Four Gophers to Compete for NCAA Crowns
April 11, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Four Golden Gophers advanced to the third and final day of the NCAA championships for the individual event finals after seven Minnesota gymnasts competed in the individual event preliminaries at Michigan's Crisler Center Friday night.
Junior Ellis Mannon finished fifth on pommel horse (15.150), senior Zack Chase tied for fifth on vault (15.150), junior Steve Jaciuk tied for sixth on high bar (14.800) and senior Matt Frey tied for ninth on parallel bars (15.100) to advance to Saturday's finals.
Mannon makes his second-straight appearance at the NCAA finals after finishing as the 2013 NCAA runner-up on pommel horse. The other three Gophers are making their debuts in the NCAA event finals.
Mannon, Chase, Jaciuk and Frey earned top-10 finishes to advance in the three-day competition as the individual event preliminaries are held in conjunction with the team and all-around finals; scores from the individual event preliminaries are used to advance 10 individuals in each event to the individual event finals.
Minnesota finished seventh of 12 teams following Thursday's national qualifying sessions, coming up just short of advancing to the team finals. Michigan (445.050) won the team title led by all-around champion Sam Mikulak Friday night. Oklahoma (441.650) was second, while Stanford (436.300) finished third.
The Gophers had individuals in all six events Friday night. Six Gophers competed in eight events, along with Mannon representing the Maroon and Gold in the all-around competition.
Mannon finished 11th in the all-around with a score of 83.700. In addition to his fifth-place showing on pommel horse, Mannon tied for 12th on parallel bars with a career-high 15.000.
Freshman Zach Liebler gained valuable experience competing in his first NCAA meet. Liebler finished 12th overall on floor exercise at Thursday's qualifier to move on and scored a 14.300 Friday night.
Chase and Jaciuk each competed on two events Friday night. Along with his top-10 showing on vault, Chase scored a 14.450 on still rings. Meanwhile, Jaciuk earned a 14.800 to tie for 18th on parallel bars in addition to tying for sixth on high bar.
Saturday's individual event finals are set for 6 p.m. CT at Michigan's Crisler Center. The competition will be streamed live at NCAA.com.