The Minnesota men’s gymnastics team placed fourth during the evening NCAA qualifying session Thursday night at Maples Pavilion with 349.150 points and was eliminated from contention for the team title at the 2008 National Collegiate Championships.
Host team Stanford captured the Session II qualifier with 363.850 points followed by Illinois with 359.300 points and California with 357.100 points. The trio will face the top three teams from the afternoon qualifying session Oklahoma, Penn State and Michigan in Friday night’s team finals.
Minnesota posted several solid individual performances but came up short in a number of usually dependable areas as the Gophers failed to top the 350-point mark for the first time in over a month.
Senior team captain Sergei Dmitriev and sophomore Cole Storer were the lone Gophers to record top-10 finishes on the night.
Dmitriev came within one-tenth of a point (.100) of posting a season-high on parallel bars, earning a score of 14.900 to place fifth. He also tied for ninth on high bar with a season-best score of 14.550 and will compete Friday night as an individual on both events as well as on still rings, where he was one of the top three performers not on one of the advancing teams.
Storer also advanced on two events. He tied for eighth on vault with a score of 15.750 and placed sixth on high bar with a total of 14.850.
Other Gophers advancing to Friday’s competition as individuals included sophomore Andre Berry on floor exercise and pommel horse, junior Kit Beikmann on pommel horse, senior Mitchell Mays on still rings and parallel bars, sophomore Colin McGuire on floor exercise and vault, sophomore Aaron Fortunato on parallel bars and senior co-captain Steve Vuong on high bar.
“We will be well represented (Friday) night,” said Burns. “Our parallel bars and high bar did very well tonight and we had the top three individual qualifiers to Day two on both of those events. To advance this many guys on all six events is the next best thing to making it as a team.”
The Gophers posted a season-best team score of 57.850 on high-bar that was the third-best total of the evening session. Minnesota also notched its third-best p-bars score of the year, combining for 58.000.
But as the Gophers pulled off surprising performances on those two events, the team missed on its signature event, vault.
An injury to sophomore Adam Reichow on vault and an uncharacteristic performance by Mays resulted in the second-lowest team vault score of the season for Minnesota.
“Adam's injury definitely took a little wind out of our sails,” Burns said. “Although we got two guys to Day two on vault it was a shame that Mitchell didn't advance.”
The 2008 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships will resume at Stanford University Friday night at 9 p.m. (CDT). The competition will determine the team and all-around champions as well as the top 10 qualifiers on each apparatus for Saturday night’s individual event finals.
66th National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships
April 17-19, 2008
Session II Qualifier Final Team Results
1. Stanford, 363.850; 2. Illinois, 359.300; 3. California, 357.100; 4. MINNESOTA, 349.150; 5. Iowa, 339.850; 6. Temple, 333.000.