April 16, 2013
Five Things You Need To Know
1. The NCAA recently announced the 12 teams that have qualified for the 2013 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships. Minnesota, which is ranked sixth after finishing third in the Big Ten Championships, will compete in the first session at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 19. Minnesota joins No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Michigan, No. 7 Illinois, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Air Force in the session. Minnesota has faced all five teams earlier this year. The Gophers fell on the road at Oklahoma despite posting a season-high 435.450. Minnesota competed twice against Michigan this year at the Windy City Invitational and at the Big Ten Championships. The Wolverines won both meets. The Gophers placed ahead of Illinois at the conference championships, but finished behind the Illini at the Windy City Invitational and in a road dual-meet earlier this year. Minnesota has competed against Nebraska three times this season and has scored better than the Huskers in all three meets. The Gophers have also faced Air Force once this year and prevailed as well.
2. Minnesota finished third at the recent Big Ten Championships. The event, which the Gophers hosted at the Sports Pavilion, featured all seven Big Ten teams. All seven squads were ranked in the top 10 entering the competition. Minnesota was ranked No. 7 in the nation behind Big Ten foes Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois. However, the Gophers moved from fifth to third on their final event of the championship - still rings - to secure a podium finish for the first time since 2007. Michigan won the conference title, while Penn State took second.
3. With a strong team showing this weekend Minnesota could record it best finish in a few years. The Gophers ended last season as the No. 8 team in the nation. They are ranked No. 6 entering this week. The last time the Gophers finished the season ranked sixth was 2007. The last time they finished higher than sixth was in 2002 when the squad ended the season ranked No. 5.
4. Minnesota is led by sophomores Steve Jaciuk and Ellis Mannon. Jaciuk is ranked second in high bar and tied for ninth on parallel bars. His best score on high bar this year is 15.350, which he recorded at Oklahoma on Feb. 16. Jaciuk has topped the 15.000 mark three times this year on high bar and eclipsed the 14.500 mark seven times. Jaciuk’s top score on parallel bars this year was 15.450. He also holds the team’s top score on still rings with a 15.150 (tied with Jack Metcalf). Mannon is ranked No. 3 on pommel horse after finishing second at the Big Ten Championships. He averages a 14.825 on the event this year.
5. Junior Zack Chase, who was the Big Ten champion on vault as a freshman in 2011, is doubtful for competition this weekend as he is recovering from an injury suffered Feb. 24 at UIC. Chase is the most recent Gopher to win a postseason title.
You can read Minnesota's complete game notes here.
Shashank's Redemption: Journey to Most Improved
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Wittenberg's NCAA Address
Alex Wittenberg was chosen as the student-athlete representative for the 2016 Men's Gymnastics NCAA Championships.
Gophers Finish Sixth at NCAA Championships
Minnesota tallied four All-America finishes and its best team finish in nine years.