Survive, advance and live to fight another day.
Neither Guillermo Alvarez nor Jake Lee were overjoyed with their performances during the opening rounds of competition at the 2008 Winter Cup Thursday in Las Vegas.
In the end, the former Golden Gophers had to be pleased outcome as the pair both advanced to compete in Saturday’s finals at the Las Vegas Sports Center.
Alvarez, the Gophers’ top finisher, placed ninth overall in the all-around competition with a final score of 84.400 points.
Lee, meanwhile, tallied 80.950 points to place 27th.
Still, it was good enough to move on to Saturday’s final, when both will have a second chance to make some improvements in the performances.
“We didn’t do our best gymnastics here at the Winter Cup,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Burns. “I wasn’t too pleased with the way our guys performed today. I think they will both be looking for a little redemption on Saturday night.”
Alvarez’s performance was highlighted by a third-place finish on parallel bars and a fifth on still rings. His best score of the day came on vault, where he earned a score of 15.750.
“Guillermo’s result was well below his ability level,” said Burns. “Unfortunately he had a rough day on the parallel bars and horizontal bar. I expect Guillermo to come back with a vengeance on Saturday and put up some solid scores in the Finals.”
Lee also ran into a few rough patches throughout the competition and according to Burns will be looking to make a few adjustments before returning to action on Saturday.
Current Gopher Aaron Fortunato was also in action Thursday in Las Vegas. The sophomore just missed the cut and posted a final all-around score of 80.600 to place 29th.
“Aaron looked really good today,” said Burns. “He was well prepared but suffered a few unfortunate mistakes that kept him from qualifying for the finals. Aaron’s day will come, but it just wasn’t today.”
Sophomores Cole Storer and Andre Berry were both expected to be in the lineup for the Gophers Thursday, but both were forced to bow out with injuries. Storer suffered a slight knee injury during warm-ups and was held out of competition, while Berry stayed home in the Twin Cities to rest several minor injuries that needed some additional down time this week.
The 2008 Winter Cup Finals get underway on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. (PST)/9:15 p.m. (CST) with spots on the USA Gymnastics Senior National Team at stake.