Men's Gymnastics Rolls In Home Opener The Gophers responded well to their first home competition of the season Saturday, easily defeating Washington and Arizona State.
The University of Minnesota men's gymnastics team was happy to be back home Saturday afternoon and they showed it.
The Golden Gophers struggled in last week's season-opener at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago. But in Saturday afternoon's first home meet of the season, Minnesota bounced back big time. The Gophers improved over last week's total in five of the six events, posting a final score of 343.250. Their final tally was more than five full points better than last week's total of 337.650.
"We had a huge improvement over last week, so I'm pretty pleased with that," head coach Mike Burns said. "Our hit percentage went way up by a lot. There was a good sense of fighting out there with a lot of routines. That's what we need to do, improve on a weekly basis."
Minnesota easily out-distanced its opponents in Saturday's competition - Arizona State and Washington. ASU came in second with a tally of 316.650, while Washington tallied a 293.650.
The Gophers were led by Adam Reichow and Aaron Fortunato. Reichow put up scores of 15.100 on the floor exercise and 15.500 on the vault. Reichow was presented with the Dr. Louis J. Cooke Outstanding Performance Award following the meet. Fortunato won two events, taking the pommel horse with a score of 13.950 and horizontal bar with a tally of 15.050. He also won the all-around with a total score of 85.000.
"We did a lot better than last week," Reichow said. "We had some performances that we can definitely build upon. That's exciting. I'm really excited about the competition tonight. I built a lot of confidence for next week."
Coach Burns was pleased with the output his senior duo of Reichow and Fortunato.
"Adam Reichow did an awesome job. He really put it together," Burns said. "Aaron Fortunato had one of his top scores in the all-around, which was really good. It was great to see him do a good job."
However, it wasn't all rosy. The Gophers slipped a bit from last week's score on the still rings and still aren't as consistent as they would like to be on the pommel horse.
"We had some stupid mistakes that, as a coach, you hate to see," Burns said. "As a gymnast, they know what they are. They probably hate to see (the mistakes) as much as we do. But they'll get it together. We had a couple guys fall down on their dismount (on the still rings). That's just not acceptable. But everything else was an improvement."
Minnesota won each event. In addition to the wins by Fortunato and Reichow, Travis Heaver took the top spot on the still rings, Adam LaFleur was the top scorer on the vault and Ross Cameratta took the parallel bars.
Minnesota is back home again next weekend. The Gophers host Nebraska, Air Force and the University of Calgary at the Sports Pavilion next Saturday (Jan. 30) in a 7 p.m. meet.