The Minnesota men’s Gymnastics team ran into a buzz saw Saturday in University Park, Pa., and top-ranked Penn State proved why the defending NCAA Champion Nittany Lions are once again the No. 1 men’s gymnastics team in the land.
Minnesota (3-6, 2-4 Big Ten), which combined to put up its second-best team point total of the season, fell behind early and never recovered. The Lions won all six team events, including sweeps of the top three individual positions on floor exercise, still rings and parallel bars to defeat the Gophers, 354.200-343.450.
Junior Kit Beikmann, one of four Gophers to post a top-three finish on the day, provided an early highlight for Minnesota with his second win of the season on pommel horse, while sophomore Colin McGuire captured his first event victory of the year with a season-best mark of 14.900 to win the high bar.
Senior Mitchell Mays and sophomore Andre Berry also shined for the Gophers. Mays, the nation’s leader on vault, had another strong meet, placing second on vault with a score of 15.650 and fourth on rings with a season-best score of 15.000 that was the highest rings point total awarded to a Gopher this season. Berry, meanwhile, put together his best outing of the year, posting season bests on floor (14.700) and parallel bars (14.150) and scoring a 14.000 to place third on high bar.
But Penn State (3-1, 1-1 Big Ten) simply had too much talent to overcome. Casey Sandy registered wins on floor, parallel bars and in the all-around competition and Vladi Klurman captured event victories on rings and vault to lead the Lions, who also had the No. 2 and 3 all-around finishers in Derek Helsby and Jason Chu.
Still, Minnesota put up a number of solid performances that showed the Gophers can compete with the nation’s best, despite being hampered up and down the lineup by a number in injuries.
Sophomore Aaron Fortunato, who finished fourth in the all-around competition with a total of 84.000 points, and sophomore Adam Reichow, scored season-best on the floor, while junior Eddie Campbell and senior co-captain Steve Vuong notched season-high marks on rings. Senior co-captain Sergei Dmitriev, sophomore Michael Hillin and junior Alex Quast, who made his first appearance of the season in the Gophers’ lineup, all netted season-high scores on parallel bars.
The Minnesota men’s Gymnastics team returns to action Feb. 7-9, when the Gophers travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Winter Cup Challenge.
An individual competition, the Winter Cup will not be a team-scored event. The meet, however, will determine which seven gymnasts who will be named to the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team. These seven, along with the seven current members of the 2007 World Championships Team, will comprise the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team until the 2008 Visa Championships in May.
Men’s College Gymnastics
No. 8 Minnesota at No. 1 Penn State
Rec Hall, University Park, Pa.
Feb. 2, 2008
FINAL TEAM SCORES
1. Penn State, 354.200; 2. Minnesota, 343.450.
FLOOR EXERCISE (Penn State, 61.050; Minnesota, 58.150)
1. Casey Sandy (PSU), 15.600; 2. Santiago Lopez (PSU), 15.500; 3. Nick Virbitsky (PSU), 15.250.
POMMEL HORSE (Penn State, 54.500; Minnesota, 53.200)
1. Kit Beikmann (Minn.), 14.200; 2. Brad Spicer (PSU), 14.150; 3. Jason Chu (PSU), 13.800.
STILL RINGS (Penn State, 60.650; Minnesota, 58.050)
1. Vladi Klurman (PSU), 15.350; 2. Josh Borromeo (PSU), 15.200; Derek Helsby (PSU), 15.200.
VAULT (Penn State, 62.000; Minnesota, 60.600)
1. Vladi Klurman (PSU), 16.100; 2. Mitchell Mays (Minn.), 15.650; 3. Jason Chu (PSU) 15.450.
PARALLEL BARS (Penn State, 60.050; Minnesota, 57.600)
1. Casey Sandy (PSU), 15.500; 2. Vladi Klurman (PSU), 14.850; Derek Helsby (PSU), 14.850.
HIGH BAR (Penn State, 55.950; Minnesota, 55.850)
1. Colin McGuire (Minn.), 14.300; Casey Sandy (PSU), 14.300; 3. Andre Berry (Minn.), 14.000.
1. Casey Sandy (PSU), 88.400; 2. Derek Helsby (PSU), 86.750; 3. Jason Chu (PSU), 86.200.