Feb. 15, 2012
The Gopher men's gymnastics team will try to make it two consecutive weekends with wins over Nebraska.
Minnesota beat Nebraska by three and half points last weekend in a tri-meet with the University of Iowa. This weekend the Gophers will take on Nebraska again at home.
"We did beat Nebraska last week, and they are a steadily improving team," head coach Mike Burns said. "But we can only control the things we do. We will continue to strive for increased hit percentage and improved execution of our routines."
Besides improving their hit percentage, the team is also focused on minimizing deductions and increasing their percentage of stuck dismounts. The percentage currently sits around 13%, with 26 stuck dismounts for the season thus far. This puts them on pace to surpass last year's season total of 51.
The biggest challenge this week will be altering the lineups to replace Josh Wokurka, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last weekend in Iowa.
"It's never easy when one of our soldiers goes down in battle," Burns said. "But it means the rest of the guys will need to pick up the pace to absorb the loss. Losing Josh will impact our team score, and the guys who step in to replace him need to take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself and do the best job they can to fill the void."
The guys are still battling it out in practice to see who will fill Wokurka's position on each event. Freshman Spencer Smith will likely move into the lineup for the high bar. However, the spot on floor, rings, and vault are still up for grabs.
It has been four weeks since the Gophers' last home meet. The team is looking forward to returning to the Sports Pavilion to perform in front of the home crowd again.
"Any athlete in the world will agree that competing at home is much better than competing on the road," Burns said. "The home crowd, the home venue and equipment, sleeping in your own bed, not worrying about whether you packed your toothbrush - all of these things make competing at home a much better experience and our guys are ready to take advantage of it all."
The meet will be held on Saturday at 1pm in the Sports Pavilion.