The Minnesota men’s gymnastics team scored a season-high 353.300 points and won three individual events as the Golden Gophers defeated Nebraska and Arizona State Sunday afternoon at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.
The meet victory was the third of the season for Minnesota. Nebraska scored a team total of 349.400 points to take second, while ASU placed third with 325.900 points.
“This was a great day for Gopher Gymnastics as these guys put together a season high performance against a much-improved Cornhusker team,” said head coach Mike Burns. “The bus ride back from Lincoln is a much easier ordeal after a meet like this!”
The Gophers opened the meet on still rings and posted a respectable 57.150 behind a personal-best score of 14.750 by Thomas O’Brien. Freshman Russell Dabritz also turned in a solid score, earning a total of 14.650 points followed closely by senior Eddie Campbell with a 14.300.
The Gophers began to flex their muscles during the second rotation on floor exercise to pull away from the pack. Minnesota notched its second highest team floor score of the season earning a combined 59.650 points. Cole Storer and Adam Reichow finshed 1-2 on the event to lead the way, with Storer scoring 15.100 to just miss out on his season-high score. Reichow equaled his season best, earning a 15.000 from the judges.
“Cole and Adam took the top two spots on floor but they were backed up well by Eddie Campbell, Andre Berry, Aaron Fortunato, and Colin McGuire who all did very good sets today,” said Burns.
Minnesota kept the good times rolling during the third rotation on pommel horse, posting their school record team score on the apparatus with a team total of 58.650 points. Senior co-captain Kit Beikmann again led the way with a score of 15.050 points to win the event followed by junior Thomas O’Brien with a total of 15.000.
“This was a huge improvement from last week’s pommel horse performance so I’m really proud of the way these guys identified the problem, addressed it, fixed it, and set a new school record! What a way to turn things around,” said Burns.
Cole Storer and Aaron Fortunato also contributed to the Gopher’s record setting performance with scores of 14.500 and 14.100, respectively.
The Gophers then rotated to the high bar where they again took care of business and set another school record with a season-high score of 58.550.
Ali Aleiou got things started with a career-high score of 14.400 on a solid set that was followed up by great routines from freshmen Russell Dabritz, who earned a 14.250, and DJ Repp, who scored a 14.200. Colin McGuire, Aaron Fortunato and Cole Storer were even better, notching scores of 14.650, 14.850 and 14.650, respectively.
“This was another great effort by a team that is really looking like it’s ready for the Championship portion of the season,” said Burns.
But despite the strong performances, the Gophers still trailed a much improved Nebraska squad, 235.850 to 234.000, with ASU a distant third with 211.700 points.
However, Minnesota made a big move in the fifth rotation on vault. Aleiou again got the Gophers off to a fast start with a career high score of 15.650 with a near perfect Yurchenko 1 1/2 that he stuck cold.
“Ali really ignited the team with that stick and that set the tone for the rest of the vault team to set another season high score on this event,” said Burns.
The team score of 63.05 was achieved with a meet winning 15.950 score from Adam Reichow on a booming Yurchenko double full. Colin McGuire followed suit with a 15.800 on a solid Kasamatsu with a full twist and Andre Berry with the same vault earned a score of 15.650.
Going into the sixth and final event, the Gophers pulled ahead of Nebraska by a score of 297.05 to 292.50. The Gophers finished the meet on parallel bars with a team score of 56.250, which gave them a final team score of 353.30, a full five points higher than the score they posted last week against Oklahoma and Nebraska.
“This was a much better performance by our team this week and the high team score is proof of their desire to excel,” said Burns. “It was great to not only break into the 350’s but to do so convincingly.”
Russell Dabritz posted the Gopher’s highest score on the parallel bars with a score of 14.500. Andre Berry was again solid posting a score of 14.150 along with Thomas O’Brien with a 14.000. Freshman Ross Cameratta had the fourth counting score on the event, helping the Gophers to their season best team score.
The Gophers have their final dual meet of the season on Saturday, March 21, against No. 4-ranked Illinois. This will also be Senior Night as Seniors Alex Quast, Eddie Campbell, and Kit Beikmann perform in the last dual meet of their careers at the Sports Pavilion.