Men win top-10 battle with Nebraska and Iowa

Also, the women’s team fell to Iowa State in its final home meet.

by Alexandra Pluym

The No. 6 Gophers menâÄôs gymnastics team put up its second-best score of the season in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday night , amassing 352.15 points to top No. 9 NebraskaâÄôs 350.55 and No. 10 IowaâÄôs 345.7. Senior Cole Storer had a personal-best score on the floor exercise with 15.4 points, helping the Gophers to a 61.15 finish on the event. Minnesota had four of the top seven scores on pommel horse in their 54.8 -point finish, but head coach Mike Burns still looks at the horse as an area that needs improvement. âÄúWe had a few spots where we made silly mistakes,âÄù he said. âÄúOn pommel horse we had some falls, and thatâÄôs not acceptable.âÄù On the rings, sophomore Russell Dabritz scored 14.8 to claim third place, helping the Gophers to a 57.7 finish overall, nearly a two-point improvement from a week ago. Seniors Colin McGuire and Aaron Fortunato scored 15.0 and 14.95 points, respectively, on the high bar, leading the way to MinnesotaâÄôs 58-point finish. Fortunato said the team has done everything it can so far but still isnâÄôt satisfied. âÄúI think one of our biggest goals is to win a championship,âÄù he said. âÄúBig Ten is our No. 1 goal.âÄù The GophersâÄô next meet is April 2 and 3 when they head to Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten Championships. Women fall but Russell shines The No. 25 Gophers womenâÄôs gymnastics team finished the regular season with strong performances but still has not completed all of its goals. Minnesota came in second with 195.3 points behind Iowa StateâÄôs 196.225 in the teamâÄôs final home meet of the season Saturday. Senior Alexis Russell placed first or second on every event but is still looking to add a championship to her college résumé. Russell scored 9.85 on vault, tying for first place in the meet and tied her personal-best score. As a team, Minnesota finished with 48.725 points, which is the top vault score this season for the Gophers. On the uneven bars, Minnesota earned 48.9 points . Russell finished with 9.875 points, tying her season-best bars score . Freshman Jasmine Brown competed on bars for the first time ever and scored 9.775 points. Junior Ana Balboa and Russell tied on the balance beam with 9.825 points to take second place at the meet. The Gophers finished the event with a total of 48.475 points. Minnesota had its highest score of the night on the floor exercise when five of the six competitors scored 9.8 or higher, pushing the Gophers to a 49.2 finish. Minnesota head coach Meg Stephenson said she was pleased with the final meet of the season and is looking ahead to the rest of the season, including next weekâÄôs Big Ten Championships. âÄúThe seasonâÄôs not over, so we still have time to reach our goals,âÄù she said. âÄúObviously our goal is to always do well at the Big Tens.âÄù RussellâÄôs outstanding performances on Senior Night earned her the meetâÄôs all-around performer award, earning 39.45 points and showing how much she really wants to win. âÄúIâÄôve been working really hard to get into competition, so IâÄôm proud of myself for that,âÄù Russell said. Although it was Senior Night, senior Jamie Bullock did not compete because of injury. âÄúI tried as hard as I could, but injuries hold me back a lot of the time,âÄù she said. âÄúEvery time I went out and competed, I did do my best, so IâÄôm really proud about that. I did what I could with my circumstances.âÄù