One former University of Minnesota gymnast took a step toward the 2008 Summer Olympics and one future Gopher earned a spot on the U.S. Junior National Team over the weekend at the Visa Championships at Houston’s Reliant Center.
Former Gopher Guillermo Alvarez finished seventh in the all-around. That finish earned him a spot on the U.S. Senior National Team and a berth in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials, slated for June 19-22 in Philadelphia. Alvarez’s top individual event finish came in the pommel horse, where he took fourth place. He was seventh in the floor exercise. Alvarez finished in the top 15, among the 39 competitors, in every event.
Two other former Gophers took part in the Visa Championships. Clay Strother finished 21st in the all-around. Strother’s best individual event effort came in the pommel horse, where he finished third. Jake Lee also competed in the event and was 32nd in the all-around.
For junior competitors, the Visa Championships also served as the qualifying meet for the Junior National Team. Two future Minnesota student-athletes -- Russell Dabritz and D.J. Repp -- both took part and recorded strong results. Dabritz finished fourth in the all-around. Repp tied for ninth in the all-around, despite coming off a recent ankle injury.
Dabritz’s score of 82.500 in the all-around was good enough to earn him a spot on the Junior National Team. He was solid throughout the competition, taking four top-five finishes in the six events. Dabritz tied for third on the high bar, for his best finish of the competition.
Repp won the gold in the still rings at the Visa Championships. He also had top-10 finishes in the floor exercise and the high bar.
"I'm really excited about how well our new guys did at this meet," said coach Mike Burns. "They will bring some excellent credentials to our program when they arrive on campus this coming fall."