June 27, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – The Golden Gopher men’s gymnastics team will add eight incoming gymnasts to its roster for 2015, with the spring addition of Luke Aldrich and Joel Gagnon bringing more talent to an already deep recruiting class. Aldrich and Gagnon round out Minnesota’s recruiting class to offset the loss of the Gophers’ eight 2014 seniors.
Luke Aldrich (Amherst, Mass.)
Aldrich joins the Gophers from Amherst, Mass., competing for coaches Tim Daggett, Darren Morace and RJ Heflin at Tim Daggett Gold Medal Gymnastics where he competed alongside current Gopher Danny DiBenedetto. The son of Bruce and Sandra Aldrich, he plans to attend medical school.
This spring, Aldrich was the Massachusetts state champion in the all-around with a score of 81.700. He also took first on pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and high bar, and finished second on vault and third on floor exercise.
Aldrich went on to win the pommel horse title and finish second on vault at the Region 6 Championships before helping Daggett’s Gymnastics to a fifth-place finish at the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships. He scored a 14.300 on vault and a 13.400 on high bar on the way to a 19th-place finish in the all-around.
Mike Burns on Aldrich: "Luke is an all-arounder, but his best event is pommel horse. We knew we were in the market for another pommel horse guy, and he has some really great capabilities there. With all of the guys we lost last year to graduation, he's definitely going to have an impact and be right there to win a spot in the pommel horse line-up this year."
Joel Gagnon (Regina, Saskatchewan)
The son of Adrienne and Paul Gagnon, Joel Gagnon is from Regina, Saskatchewan, and competed for the Taiso Gymnastics Club under Coach Markos Baikas. This spring, Gagnon placed fifth on floor exercise, sixth on high bar and seventh in all-around at 2014 Elite Canada Senior Championships. He also took second in the all-around at the 2014 Saskatchewan Provincial Senior Championships.
In March 2014, Gagnon was named to the Gymnastics Canada Senior National Men’s B Team. He also competed in the all-around as a member of Team Canada at the University of Calgary International Cup in April 2014, placing ninth in the all-around, fourth on high bar, fifth on rings and sixth on vault and parallel bars. Gagnon also took ninth on high bar and 16th on vault and the all-around at the 2014 Canadian Senior National Championships.
Mike Burns on Gagnon: "Joel brings an international flair to the team since he’s Canadian. He competed in his first senior national championships at the end of May, so that was good experience for him. He’s a smart kid, and he’ll be a great student for us. We think he’s going to have a big impact on high bar, which has been one of our weaker events, and he has a really good floor exercise. His vault is solid, and his rings could be very good, too. He’s going to give us some really solid routines."
Gagnon and Aldrich will join the Gophers’ already robust incoming class, which also includes commitments from gymnasts Ryan Bergman, Tristan Duran, Jack Kramer, Yaroslav Pochinka, Jalon Stephens and Alex Wittenberg.
With Minnesota losing eight seniors from the 2014 team, the incoming class has big shoes to fill, but the newcomers are expected to have a big impact on the program right away.
The Gophers open the 2015 season with the exhibition Alumni Meet at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.
Shashank's Redemption: Journey to Most Improved
University of Minnesota men's gymnastics sophomore Shashank Yallamraju was named the Gophers' Most Improved Gymnast of the 2016 season.
Wittenberg's NCAA Address
Alex Wittenberg was chosen as the student-athlete representative for the 2016 Men's Gymnastics NCAA Championships.
Gophers Finish Sixth at NCAA Championships
Minnesota tallied four All-America finishes and its best team finish in nine years.