Top teams too strong for U men’s gymnasts

Michael Dougherty

When you are 0-12 (0-6 in dual meets) and you’ve got the first- and third-ranked teams in the nation coming to town, there’s a temptation to just duck and cover.
But the Gophers men’s gymnastics team refused to do that, turning in a couple of valiant efforts in defeat against No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 Nebraska this weekend at the Sports Pavilion.
Against Iowa on Sunday afternoon the Gophers recorded a season- high 222.9, but were still bested by Iowa’s 226.4. Minnesota’s previous season-high was 222.575 points against Michigan on Feb. 14.
Leading the way for the Gophers was junior Jason Krob, who won the title on the pommel horse with a 9.70. He has two first-place and four second-place finishes in the six dual meets this season.
Senior co-captain George Beatty scored a 9.6 in capturing second place on the pommel horse. He also took third place with a 9.3 on the high bar.
Finishing second for the Gophers were sophomores Lindsey Fang and Ryan Winterbourne. Fang scored a 9.65 on the parallel bars and a 54.975 in the all-around, and Winterbourne scored a 9.45 on the still rings.
On Friday night, the Gophers lost to Nebraska 229.575-221.275. Despite the loss, Gophers head coach Fred Roethlisberger said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Well, it was a major improvement,” he said. “It really encourages me to think that we have a chance of finishing in the top half of the Big Ten.”
The pommel horse again was the strength for the Gophers, as Beatty captured the title and Krob took second with scores of 9.65 and 9.6, respectively.
Fang took third place on the vault with a score of 9.55, and Chad Conner tied for third on the parallel bars with a score of 9.65.
Freshman walk-on Bob Goss had a tough night, as he fell on both the parallel bars and the high bar.
Fortunately for Minnesota, he rebounded against Iowa and set three new career highs. He scored a 9.15 on the parallel bars, a 9.20 on the floor exercise and a 9.40 on the pommel horse.
After the Nebraska meet, Roethlisberger said he felt the scores weren’t as high as they could have been.
“There is no question we did better than the Michigan meet, but we scored lower,” he said.
Nebraska was paced by a squad that has six gymnasts ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
The tell-tale statistic of the night was the fact that Nebraska turned in one score under 9.0 on the night, while Minnesota recorded 14.
The 15th-ranked Gophers end their regular season by hosting No. 12 Illinois on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.