May 17, 2012
Paul Montague, Michael Farquhar, and Danny DiBenedetto will be freshmen at the University of Minnesota next year and are the newest members of the Golden Gopher men’s gymnastics team.
Montague was recruited from Swiss Turner's Gymnastics in West Allis, Wisconsin, Farquhar from St. Charles Gymnastics in St. Charles, Illinois, and DiBenedetto from Daggett's Gymnastics in Agawam, Massachusetts.
The three incoming freshmen recently competed in the All-Around Finals at the 2012 Junior National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio.
All three gymnasts qualified to the All-Around Finals on Thursday, May 10th, from a field of 205 gymnasts in the Level 10, 16-18 year old age group. The top 36 All-Around gymnasts advanced to Saturday’s competition where the 2012 National All-Around Champion was crowned. Saturday’s meet also determined the 19 qualifiers to the 2012 VISA Championships that current Gopher gymnast and sophomore Zack Chase qualified for at the previous weekend's US National Qualifier.
The trio of soon-to-be Golden Gophers all finished the competition in the top 25 in the All-Around. Farquhar finished 19th with a score of 169.35, DiBenedetto finished 24th with a score of 167.65, and Montague finished 25th with a score of 167.25.
Both DiBenedetto and Montague qualified for the Junior Division of the VISA Championships. Farquhar does not meet the age requirement to qualify to the VISA Championships.
“This was a great weekend for the Gophers as all three of our incoming freshmen qualified to the All-Around Finals. They all did a great job, hitting 36 of 36 routines throughout the course of the two days of competition,” head coach Mike Burns said. “I'm very excited about our program next year with these three gymnasts committing to Minnesota. I know they will contribute a lot to our team in the years to come.”
DiBenedetto had the opportunity to compete again on Sunday in the Event Finals on High Bar. He finished the meet in second place on that event with a two-day total of 28.75 (14.40 and 14.35).
“Danny does a very difficult and risky routine that the judges really liked,” Burns said. “Out of 205 Level 10, 16-18 year old gymnasts, he is currently the number two gymnast in the country on high bar. That's amazing and we are happy that he'll be scoring points for the Gophers next season.”
Montague finished tied for ninth on pommel horse, just 0.35 points away from the top six cutoff to compete in the Event Finals. He also finished in a tie for seventh on still rings, only 0.05 points away from the top six and advancing to Sunday’s meet.
Farquhar, the top finisher in the All-Around out the three future Gopher gymnasts, will be coming to campus in June to start summer school.
“This is a great group of kids,” Burns said. “I feel lucky to have such great kids from such great programs and families coming to be a part of the Gopher program.”
Preview: Gophers set for quad at Stanford
Minnesota will travel this weekend to compete against Stanford, and the National Teams from both Japan and Canada.
Day Two: Winter Cup Challenge
Stephens finished 23rd in the all-around competition, while alum Mannon finished fifth on pommel horse. Incoming freshman Wiskus also competed in the all-around finals, finishing 12th.
Day One: Winter Cup Challenge
Stephens, Wiskus, Mannon advance to the 2017 Winter Cup Challenge finals this Saturday, Feb. 18. in Las Vegas, Nev.