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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Men looking for change of venue to change results

As Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team’s season has progressed, the Gophers haven’t been able to outscore higher-ranked opponents.

Yet, the eighth-ranked Gophers haven’t been at home, and all that will change at 1 p.m. Saturday when they host a familiar foe in No. 9 Illinois-Chicago at the Sports Pavilion.

Minnesota only has had two meets thus far ” a dual meet that included six teams, all of which are ranked in the top 10 nationally, and last weekend’s meet against the Illinois.

This weekend, Minnesota faces an Illinois-Chicago squad that scored the least points out of the six-team meet from the Windy City Invitational.

“We’re a stronger team than (Illinois-Chicago),” coach Mike Burns said.

Burns also said the meet will be tough, because Illinois-Chicago is “improving” and has to manage some injuries.

On the Gophers end, the injury bug hit freshman Adam Reichow in last weekend’s meet where he broke his fibula during a vault.

“He presents a lot of the strength on the vault,” Burns said.

Despite the injury, Minnesota still has quality at the vault position with junior Jacob Lee.

Lee participates in all the events, and said the vault is an event that he has been doing for a while, to the point where he “almost” has it down.

Yet Lee said it is the high bar that might be his best event.

“That would be one of my better events,” Lee said, “and one of my most difficult events with the skills. And when I hit it, it will probably be my high score.”

Burns said the difficulty with the early-season meets is hitting all the routines.

“Each meet we’re utilizing as a way to prepare for the end of the season championship meet,” Burns said. “The only way to win is to do a more difficult routine.”

Women gymnasts flying

The Minnesota’s women’s gymnastics team also will be at home this Saturday where it will face Big Ten rival Penn State at 6 p.m.

No. 20 Minnesota has been able to sneak by its last two opponents by less than one point.

No. 7 Penn State, on the other hand, has placed second in both of its early-season triple- and quad-meets.

“From what we can tell, they’ve put together two really solid meets,” co-coach Meg Stephenson said. “So, I think if we can put together a really good meet, we’re going to be neck and neck.”

One area that Stephenson said she thought Minnesota is strong in but needs experience in is the balance beam.

“I think we’re young,” Stephenson said. “I just think getting a few more competitions under our belt is just going to build our confidence.”

Experience is short for the Gophers. The team only has three seniors, but it might be senior Laura Johnson who will carry the team in all the events this weekend.

“She’s just an exceptionally talented gymnast,” Stephenson said. “She’s upgraded her routines on all three of the apparatus ” floor, bar and beam.”

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