Gophers dominate Falcons for first win

They rebounded from a fifth-place showing at the Windy City Invite.

Brad Bobel

Freshman Jack Kramer blew the doors wide open for Minnesota by scoring a 14.75 on the floor in the first routine.

“What a great start, not only did he do a great routine, but he stuck his dismount,” head coach Mike Burns said. “I turned to the team and everyone was smiling ear to ear.”

That performance set the tone for the rest of meet on Saturday against Air Force, as the Gophers beat the Falcons 425.100-407.150.

“We performed like the team we actually are … and competed how we trained in the gym,” senior captain Steve Jaciuk said.

Minnesota took Kramer’s confident start and ran with it, finishing the floor event with all six gymnasts scoring at least a 14.5 and taking a commanding lead.

However, the Gophers faltered on the pommel horse. Only junior captain Paul Montague Jr. didn’t fall prey to it, finishing with an event-high score of 14.45.

Even the NCAA pommel horse champion — senior Ellis Mannon — struggled, finishing the event with a 13.7.

“I was a little bit off tonight — I missed pommel horse, my marquee event,” Mannon said.

Minnesota shook off its poor performance on the pommel horse and rebounded in its next event.

Each gymnast finished rings with a score of 14 or higher, with Jaciuk finishing with a score of 15.05 — the highest score for Minnesota all night.

“That was a great routine. [Jaciuk’s] like a fine wine — as he gets older, he matures and is a very stable influence on the team,” Burns said.

Air Force pushed to make a comeback after performing well on the vault. But after a couple falls on the high bar, the attempt wavered.

The Falcons scored an event low 59.05 on the high bar, and Minnesota took full advantage of the slip by scoring a team total of 68.1 for the event.

“When you have a meet like that, the smiles come a lot easier, and it’s good to see the guys bounce back after a rough day last week in Chicago,” Burns said.

Women beat Michigan State

Junior Lindsay Mable went into the meet against Michigan State with three consecutive all-around crowns.

Nothing changed Saturday, as she left with another title leading Minnesota to a 196.875-195.750 victory over Michigan State.

Mable finished with a total score of 39.575, and her teammate Jenny Covers was close behind, earning third place in the all-around with a score 39.225.

Minnesota started strong on the uneven bars, as three Gophers scored at least a 9.825, with senior Cierra Tomson compiling a score of 9.875.

Mable continued the strong showing by notching a 9.9 on the vault, with her teammates Tomson and Bailey Gardner close behind.

Minnesota kept its foot on the gas and didn’t let up on the floor exercise. Mable finished with a 9.925 — the highest event score of the night — leading the Gophers to a team total of 49.125 for floor exercise.

The Gophers finished their first Big Ten victory of the season with their best performance of the night on beam. Three gymnasts recorded scores of at least 9.9 for the first time this season and ended the beam event with a team high score of 49.40.