MINNEAPOLIS - Three representatives from the University of Minnesota men's gymnastics team are headed to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. to compete in the 2015 USA Gymnastics National Qualifier.
Sophmores Tristan Duran and Jalon Stephens join recent graduate Ellis Mannon this weekend to compete at the qualifier. The two-day event is the final opportunity for the gymnasts to qualify for a spot to compete in the 2015 P&G Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. in August.
During his rookie season, Stephens appeared in all eight regular-season meets plus the Big Ten and NCAA Championships and competed on parallel bars, floor exercise, high bar and vault. Stephens earned his highest marks on floor exercise (14.6) and vault (13.9) when the Gophers met Iowa and Nebraska on the road (2/14). At the Big Ten Championships (3/27), he notched a season-high 14.950 on the parallel bars and earned his high bar top mark (14.600) at the NCAA Team Qualifiers (4/9).
Duran capped off a stellar rookie season with the Gophers with a total of seven regular-season appearances as well as at the NCAA Championships. He competed in five events throughout the season: floor exercise, vault, parallel bars, high bar and the pommel horse. His season-high scores on both pommel horse (14.0) and parallel bars (14.75) were earned in front of a home crowd vs. Iowa (3/7). At the first regular-season home meet, Duran notched his season-high marks on high bar (13.6) and floor exercise (14.55). Finishing off the regular-season appearances on the road, he tallied his season-high score on vault (14.65).
To close off his senior season with the Gophers, Mannon defended his 2014 Big Ten pommel horse title with a score of 15.525 making him the first gymnast to claim back-to-back Championships on a single apparatus in over two decades. At the NCAA Individual Event Finals, Mannon finished seventh on the pommel horse and earned his third career All-America recognition. To add to his storied collegiate career, Mannon was named the NCAA/CGA Nissen-Emery Award recipient which is the highest honor in collegiate men's gymnastics.
A total of 96 gymnasts will be competiting this weekend for a shot at one of the 14 spots available in the P&G Championships field where the USA Senior and Junior National Teams will be selected.
According to USA Gymnastics, gymnasts can qualify for the senior division at the 2015 P&G Championships in the following ways:
Senior national team members following the 2015 Winter Cup Challenge automatically qualify for the championships. A minimum of 14 athletes will qualify to the P&G Championships based on the natinoal Points Ranking System from this weekend's national qualifier. The top six ranked all-arounders that are U.S. citizens from among the top 12 all-around athletes at the 2015 NCAA Championships also qualify to the P&G championships. This will total approximately 36 qualifiers.
The 2015 P&G Championships will be held August 13-16 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
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