University of Minnesota men's head gymnastics coach Mike Burns has announced the signing of Adam Kern (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Justin Morinishi (Chesterfield, Mo.) to National Letters of Intent. Both Kern and Morinishi will be freshmen in the Gopher gymnastics program next season.
"Both of these young men are outstanding students as well as solid athletes," Burns said. "Adam will be pursuing a degree in business, while Justin will be focusing on a degree in engineering. Both have been USAG All-America Scholar-Athletes for the past several years and bring a wealth of talent to the Gopher program."
Kern will graduate from Eldorado High School later this spring. He was a letter-winner in diving for his high school, finishing fourth in the New Mexico State Swimming and Diving Championships. He also was a member of National Honor Society and Student Senate.
Kern competed for the Sandia Acroabatic Gymnastics Academy in Albuquerque. He was the state floor exercise champion and won the Region 9 floor exercise and pommel horse championships in 2010. In 2009, he qualified for Junior Olympic Nationals and has also earned USAG All-America Scholar-Athlete honors.
Kern qualified for Junior Olympic Nationals for five straight years, between 2005 and 2009. He won the Region 9 floor exercise championship in 2006.
"Adam should make an immediate impact on both floor exercise and pommel horse where he recently won both of these events at the Region 9 Championships," Burns said. "He is also a solid all-around competitor and qualified to compete as a member of the Regional Team at the upcoming Junior National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. I'm really looking forward to working with Adam and integrating him into the Golden Gopher program."
Morinishi will graduate from Marquette High School later this spring. He has been an academic letter-winner and member of National Honor Society during his tenure in high school. He is also a four-time All-America Scholar-Athlete, as named by USA Gymnastics. Morinishi is also an Eagle Scout.
Morinishi competed for the St. Louis Gym Centre, where he is a six-time Junior Olympic Nationals qualifier. He finished 35th in the all-around at the Level 10 Junior Olympic Championships in 2008. In 2010, he finished fifth in the all-around at the Region 3 Championships. He has finished in the top 12 of the all-around at the Region 3 championships four of the last five years.
Morinishi is a three-time state all-around champion. He won the still rings and vault at the Missouri State Championships in 2010, while finishing third in the all-around. In addition to the all-around, he won the floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings and parallel bars in 2009. In 2008, he won the all-around, floor, rings, vault, bars and high bar state titles.
"Justin qualified as a member of the Region 3 Team, which is a major accomplishment since Region 3 develops some of the top college recruits every year," Burns said. "Justin doesn't really have a weak event and I envision him turning into a real star for the Gophers in the near future."