Former Gopher standouts Guillermo Alvarez and Clay Strother earned spots on the 2007 U.S. Senior National Team and Minnesota head coach Mike Burns was named the 2007 USA Gymnastics Men’s Coach of the Year Friday at the VISA Championships in San Jose, Calif.
Alvarez placed second in the all-around competition, posting a combined score of 179.10 to finish just 0.2 points behind all-around champion David Durante.
Alvarez completed the competition without missing a routine and posted the highest finish of his career at a VISA Championship. His performance was highlighted by a second-place finish on vault (31.45) and thirds on both floor exercise (30.90) and pommel horse (29.55).
“After winning the Bronze Medal at the Pan Am Games last month, finishing second at the VISA Championships is a great accomplishment for Guillermo,” said Burns. “This is by far the best two-day competition Guillermo has had and he should secure a berth on the 2007 World Championships team.”
Strother also put together a solid meet on his way to earning a place on the national team for the sixth straight year. Strother competed in five events, with his best placing coming on pommel horse with a two-day total of 29.90. Strother also finished 7th on vault (31.25) and 8th on parallel bars (29.80).
“Clay continues to impress me with his abilities in this sport,” said Burns. “He did a great job at this meet and not only earned a spot on the Senior National Team again but he also put himself in the running for the 2007 World Championships Team.”
Gopher sophomore-to-be Cole Storer (Plano, Texas) also competed on Day 2 of the VISA Championships and put together three solid events. Starting on vault, Cole stuck his layout Yurchenko double full and posted a combined score of 15.6 to finish in sixth place with a total of 31.30. On high bar he finished 15th with a total of 27.45 and on floor exercise he placed 11th overall with a total of 29.55.
“Cole was impressive again on these three events and he seems to thrive on the pressure of competition,” Burns said. “The long range plan is to get Cole back in the all-around but he certainly turned a lot of heads this weekend at the VISA Championships.”
Burns, who will begin his fourth year as Minnesota’s head men’s gymnastics coach this fall, said he was surprised and honored to be named the 2007 USA Gymnastics Men’s Coach of the Year.
“This is a totally unexpected moment,” said Burns after receiving the award. “I want to thank all my coaching peers who voted for me; it’s an honor to win with so many tremendous coaches in the field.”