Dec. 12, 2013
By Ben Gotz, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
MINNEAPOLIS – A senior gymnast from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adam Kern is excited to help lead a Gopher gymnastic’s squad that experienced plenty of success last year.
Kern competes in three different events, the pommel horse, vault and floor exercise. One of Kern’s favorite memories as a Gopher is the team taking third at the Big Ten Championships last year, and he wants to build on that success this year while inspiring the younger members of his team.
How did you first get into gymnastics?
Well, I was a very high energy kid when I was younger, and I did a lot of sports. My mom, to get some energy out of me, took me to a place called “Gymnastics is Fun,” and I loved the zipline there. So, it kind of stemmed from me loving the zipline and swinging through the air, and I liked it so much that I wanted to continue. I found a recreational program, and from there I went on to a teen program and just worked my way up.
What sports did you play growing up?
I used to do swimming, baseball and high school diving. I knew I had a better shot at going to a higher level school and a higher level education with gymnastics than with any of the other sports. So I chose gymnastics to focus on when I started high school, so I could get a college scholarship.
How did you pick Minnesota?
I actually have some ties to Minnesota because my dad is from Duluth. I love the Vikings, and I love the Twins. I tell recruits all the time, if you can see yourself coming here, and you feel comfortable with the guys, then it’s probably a good fit. That’s how I felt about Minnesota. I could see myself thriving here as a young athlete and professional when I get out of school. I plan to stay in the Twin Cities after I graduate. I was offered a position at Deloitte for accounting.
What was the adjustment like coming to Minnesota from New Mexico?
A lot of people feel like Albuquerque’s weather is a lot like Arizona, always hot, but it actually gets really cold because of the altitude. I don’t mind the cold. Actually, I like the cold, so my adjustment to Minnesota was really not that drastic.
What’s your favorite gymnastics memory?
I have to say the Big Ten Championships last year when we went 30 for 30. We hit all 30 routines and we took third. Nobody expected us to do it, but we’re grinders. We always pull through and it showed on that stage, on that night. It was one of the biggest highs I’ve ever had as an athlete. And it was at home, so that just added that much more excitement to everything. Everybody’s loud, and the people who usually come to cheer us on are alumni gymnasts, so they know how big it is when you go 100% with hitting routines. When everything comes together like that there’s just nothing like it. It’s indescribable; you just have to live it.
What do you think the team’s biggest strength is going to be this year?
People always love our team because we’re so close. We do everything together, we hang outside of the gym all the time. We all like each other and have each other’s backs. It really goes into the team atmosphere we have in the gym, we all push each other and get behind each other.
We also have a very large senior class this year that is just filled with good individuals. We’re setting the tone for the future of Gopher gymnastics. It’s our duty as guys leaving to make an impact on these younger guys.
What’s your favorite event?
My favorite event to compete in is vault. It’s a very fast event. It’s intense and very high energy. Any time someone on our team hits a vault, everyone is yelling and screaming. It’s so much fun.
Kern and the Gophers begin the 2014 season with the annual Alumni Meet on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
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.