Dec. 12, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – National No. 9 Minnesota has been ranked fifth in the 2014 Big Ten Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced Thursday.
Reigning NCAA and Big Ten champion Michigan earned the unanimous first-place ranking by the league's coaches. The Wolverines, who have captured 16 Big Ten titles, were followed by Ohio State, Illinois, Penn State and Minnesota. Iowa and Nebraska were ranked sixth and seventh in the preseason poll, respectively.
Minnesota finished third at the 2013 Big Ten Conference Championships, earning its first podium finish since also placing third in 2007. The Gophers hosted the championships at the Sports Pavilion.
The Big Ten also announced this season's Gymnasts to Watch List, including Minnesota juniors Steve Jaciuk (New Berlin, Wis.) and Ellis Mannon (Indianapolis). The list includes three 2013 All-Big Ten honorees returning for the 2014 campaign. Along with Mannon, who was named to the All-Big Ten second team last year, Illinois' Fred Hartville and Michigan's Adrian de los Angeles were first-team All-Big Ten selections last season and return this season.
As a sophomore, Jaciuk was honored as the Gophers' most valuable gymnast. He competed on rings, parallel bars and high bar at 12 meets. Jaciuk finished third on high bar at the 2013 Big Ten Championships with a score of 15.000. He earned career-bests on parallel bars (15.150) and high bar (15.350) at Oklahoma. Jaciuk ended his sophomore season by taking seventh on the parallel bars (14.700) at the NCAA qualifier.
Last season, Mannon earned All-American honors after finishing as the runner-up on the pommel horse at the NCAA national championships. Mannon also finished second on pommel horse (14.850) and tied for 22nd on vault (14.600) at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. As a sophomore, Mannon earned career highs on rings (13.950), vault (14.700), pommel horse (15.400) and parallel bars (14.550).
The Gophers begin the 2014 season with the annual Alumni Meet on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. The action gets underway at 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll
2. Ohio State
4. Penn State
Big Ten Men's Gymnasts to Watch List
Fred Hartville, So., Illinois
C.J. Maestas, So., Illinois
Jack Boyle, So., Iowa
Matt McGrath, Sr., Iowa
Adrian de los Angeles, Jr., Michigan
Dylan James, Sr., Michigan
Steve Jaciuk, Jr., Minnesota
Ellis Mannon, Jr., Minnesota
Austin Epperson, Fr., Nebraska
Travis Gollott, Fr., Nebraska
Jake Martin, So., Ohio State
Sean Melton, Fr., Ohio State
Trevor Howard, So., Penn State
Alexis Torres, So., Penn State
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