The Gophers have four freshmen on this year’s roster. This week meet Minneapolis, Minn. native Henry Meeker. If the name sounds familiar to Gopher fans that is because Meeker’s father Brian competed in men’s gymnastics for Minnesota from 1979-1982 and was a Big Ten champion gymnast and five-time All-American. Henry was a state gymnast from 2011-2017 and qualified for his first Junior Olympic Nationals competition as just a sixth grader. He finished fifth on pommel horse and parallel bars at the 2017 nationals and finished fourth place in all-around at the 2017 Junior Olympic Nationals. His top all-around score was a 79.1.
Gopher Sports: How is your time on campus so far? Anything surprise you so far?
Henry Meeker: My time on campus thus far has been trying, but overall pretty great. There is a lot to get used to and it's definitely been a change of pace. What's surprised me the most are the labs. They are so much more intense than in high school but they're so much more interesting and rewarding.
GS: What are you most looking forward to in your first school year and season?
HM: I'm really looking forward to being able to choose so much about my life. In the past, many things about life and gymnastics were decided for me. Now in college I have so much more independence. College will be an excellent time to develop myself socially, academically and athletically.
GS: What has it been like to meet your teammates? Who is the funniest teammate so far?
HM: It's been spectacular getting to know the team. Every person brings their own special something to the team and we've already been through a lot together. I totally understand the feeling of the team being family now. It's a close competition, but I'd say Shaun Herzog is the funniest teammate so far.
GS: What is your favorite gymnastics event?
HM: My favorite event is the pommel horse. The challenge, both physical and mental, makes succeeding on it so gratifying.
GS: Favorite gymnastics memory?
HM: My favorite gymnastics memory is my first Elite Team Cup competition in 2016. It was the first time I was representing more than just my gym, I was competing for our entire region. That feeling of being an ambassador comes with strong sense of pride and allegiance. Knowing that feeling, I'm really looking forward to representing the University of Minnesota in the coming years.
GS: What do you enjoy doing outside of gymnastics?
HM: With what little free time I have outside of gymnastics and school, I enjoy hanging out with the team, listening to music and binging on Netflix shows. Currently on the fourth season of Breaking Bad and I'm totally hooked.
GS: What is one thing Gopher fans should know about you?
HM: While I may be the son of a former Gopher gymnast, I'm ready to set my own path and leave my own legacy at the University of Minnesota.
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