Men let alumni slip away

Susan Filkins

The scene resembled somewhat of a family reunion Saturday afternoon at the Sports Pavilion, where several former men’s gymnasts revisited their days at Minnesota in the annual alumni meet.
In front of a small crowd of alumni, friends and family, 15 alumni competed against the current Gophers team and defeated them once again, improving their record in the meet series to 30-0.
The reason the alumni always win is because they are judged on the rules they competed under while at Minnesota. The younger team, however, is judged by the current rules.
Winning the all-around was former Gopher Leif Carlson, a letter winner from 1989-92. Following him was Brian Ottenhoff, a letter winner from 1991-94, and coming in third was current senior co-captain Frank Ticknor.
Several pranks were attempted from the alumni during competition to please the crowd. Ottenhoff pulled out a dollar bill during his floor exercise to give to the alumni judges during one of his passes in the corner. Former Gophers Korey Bannerman, and Rob Brown did a tag-team floor routine, each doing one pass and then handing the stage over to the other. Ron Hill took several breaks during his floor routine to grab a quick drink of water and wipe down with a towel.
While the alumni joked around, the current Gophers were concentrating on the competition as a means of preparing for their opening meet next weekend in Chicago.
Three of the freshman were tested as they performed in their first collegiate meet. Chad Connor, Lindsey Fang and Russell Hopson are three of this year’s freshman who will be looked upon to contribute this season.
“They showed their talent,” Coach Fred Roethlisberger said. “They didn’t score well, they didn’t hit their routines, but they showed their talent.”
“I was a little nervous,” Connor said. “I felt really good going in to the parallel bars, actually I was really nervous going in to the parallel bars, but when I got done, it felt good.”
Although Roethlisberger admitted it was hard to watch a lot of his former gymnasts, he is looking forward to the talent and potential of this year’s team.
“We just need to keep working out, because right now we haven’t done that many routines,” Roethlisberger said. “We need to do a lot more routines. We need a lot more repetitions on a lot of parts, and we need to be competing again because I think a lot of our guys were nervous. This should help a lot, and I would expect to see improvement every week. By the time we get to the Big Tens I feel like we are going to be a very good team.”