Gophers Travel West to Take on Air Force
Feb. 6, 2014
By Ben Gotz, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 6 Gophers will hit the road for the first time in three weeks this weekend, as they head to Colorado to take on No. 9 Air Force. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. CT Saturday evening.
Last Weekend at the Sports Pavilion
The Gophers defeated two of their Big Ten rivals last week at the Sports Pavilion, topping Illinois and Nebraska with a season best score of 435.000. The meet came down to the final rotation as the Gophers and Illinois were still tied with one event remaining, but the Gophers got the win after scoring a season high 71.000 on high bar.
The Louis J. Cooke Award for the team's top performer went to Gopher senior Zack Chase. Chase competed in three different events for the Gophers, vault, still rings, and the floor exercise, and posted three scores above 15.000.
Gophers vs. Air Force
This will be the Gophers' first meeting with Air Force this season, but the two teams met at the Sports Pavilion last year. Minnesota won by a score of 430.600 to 404.450. The Gophers posted the top team and individual score in every event at the meet for their first win of the 2013 season.
Air Force has competed in four meets so far this year, including two meets against opponents the Gophers have already faced. After opening their season with the Rocky Mountain Invitational, Air Force traveled to Oklahoma, where they fell to the Sooners 440.700 to 412.200. The Falcons then traveled to Nebraska and were defeated, 420.650 to 415.300.
Air Force is carrying some momentum into their match-up with the Gophers, as last week AFA finished first in the All-Academy Championships with a score of 427.700.
Gophers in the National Rankings
After their big win last Saturday, the Gophers moved up one spot in the national rankings to No. 6. The Gophers are now ranked No. 6 overall and No. 7 in the coaches poll.
In team events, the Gophers rank third on vault (73.617), fifth on floor exercise (72.633) and parallel bars (71.817), sixth on still rings (72.833), eighth on high bar (69.417) and 10th on pommel horse (68.900).
Junior Ellis Mannon is ranked fourth nationally on the pommel horse (14.933), while junior captain Steve Jaciuk ranks fifth on parallel bars (14.833). Senior Matt Frey is ranked ninth on vault (14.883), while junior Sean Bauer is 10th in the same event (14.783).
Air Force is currently ranked ninth nationally and placed 10th in the latest coaches poll.
Note: For individuals, the national rankings used a three-meet average this week, meaning an individual gymnast must have competed three times in an event to qualify for the rankings.
After their trip to Colorado, the Gophers return to Big Ten competition as they will travel to Iowa for a tri-meet with the Hawkeyes and Nebraska. The meet will mark the Gophers' second time facing both of these teams as they competed against Nebraska last week and Iowa in the Windy City Invitational. The meet is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 15.