Flipping to the Next Chapter
June 11, 2018

Make sure to follow Gopher men's gymnastics on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

For the past few seasons you could not be around the University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics program without seeing the impact that Joel Gagnon and Alex Wittenberg had on their teammates.

Gagnon was a three-year captain and Wittenberg a two-year captain. They helped take the Gophers to new heights including a national second place finish this past season.

“They already paved the way for us,” junior Timmy Kutyla said. “They taught us everything they know. They taught us the culture of the sport and this team.”

A new chapter is starting for the Maroon and Gold. Ten seniors are moving on while nine freshmen will step foot into Cooke Hall. Kutlya along with seniors Shaun Herzog and Vitali Kan are all first-year captains who will look to glue it all together. 

“It’s definitely going to be different in the gym but what we did last year was build up a really solid foundation,” Kan said. “We have a really strong culture to keep it going into next year.”

As is tradition, the captains were hand-picked by the team including the outgoing seniors. Each team member has a choice on if they want one, two or three captains and who they think those captains should be.

“It meant a lot to me, it shows the trust that my teammates and coaches have in me,” Herzog said.

“I thought I had a good chance to be captain,” Kutyla said. “I see myself really involved with the team. I like to put myself out there as a leader and try to help people that I see are struggling.”

“I truly believe I have what it takes to be captain,” Kan said. “What is most important is that the team felt the same way.”

Kan is the most experienced of the three new captains. He has been a consistent scorer on four events for the Gophers in his career and is a two-time All-American on vault. Herzog broke out as a junior this past season. He set career-highs on all six events and earned All-American honors on rings. Kutyla will be the lone junior on the squad. He has scored on both p-bars and high bar in his first two seasons.

“I see the three of us working very well together as leaders,” Kan said. “We all bring something a little different to the team and we all have a different approach.”

While catching up so many newcomers will be a challenge, all three captains believe the culture in place will make it a smooth transition. They don’t see it slowing down the success from this past season.

“There is always room for improvement and coming off huge success last year, we are only looking to do more,” Kan said. “The freshmen are going to be ready because we are going to show them exactly how the team did it last year and we are hoping they can step in and help us do even greater things.”

Kutyla put it a bit more bluntly.

“These freshmen better be ready to work their butts off because we are out there to win,” the junior said.

Herzog knows the importance of being a strong captain alongside Kan and Kutyla but also feels assured by the entire returning core of guys on the team.

“I don’t see the team being anything drastically different than it was last year. Yes, we are losing a lot of guys and bringing in a lot of new ones, but we will still have the same goals as a unit,” Herzog said. “Our returning teammates know what it takes to be great, and it’s now up to us to get these new freshmen to tap into that mentality we all know so well. The leadership I see out of this team, not only from myself, Timmy and Vitali, is incredible and will be vital to our success next season. We’re ready for some new exciting memories to be made.”

Make sure to follow Gopher men's gymnastics on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

 

 

MORE HEADLINES

Trio Earns Academic All-America Honors

Trio Earns Academic All-America Honors

6/14/2018 - M. Gymnastics

Seniors Sydney Baldwin, Sidney Peters, and Yaroslav Pochinka have been named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America At-Large Teams.

Flipping to the Next Chapter

Flipping to the Next Chapter

6/11/2018 - M. Gymnastics

Junior Timmy Kutlya along with seniors Shaun Herzog and Vitali Kan are all first-year captains who will look to glue it all together.

Karstadt Wins Parallel Bars National Title

Karstadt Wins Parallel Bars National Title

5/27/2018 - M. Gymnastics

Justin Karstadt and Joel Gagnon competed at the Canadian National Championships this past weekend with Karstadt coming away with the parallel bars championship.

Get daily updates delivered to your inbox!

Proud Sponsors Of Gopher Athletics