By Jennie Clark
Athletic Communications Assistant
Minnesota didn't finish the way it wanted to last year on the high bar. But the Gophers are looking to bounce back this year. They are feeling good coming into the 2010 season, with some strong, standout routines.
Head Coach Mike Burns feels confident in his group from last year.
"It was a good event for us last year," Burns said. "We had a little trouble in the NCAA's last year that hurt us going to the finals."
The gophers finished seventh in the nation last year on the High bar, and hope to do even better this year. The Gophers have all of their contributors from the high bar back from last season.
Senior Cole Storer, who was an All-American on this event two years ago, is also looking forward to the Gophers competing on the high bar.
"We have really picked up the difficulty," Storer said. "So we're looking really good on the high bar. We should be a tough team to beat."
Storer has been fighting injuries this season. But hopes to be back for a meet versus Illinois in two weeks.
The Gophers are going into this season with some courageous high bar routines. Two members of the squad will be attempting to four release moves in a single routine this season. Meanwhile, Storer will be performing three release moves when he returns from his injuries.
At this point in the season, Coach Burns hopes to keep his gymnasts' bodies healthy, as they head into a difficult part of their season.
"We've padded up the gym a lot because you never know when they're going to miss the bar," Burns said. "We try to keep it as safe as we can and use the pit for releases and dismounts."
Coach Burns also speaks of the amount of difficulty they are attempting on the event this year.
"Michael Hillin and DJ Repp should be two of our top guys this year," Burns said. "Aaron Fortunato is also looking strong this year. He's one of those guys you can really count on hitting his routine."
Through two meets, the Gophers are ranked No. 2 in the nation on the high bar with an average score of 56.875. Individually Aaron Fortunato is ranked No. 4 nationally with a score of 14.800.
Minnesota will have a chance to improve on their high bar average Saturday, when they host Nebraska, Air Force and Calgary in a four-team meet at the Sports Pavilion. That event is slated to begin at 7 p.m.