June 10, 2012
The VISA Championships turned out to be an amazing showcase of gymnastics talent in St Louis. The tension to perform well was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and during the first day of competition there were many gymnasts that struggled with that pressure.
Minnesota junior-to-be Zack Chasecould be included in that group and his first-day performance was a little less than was expected.
"Zack looked great on every event on Thursday, but had trouble landing the dismount on all three routines," said head men's gymnastics coach Mike Burns. "It's definitely frustrating to have a gymnast go through a great routine then fall back on the dismount and Zack did that on all 3 events - Rings, Vault, and Floor Exercise."
In a meet of this caliber, these types of mistakes can be costly. With a day off between the two days of competition Chase was able to make a few adjustments in the training gym, but mostly it was a change in mental approach.
"It was like a breath was released after Thursday's meet and Zack just competed on Saturday with a little more confidence," said Burns.
It paid off and Zack was able to hit 100 percent on Day 2. On his best event, vault, he nearly stuck his landing and posted a score of 16.05. That was good enough for sixth place in the vault rankings on the second day and he was able to garner five points on the National Team Points System.
While Chase didn't make the cut to the Olympic Trials, he came away from the VISA Championships with two observations - he is capable of competing with the best gymnasts in this country and the United States men's gymnastics program is one of the best in the world.
"It was great competing alongside all of these guys and to know that five of them will be competing for the gold medal in London later this summer," said Chase.
The experience Chase gained at this meet will be invaluable and should carry over into him being a real team leader for the Gophers as he prepares for his junior year on the Gopher men's gymnastics team.
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