Gopher Gymnasts Hand Out Year-End Awards The Minnesota men's gymnastics team wrapped up its season with its annual awards banquet Monday.
The University of Minnesota men's gymnastics program celebrated its 2010 season with its season-ending banquet and awards ceremony Monday at the M-Club Room in TCF Bank Stadium.
"I always enjoy looking back over a completed season to think about all the good things we were able to accomplish as a team," head coach Mike Burns said. "We finished our season on a very high note at the NCAA Championships. The guys competed very well at West Point, hitting 83.4 percent of their routines. This was more than double the hit percentage we posted in the season-opener at the Windy City Invitational."
Senior all-arounder Aaron Fortunato (Bedford, Ohio) was named the Gophers' Most Valuable Gymnast. Minnesota's workhorse, Fortunato competed in each event of every meet during the 2010 season.
"One of the things about Aaron that has been amazing is his ability to go six events in every meet," Burns said. "He had a great season. He was a Nissen-Emery finalist. In my mind he was our most valuable gymnast and he was in your minds as well, because you voted him to that award."
Harris Coleman (Gainesville, Fla.) was named the team's Freshman of the Year, while Colin McGuire (Plano, Texas) was the Most Improved Competitor and Adam LaFleur (New Brighton, Minn.) was named the Most Improved Gymnast.
McGuire, Thomas O'Brien (Westfield, N.J.) and Cole Storer (Plano, Texas) each were honored with an Outstanding Accomplishment award. O'Brien was honored with this award for his third-place finish on the pommel horse at the Big Ten Championships. McGuire was recognized for his third-place floor exercise finish at the Big Ten meet. Storer was recognized for the All-America honor he earned at the NCAA Championships.
Michael Paulus (Maple Grove, Minn.) was named the winner of the Coaches Appreciation Award. Adam Reichow (Eden Prairie, Minn.) was named the winner of Minnesota's Most Inspirational Award. The Spirit of Gopher Gymnastics award went to Andre Berry (Hempstead, Texas).
The team also recognized academic achievement at its banquet. Burns started that segment of the program by congratulating the entire team for winning the University's Norman Bourlaug Academic Progress Award as the men's team with the largest academic improvement in 2009.
In addition to the team award, the Gopher gymnastics program hands out Academic Achievement Awards. First Team Academic Excellence Awards are given to those who have a grade-point average of 3.5 or better. Second Team Academic Excellence Awards are earned by those who compile a GPA of 3.0-3.49.
First Team Academic Excellence awards were given to Russell Dabritz (Rowley, Mass.), Fortunato, Jesse Moravec (Rochester, Minn.), O'Brien, Reichow and DJ Repp (Albuquerque, N.M.). Second Team Academic Excellence awards were handed out to Ali Aleiou (Brookfield, Wis.), Travis Heaver (Mendota Heights, Minn.), Michael Hillin (Sr., San Antonio, Texas), McGuire, Paulus, Storer and Josh Wokurka (Lombard, Ill.).
Thirteen of Minnesota's 19 gymnasts carry a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
In addition to the team awards, M-Club Director George Adzick was on hand to present awards to letter-winners. Winners of Academic All-Big Ten certificates were also recognized at Monday's event.
Finally, with Monday's event serving as the final look back at the 2010 Gopher Men's Gymnastics team, it also served as the first official event for the 2011 squad. With that, Burns announced the captains for the upcoming season.
A trio of Minnesotans will lead the Gophers next season. Heaver, LaFleur and Paulus will serve in the capacity of team captains in 2011.