.

The following gymnasts will perform tomorrow night for a chance at winning an individual event title:  Russell Dabritz on the still rings and parallel bars, Adam Kern and Zack Chase on the vault, Steve Jaciuk on the high bar, and Kyle Banks and Harris Coleman on the floor exercise. The event finals will broadcast live on Big Ten Network at 7pm CT.