MINNEAPOLIS – The Gopher men’s gymnastics team welcomes 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 Jack Kramer. Kramer is from Charlotte, N.C., and competed at Zenith gymnastics under coaches Stass Savitch and Tom Lombardo.
Kramer was the 2014 North Carolina all-around state champion, and also won the pommel horse, still rings and vault state titles. Kramer is also a seven-time USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic national qualifier, and he finished 14th in the all-around at 2014 USA Gymnastics Junior National Championships in the Junior Elite division.
How did you first get into gymnastics?
I first got into gymnastics when my mom forced me to watch my sister practice gymnastics. While watching, I noticed the boys team working out on rings, and it looked like a lot of fun. My mom signed me up for gymnastics classes immediately after that.
What other sports did you play growing up?
Aside from gymnastics, I really enjoyed playing soccer as well. Even though I was really small, I could still run faster than almost all the other guys. When gymnastics became a bigger part of my life, I was forced to give it up.
You were also a very successful diver in high school. How did you start diving, and do you think it helped with gymnastics at all?
Just like I got into gymnastics, I got into diving because my sister swam for the high school team. My sister told the coach that her younger brother was a gymnast and would probably be a successful diver. As a freshman, I decided that I would give it a try. Diving was very easy for me to get a hang of because it was so similar to gymnastics. I qualified for state all four years and was also our conference champion my junior year. I would say that gymnastics helped my diving much more than my diving helped my gymnastics.
How did you end up choosing the University of Minnesota?
I chose the U because of how great my recruiting trip was. During my visit, I felt like I was a great fit on the team and all the guys were so nice. In addition to having such a great team, I know that the coaching staff is phenomenal. I can see myself really loving it here.
What’s your favorite event?
My favorite event is definitely high bar. I’m the type of gymnast that will attempt almost anything whether I am ready or not and this has definitely helped me improve at high bar. I really enjoy doing the high flying skills.
Do you have a major in mind?
I plan on majoring in chemical engineering because I am really fascinated by science and also excel in math.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I'm almost always hanging out with friends. During the summer, I do a lot of fishing and hanging out by the pool.
Do you have a pre-meet ritual or routine?
I don’t really have any pre-meet rituals aside from making sure I eat a healthy snack usually consisting of fruit and peanut butter.
What are you most looking forward to about Gophers men’s gymnastics?
I am looking forward to being part of a great team that will always push me to reach my full potential. I can’t wait to see what all we can accomplish in the years to come.
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.
Gophers Duo Set for Winter Cup Challenge
Minnesota juniors Tristan Duran and Jalon Stephens are off to Las Vegas, Nev. for the 2017 Winter Cup Challenge.