Senior Mitchell Mays, junior Kit Beikmann and sophomore Cole Storer advanced to the individual event finals at the 66th National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships Friday night at Maples Pavilion and will battle for national titles in four events.
Mays, the nation’s No. 1 vaulter all season long, was the big story of the night for the Golden Gophers. The senior missed on his vault attempt during Thursday’s team competition and was presumed eliminated from contention for a national title on the event as the No. 4 qualifier only the top three scores from non-advancing teams qualify.
He was given a reprieve on Friday when teammate Colin McGuire, the No. 3 qualifier, stepped aside and allowed Mays to take his spot.
With new life in his signature event, Mays turned in his routine of year, earning a season-high score of 16.700 from the judges to win the event after performing his Tsukahara double pike to near perfection.
Mays also turned in solid scores on still rings and parallel bars but was unable to advance on either apparatus. The senior equaled his season-high score on still rings, earning a 15.100 to tie for 20th, and tied for 32nd on parallel bars.
He will be joined in the event finals by Beikmann, who placed sixth on pommel horse with a score of 14.400 and will take aim at earning his second consecutive All-American citation in the event.
Storer, an All-American on floor exercise last season, was the only Gopher to advance in multiple events. The sophomore tied for fifth on vault with a season-high score of 16.100 and also qualified for the finals on high bar, earning a score of 14.800 to finish in sixth place.
Other Gophers in action on Friday night who were unable to reach Saturday’s indiviudal event finals included, sophomore Andre Berry, who placed 36th on floor and tied for 39th on pommel horse; McGuire, who tied for 42nd on floor; senior co-captain Sergei Dmitriev, who concluded his career with a tie for 23rd on high bar, a tie for 24th on parallel bars and a 46th-place finish on rings; sophomore Aaron Fortunato, who tied for 28th on still rings; and senior co-captain Steve Vuong, who tied for 47th on high bar in his final appearance as a Gopher.
The individual event finals at the National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships get underway at 9 p.m. (CDT) Saturday night at Stanford University.