Season opener is awaiting men’s gymnasts in Chicago, but first there is some work to be done

Luke Middendorf

It’s almost time for the Minnesota men’s gymnastics team to spring into action.

With their first real competition kicking off one month from today, the Gophers will be spending the majority of winter break preparing for the Windy City Invitational in Chicago, while other students might have more time to celebrate the holidays.

“We’ve got some time, but we have a little break for Christmas, so we can’t afford to take too much time off,” head coach Mike Burns said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Minnesota kicked off its season Dec. 2 during the annual intrasquad scrimmage, an event that Burns said showed the team’s potential but also some areas that need improvement.

“We still have got a long way to go to be where we want to be if we want to challenge for a Big Ten title this year,” Burns said after the meet. “We’ll get back to the gym to analyze the rough spots and make the necessary adjustments in our training so that we can be a little bit crisper next time you see us.”

The pommel horse was one event among many that Burns said he was a little disappointed in during the scrimmage, but he also pointed to sophomore Colin McGuire and junior Kit Beikmann as gymnasts that showed a heavy potential for pommel horse success.

“We’re doing a lot of difficult gymnastics right now, so it’s a challenge for these guys,” Burns said. “But I think they’re up for it. We just have to get them to that next level Ö soon.”

Another area that Burns said will need improvement before the first official meet Jan. 12 is the team’s overall conditioning, but he said that they will have time over the next month to get into good shape.

“I think we ran out of gas near the end,” Burns said of the scrimmage. “We’ve got to work on our endurance a little bit.”

Senior Adam Reichow said the Gophers have already spent a lot of time getting physically strong, and the next step over Christmas break is to condition while working on specific routines.

“The intrasquad kind of kicks off routine season, and now we get back and practice routine, routine, routine,” Reichow said emphatically. “That’s where we get into tip-top condition where we are able to really show what we’ve got.”

In part because of his seniority, Reichow has the perspective of how long a gymnastics season really is, and says that Minnesota will have plenty of time to prepare for the important meets down the road.

“It’s still early in the season,” Reichow said. “We still have over a month before our first meet, and still six months before championship season. I think we’re further ahead now then where we were last year.”

But Burns said that the work ethic and concentration that the team displays now will only do them good on their quest for a Big Ten title.

“We’ve got a ways to go, but these guys will be working really hard to get there,” Burns said.