Nov. 20, 2012
University of Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics head coach Mike Burns announced today that Mitchell Soukup and Zachary Liebler have signed National Letters of Intent to compete with the Golden Gophers. Soukup and Liebler will join the team next fall.
“I am excited about these two young gymnasts who will be part of the Golden Gophers program next year,” said Burns. “I know they can make us a better team.”
Soukup, who trains at Alamo Gymnastics in San Antonio, Texas, brings an impressive resume to the Golden Gophers. He is coached by Yuejin Sun and has competed and excelled in numerous national competitions. Soukup, who finished third in the state’s all-around competition this year and ninth in 2011, is expected to add immediate depth to the still rigns lineup due to his natural strength.
“Mitchell is the kind of guy who already possesses a high level of ring strength that will be a great addition to our team next year,” said Burns. “Not only will he help on rings but he is also the defending state and regional champion on the pommel horse so he brings us added depth to that event as well. I feel like Mitchell is just starting to realize his potential. When he joins the program next year and gets to train with a team of like-minded individuals he can only get better.”
Liebler is from Pine Island, Minn., and trains at Great Northern Gymnastics. He is coached by Bob Wuornos, Ron Hill and Keith Heaver. Liebler qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He finished second in the 2012 state all-around competition after finishing fourth in 2011 and third in 2010.
Liebler was the 2012 state champion in floor exercise and parallel bars. Burns sees him making an immediate impact for the Gophers in floor exercise, vault and high bar.
“I believe Zach has the right stuff on those three events to give us some added firepower,” said Burns. “Zach has a real gift with his uncanny ability to twist and this will serve him well on both floor and vault. He has made some great strides this year and I am looking forward to watching his progress his senior year. Zach has attended our summer camp, and I feel that his transition to our program will be seamless. I'm really looking forward to Zach wearing the Maroon and Gold next year especially since it's been a desire of his for as long as I've known him.”
The Gophers begin their 2013 season with an alumni meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the Sports Pavilion.
Minnesota Tops Canada, Falls to Japan and Stanford
Minnesota finished third with a score of 405.600 in a quad-meet with the Japanese National Team (425.800), Stanford (421.550) and the Canadian National Team (392.700) on Saturday night.
Preview: Gophers set for quad at Stanford
Minnesota will travel this weekend to compete against Stanford, and the National Teams from both Japan and Canada.
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.