June 11, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota men's gymnastics team will welcome nine new freshmen to campus this fall, filling the void left by eight seniors departing the program following the 2014 season.
One of the many talented recruits the Gophers are adding to their roster is Yaroslav Pochinka. Pochinka was born in Ulyanovsk, Russia, but his current hometown is Plano, Texas.
Before joining the Gophers, Pochinka competed at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy for coach Pavel Sadovskiy. While with his club, Pochinka actually got the chance to compete against two of his Gopher teammates, Ellis Mannon and Steve Jaciuk, at the 2014 Winter Cup in Las Vegas.
What other sports did you play growing up?
I mostly did gymnastics; however I did swim competitively for a few years starting when I was four or five years old.
How did you end up choosing the University of Minnesota?
When taking my official visit, I saw how great of an opportunity studying in Minnesota can be.
What is your favorite event?
My favorite event would have to be rings, but vault is a close second.
Do you have a major or career field in mind?
I am planning on entering the pre-med program. I will be in the College of Biological Studies, but I'm still deciding on what major to pick.
What are your hobbies?
I like to read and hang out with friends. I also try to keep up with global gymnastics.
What are your pre-meet or pre-routine rituals?
I don't really have any pre-meet rituals. I just try to not be too tense or stressed going into the competition. I always stick three standing backflips in a row during warm-ups, and I always make sure to wear my warm-up jacket.
Competing at the Winter Cup was a great experience. It was a second chance to compete against the best gymnasts in the country. I did get a chance to talk to Coach Burns in Vegas, and I managed to say hi to Ellis and Steve. However because we were in different sessions on the first day, and they were busy competing on the second day, I wasn't able to say much.
What are you most looking forward to about being a part of Gopher men's gymnastics?
I am most looking forward to the team aspect. In February, I was able to join the Region 3 team at the first region championships. Competing as part of a team was one of the best experiences of the season, if not the best experience, so competing with one of the best teams in the country for the next four years will be amazing.
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.