History continued to repeat itself at the annual Alumni Meet held Saturday night inside historic Cooke Hall. Buoyed by last-minute entry Kevin Green, the Alumni Team defeated the 2008 Varsity Team by a convincing final score of 375.100 - 368.600 for its 41st consecutive victory.
Green, a surprise entry, claimed the coveted all-around title with a score of 91.300.
"Kevin certainly surprised everyone tonight with his convincing victory in the all-around," said head coach Mike Burns. "As usual, the Alumni were too well connected with the judges for the Varsity to come away with a victory, but it was a great night with a great turnout to witness the annual event."
The action was heated right from the start with Alumni Clay Strother claiming the floor exercise title with a clean set that included a whip, double full, punch front 1 1/4 for a score of 15.65.
Fellow Alum Guillermo Alvarez, a member of the U.S. Senior National Team, took home top honors on pommel horse with a beautiful set capped off with a high flying handstand dismount that pirouetted to a score of 15.500.
Varsity team member Kit Beikmann was a close second with a great set that scored a 15.200.
"Kit was one of the few Varsity gymnasts to break into the top three on any event tonight," said Burns. "He will be well rewarded when he finally becomes an alumni team member!!"
On the still rings the Varsity fared even better with Eddie Campbell tying for first place with Alum Jake Lee with scores of 15.100. Green took second with a 15.000 and Varsity Team member Alex Quast was third with a score of 14.900. Lee, Green, and Quast all stuck their dismounts to secure their high scores.
On vault, Alumni Team representative Chris Harrington nailed his handspring full for the victory with a score of 15.800.
"Chris stuck his landing cold and gave little away on a very clean vault," said Burns.
Alvarez and Varsity Team member Cole Storer tied for second with scores of 15.600.
On the parallel bars the Alumni swept the top three places with a three way tie for first place between Alvarez, Strother, and Green, who all earned scores of 15.400.
"At this point I knew it was going to be another Alumni Victory," said Burns. "Their momentum was in full swing and there was no stopping it."
The final event was high bar and the entire meet proceeded from the main floor of Cooke Hall to the workout gym to witness the last event.
"It was great to see over 250 people inside the tiny Cooke Hall workout gym," said Burns. "Talk about intensity - this was the definition of intensity!"
Green again came away with a victory with a score of 15.100 that was culminated with his final stuck dismount of the night. Second place went to Varsity Team member Colin McGuire, who posted a 15.000. Three gymnasts tied for third as Lee, Alvarez, and Storer registered scores of 14.900.
All in all, it was an awesome event that is always fun in spite of the fact that the Alumni lengthened its winning streak to 41 years. The first Alumni Meet was held at Roosevelt High School back in 1967 and it's been a Golden Gopher gymnastics tradition ever since.
Having the meet in Cooke Hall was also exciting since the last time a home meet was held in this gym was in 1976.
"I was thrilled to be able to have so many alumni come back and watch this annual tradition," said Burns. "The Spirit of Cooke Hall is alive and well and it was shown in full force tonight."
The award for the oldest alumni to compete went to 52-year-old Reid Gysland, who competed for the Gophers under Fred Roethlisberger in the late 1970s.
"Reid did a great job tonight," said Burns. “It's hard to believe he can still get his Frank Endo grips on and still swing giants around the bar. Old gymnasts never die; they just can't remount in 30 seconds."
The Minnesota men’s gymnastics team returns to action April 4-5, when the Gophers travel to Penn State to compete in the 2008 Big Ten Championships. Fans interested in watching the event can catch all the action live on the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. (CDT) both nights.