Jan. 10, 2012
Athletic Communications Student Assistant
The 2012 men’s gymnastics season is set to begin this Saturday at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago, Illinois. And the time has come for the Gophers to show off everything they have accomplished during their offseason training.
Minnesota will get to check out some of its Big Ten competition. Teams competing this weekend include Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, as well as the hosting school, Illinois-Chicago.
“The first meet of the year is where you make a statement about the kind of team you hope to be by the end of the season,” head coach Mike Burns said. “National Rankings for the first several weeks of the season are based on high scores, so a high team score in the first meet will give you a higher ranking, which helps in the minds of the judges for subsequent meets.”
The Gophers head into the meet ranked No. 8 nationally in the pre-season coaches poll.
“I think this team has potential to move up from its pre-season No. 8 national ranking,” Burns said. “This is the meet to get that process started. I’m expecting great things from these guys as well as some problem solving from last week’s Alumni Meet.”
This weekend will be the first true test for a young Minnesota team. There are seven freshmen this year. But everyone seems confident in the group heading into the season.
“I think our freshmen are a solid group of competitors,” Burns said. “I’m looking forward to see them perform in their first official competition as Gophers!”
The coaches and team are still working on the final lineups for this weekend. There are still some battles going on for the final spots. The official lineups will not be announced until Friday.
“We are discussing a few slight changes to some routines, but we don't want to pull the plug too early,” Burns said. “We need to push through the early inconsistencies if we want to have the right routines we will need at the Big Ten Championships in April.”
The Gophers finished third out of six teams at the 2011 Windy City Invitational. Illinois claimed last year’s top spot.