Gophers Set for Regular-Season Finale
March 13, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – The Gophers men’s gymnastics team will compete in its final meet of the regular season this weekend, as No. 5 Minnesota travels to No. 12 Nebraska to take on the Huskers as well as No. 6 Illinois, No. 7 Iowa and No. 10 Air Force. The meet will begin at 4 p.m. CT.
Iowa/Brockport Meet Recap
The Gophers scored a narrow victory last Saturday at the Sports Pavilion, edging Iowa 427.750 to 426.450 at the Sports Pavilion.
Minnesota honored its eight seniors after the meet: Steffen Beck, Zack Chase, Nathan Fortunato, Matt Frey, Adam Kern, Justin Morinishi, John Scallon and Sam Wright. The seniors were given the Louis J. Cooke award after the meet for all their contributions to the program.
The Gophers won three event titles in the meet, winning floor exercise, pommel horse and parallel bars.
Gophers vs. Nebraska, Iowa, Air Force and Illinois
Minnesota has already faced all four of this weekend's opponents this season, some of them multiple times.
The Gophers first faced Nebraska at the Sports Pavilion in February, in a meet that also featured Illinois. The Gophers won the meet with a score of 435.200, ahead of Illinois (432.700) and Nebraska (420.700).
This weekend, the Gophers will face Iowa for the fourth time this season, including a meeting just last weekend at the Sports Pavilion with Brockport. The Gophers have defeated Iowa in all three previous meetings in 2014.
The Gophers traveled to Air Force in early February, where they won 434.200 to 431.550.
Illinois is another familiar opponent as the Gophers faced the Illini in the Windy City Invitational and in a meet at the Sports Pavilion. Illinois fared better at the Windy City Invitational with a score of 436.050 to tie for second while the Gophers were fourth, but Minnesota returned the favor with a 435.200-432.700 win over Illinois at the Sports Pavilion with Nebraska in February.
Nebraska returns home after a loss on the road last week, as the team fell to No. 1 Oklahoma, 439.700 to 422.050.
Illinois competed last week at home against UIC, winning 427.850 to 401.900.
Air Force had a week off last week, last competing against UIC at home and winning 439.700 to 406.650.
Gophers in the National Rankings
The Gophers moved up one spot on the national rankings this week, regaining the No. 5 spot. Minnesota also climbed one place in the coaches poll to No. 5 as well.
In team events, the Gophers are ranked third on floor exercise (73.733), fifth on parallel bars (72.350), sixth on high bar (71.383) seventh on vault (73.550), eighth on still rings (72.767), and ninth on pommel horse (70.367).
For individuals, junior Ellis Mannon is ranked eighth on pommel horse (14.833), senior Zack Chase is ranked seventh on vault (15.067), senior Matt Frey is ranked eighth on parallel bars (14.950) and junior Steve Jaciuk is ranked ninth on the same event (14.917).
Chase Named Nissen-Emery Award Finalist
Senior Zack Chase was named one of nine finalists for the prestigious 2014 Nissen-Emery Award, announced by the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) this week. The Nissen-Emery Award is given annually to the nation's outstanding senior gymnast and is the most coveted award in collegiate gymnastics.
The award is named in honor of George Nissen, a three-time NCAA champion at the University of Iowa, for his contributions to the sport and Dr. Bob Emery, the 1969 recipient of the Nissen Award. Three Gophers have received the award since 1966 including Tim LaFleur (1978), John Roethlisberger (1993) and most recently, Guillermo Alvarez (2005).
The Gophers will be idle from competition next weekend in preparation for the 2014 Big Ten Championships. Minnesota finished third at the B1G meet last year. This year's championships will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska, and will take place Friday-Saturday, March 28-29.