The fifth-ranked University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics team struggled to its second-lowest team score of the season Saturday at the Pacific Coast Classic in Oakland, Calif. The Gophers finished sixth in the seven-team meet.
"It was a difficult night in Oakland," head coach Mike Burns said. "We did have some very good routines. But we we struggled with consistency throughout the night. We were able to put up four decent scores on each event, but we had trouble maintaining a level of momentum that we needed to push us up intpo the 350 range."
Despite the team finish, the Gophers turned in some solid scores along the way. Minnesota had its best night of the season on the still rings and three Gophers turned in season-high individual marks.
Following closely with the overall results, the Gophers finished sixth in the field in five of the six events. Minnesota was the fifth-ranked team at the Pacific Coast Classic on the still rings, turning in its best score of the season at 57.300. Along with its top season score on the rings, Minnesota had its second-best score of 2009 on the pommel horse and the floor exercise.
Three individuals put up team season-best scores on those three events, as well. Aaron Fortunato’s 15.150 on the floor is the best score posted by a Gopher in the event this season, topping his previous high mark of 15.000. Pommel horse specialist Kit Beikmann became the first Minnesota gymnast to break the 15-point barrier on the horse this season. He tallied a 15.050 at the Pacific Coast Classic. On the still rings, Russell Dabritz’s score of 14.750 was the Gophers’ best score of the season.
A team a Japanese collegiate all-stars won the meet with a score of 359.450. Stanford, which entered the meet ranked No. 3 in the nation, was the top collegiate team with a final tally of 356.400. No. 2-ranked Cal finished third, while No. 4 Michigan and No. 6 Illinois also finished just in front of Minnesota. The Gophers finished ahead of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Minnesota had a rough time on the vault, parallel bars and high bar. All three of those events are usually strong for the Gophers. But on Saturday, the Gophers’ vault and parallel bars scores were the second-lowest of the season. Minnesota’s high bar score was its lowest of the season.
Pacific Coast Classic Standings
1. Japanese All-Stars, 359.450
2. Stanford, 356.400
3. California, 355.100
4. Michigan, 352.900
5. Illinois, 349.750
6. Minnesota, 344.000
7. Air Force, 324.500