Minnesota to be tested as they host No. 5 Penn State

MenâÄôs gymnastics coach Mike Burns has had one overriding philosophy in his five years of coaching Minnesota about what it takes to beat Big Ten teams. For him, it always comes down to who has the most ice-water in their veins at the end. And as the Gophers enter SaturdayâÄôs Iceberg Invitational , their veins are frozen over. ItâÄôs been a drastic change from a 2008 team that was often unable to finish routines on a highpoint, often resulting in losses. âÄúThe thing weâÄôve really been keying in on is just keeping the energy level high throughout the meet from start to finish. Last year we struggled with the finishing part of that. This year finishing has been a lot better,âÄù Burns said. And Minnesota couldnâÄôt want to finish stronger this weekend in their first dual meet of the season vs. No. 5 Penn State. The Nittany Lions return from their 2008 championship season with their one true standout: Casey Sandy, an NCAA champion and the current No 1 all-arounder in the nation. While Casey is easily the biggest threat to the Gophers, according to Burns and his team, itâÄôs a toss-up for the team that wants it most. âÄúTheyâÄôre the team to beat in the Big Ten right now, and we proved it last weekend that we can score as good as them. ItâÄôs just whoâÄôs going to be able to show up on Saturday,âÄù junior Andre Berry said. Penn State is ranked two spots higher in the polls, is on average scoring on point higher on the season, and has Casey Sandy. But Minnesota has prided itself on its entire team effort this season. âÄúWhat I see is everybody is stepping into a position of leadership based on what they do when they raise their hand and salute their judge,âÄù Burns said. âÄúEverybodyâÄôs got a piece of the pie.âÄù For Saturday, it seems, Minnesota wonâÄôt go down without finishing the whole thing. Gophers women gymnastics also isnâÄôt the least bit concerned about tonightâÄôs competition or last weekendâÄôs close loss to Michigan. The women, who face No. 7 Oklahoma, have their biggest challenge thus far not only in the Sooners , but in proving to themselves they are reaching their full potential. So far, so good, according to co-head coach Jim Stephenson . âÄúThis team is doing everything to be the best they can be. Everybody is on that page, theyâÄôre all on that bus, and when you have women like that on a team, you see progress with them every day.âÄù