We just returned from the Big ten Championships where we finished fourth behind co-champs Illinois & Michigan. Ohio State finished third, just ahead of us, with Penn State and Iowa finishing fifth and sixth. Earlier this week, the official NCAA Gymnastics Committee conference call to determine the participants for next week’s NCAA Qualifier on Thursday, April 16th at the Sports Pavilion took place.
The Qualifier will be run in two sessions with the top three teams from each session advancing to the NCAA Team Finals on Friday night, April 17th. This is our initial team goal to qualify into the Team Finals.
We will be matched up with Oklahoma, Illinois, Ohio State, Illinois-Chicago and Iowa in the 7 p.m. session on Thursday. The top three teams will advance. Oklahoma and Illinois are ranked 2nd and 3rd in the country and it looks like they will most likely advance to the Finals. The big matchup for us will be between the Gophers and the Buckeyes and I think it will be the matchup of the century. Ohio State beat us at the Big Tens by 1.9 points. We beat the Buckeyes earlier in the year at the Windy City Invitational by nearly 4.0 points, so we are tied up in our head-to-head competition.
This will be the third and final meeting between Minnesota and Ohio State this season. It is likely that one of these two teams will advance to the Team Finals and the other team won’t.
The Buckeyes looked solid at the Big Tens, so they will be a formidable opponent next week at the Pavilion. The fact that we will be competing in our home arena should give us a slight advantage. But the real advantage could come down to our fans.
If we can pack that Pavilion on Thursday night with a ton of Gopher fans, I think it will really inspire our team to new heights. It’s always fun to compete at home in the Sports Pavilion. It’s one of the best gymnastics facilities in the country and we are excited to have the entire collegiate gymnastics community coming to Minneapolis to be a part of this great event.
Our administration runs great championship events and we are expecting a first-class event under their guidance. As a coach, it’s great to have such qualified people running the meet. I just hope we have a great crowd on hand to witness this Championship. Get your tickets now!
This is our final week of preparation in the gym and as we get closer to the competition, our guys will need to really focus on the task at hand and do the things they need to do to achieve their goals. This is an awesome team we have here at Minnesota and I am really looking forward to seeing them excel on the competition floor next week.