Finally, Kutyla climbs to the top

The senior hadn’t won an event in his career until last week against Illinois.

Senior Timmy Kutyla competes in the parallel bars at the Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.

Jack Rodgers

Senior Timmy Kutyla competes in the parallel bars at the Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.

AJ Condon

For the first time in his career, Gopher men’s gymnast Timmy Kutyla saw his name at the top of the standings. 

The senior captain for the Minnesota squad has competed in the high bar event in every meet for the Gophers dating back to the beginning of his sophomore year, but until last week, he had never won an event. 

That changed on Friday, Jan. 24, when Kutyla earned his first career event title in the high bar with a score of 13.850. 

“I feel like, for me, it’s about time,” Kutyla said with a laugh. “I’m really happy with my performance and I can’t wait to keep performing like that.”

With his showing against the Illini and at the Rocky Mountain Open, where he scored a 13.900, Kutlya has achieved the two highest scores of his career in the high bar in his last three events. 

His average score has steadily risen each year, from 12.339 his sophomore season to 13.083 last season and now 13.783 in a small sample size as a senior. 

To head coach Mike Burns, it’s the natural maturation process for a college gymnast. 

“I kind of always talk about these guys being able, and then they become capable, then capable becomes dependable and then you can become unstoppable,” Burns said. “[Timmy] is at the dependable stage right now. To see where he’s at right now and to see that sort of materializing has been really heartening for me to see.”

Kutyla, however, isn’t just focused on his gymnastics. As the only senior on the team, Kutyla wants to help the younger guys on the team like how he was helped by Gophers alum Tristan Duran his freshman year.

“I didn’t know anyone except a junior named Tristan Duran who kind of brought me under his wing,” Kutyla said. “That’s kind of how I try to bring in new freshmen by just honestly showing them like what the true team is, not trying to be fake or anything and really bring them into the family.”

Though Kutyla isn’t always the most vocal leader on the team, he is able to use leading by example to help this team.

“I think a certain level of quietness also provides a level of calmness that everyone can sort of tap into,” Burns said. “In this sport, there’s a lot of emotional spikes when things maybe don’t quite go according to plan, and [Timmy] has had those moments and he finds a way to calmly work his way through it.”

As a sophomore, David Pochinka looks up to Kutyla.

“[Timmy] impacts me a lot. His energy is really different from, I think, really anyone. He has this aura about him, like you want to gravitate towards him,” Pochinka said. “He brings you up a lot and he is a person I would want to be.”

Going into his final season, Kutyla has team and personal goals that he wants to achieve and thinks he and the team are on the right track. 

“My goal is to make this team a championship team,” Kutyla said. “Some personal goals are to All-American on high bar and All-American on parallel bars. I’m on the track right now, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA [on high bar], so I’m excited for that.”