The University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics team will hold its annual Alumni Meet Friday night at the Sports Pavilion. The event is set to begin at 7 p.m.
According to Gopher head coach Mike Burns, his squad will use the Alumni Meet as a chance to fine-tune for the regular-season opener. Minnesota will open the regular season Jan. 17 at the Windy City Invitational, hosted by Illinois-Chicago.
"Our Alumni Meet is always a highlight of the season,” Burns said. “We will officially kick off the season at the Windy City next week and our guys are really focused on getting a strong start this year in Chicago.
“I'm really looking forward to getting our regular season under way, but we certainly don't want to overlook our Alumni and get ahead of ourselves," Burns, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
Burns likes to have a little fun with the Alumni Meet, annually won by the Alumni under somewhat questionable circumstances. The Gopher Varsity has not defeated the Alumni in the 41 years since the first Alumni Meet was held at Roosevelt High School in 1967.
“I don't know if you'll find a longer winning streak in all sports, professional or college, but I sure would like to taste victory over the Alumni just once in my lifetime,” Burns said. “It's hard to believe that some of those guys are still able to get up on the equipment and give it the old college try. Many of them have been training in complete secrecy, most likely because they don't want us to see what their skill level has become over the years."
Following Friday’s Alumni Meet, the Gophers will host their first regular-season, home competition of 2009 on Jan. 24, when Calgary, Washington State and Arizona State visit the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota will also host the 2009 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships at the Sports Pavilion. The NCAA Championships are slated for April 16-18.