Ohio State is too mighty in Burns’ dual meet debut

The Buckeyes beat the Gophers 218.875-210.050 Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

by David McCoy

As far as debuts go, it wasn’t one for the scrapbook.

“First meet of the season was pretty rough,” senior gymnast Guillermo Alvarez said. “We can definitely improve on (Saturday’s) performance, like staying on our equipment and hitting our sets.”

But despite losing 218.875-210.050 to powerful Ohio State, Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team was enthusiastic in new coach Mike Burns’ first dual meet Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

Senior Clinton Mays ran along the edge of the Sports Pavilion waving his arms and pumping up the crowd following his vault, which, at 9.2, earned him his second-best score of the day.

“Clinton Mays just had some really good things going on,” Burns said. “His scores didn’t necessarily show it, but his high bar routine was exciting. He didn’t get a super high score, but he inspired the team and inspired the crowd with that super high flying release move he did and the triple back dismount, which is kind of his trademark skill.”

Mays took second in the individual competition with an all-around score of 51.775. Senior Alvarez won it with an all-around score of 53.675.

But the Gophers still conceded all six events to the Buckeyes, and Alvarez was the only Minnesota gymnast who won an individual event, tying Ohio State’s Randy Monahan with a score of 9.575 for first in the floor exercise.

“We struggled tonight for sure; it wasn’t the sharpest we’ve looked,” Burns said. “But January’s kind of the time to get the bugs out. “The guys are not in the peak of shape right now. That’s part of what the competition season does for us.”

The best score of the evening belonged to Monahan, who scored a 9.7 on the still rings.

Mays said enthusiasm is exactly the gap that Burns fills – and it certainly wasn’t absent despite the lopsided score.

“The new coach is awesome. He makes it fun in the gym; he brings a new kind of feel to the team,” Mays said. “He makes everybody feel that they can contribute to some part of the team.”

Women second in Ohio

Minnesota’s women’s gymnastics team placed second behind third-ranked Michigan in the Ohio State Quadrangular on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

The 19th-ranked Minnesota team finished ahead of Ohio State and Maryland with a score of 193.925.

Junior Laura Johnson led the Gophers in three events, scoring as high as 9.875 on the vault.