Burns hoping his team can bounce back after a week off

The Minnesota men’s gymnastics team will hit the road to face Iowa and Nebraska this weekend.

Head coach Mike Burns and GophersâÄô menâÄôs gymnastics are not letting up this week, especially after a two-week break from solid competition in the heart of the season. The stakes certainly arenâÄôt comparable to MinnesotaâÄôs last team meet against No. 3 Penn State. The Gophers travel to Iowa City to face No. 14 Iowa and No. 9 Nebraska. Although Minnesota averages 20 points higher than Iowa and 10 points higher than Nebraska, they will take the same approach as always: as a team, and as competitors. That has never changed, and coach Burns doesnâÄôt expect a little bit of a break to alter things. âÄúThe key things for these guys is how quickly can they get back after a week off back into the rhythm of solid competition,âÄù Burns said. âÄúHopefully weâÄôll come out of it with an A+.âÄù For some of BurnsâÄô gymnasts, getting back into rhythm isnâÄôt the focus. ItâÄôs finding it. And many are beginning to do just that, including senior captain Kit Beikmann. Last weekendâÄôs Winter Cup seemed to be the deal-breaker for the veteran leader who always leads by example. Beikmann had the best finish of any current Gophers gymnast in Las Vegas, busting out in a 3rd place finish on his best event, the pommel-horse. Burns believes Beikmann is one gymnast who has finally found his rhythm. âÄúI think for him, it was a huge confidence builder because he went out and knocked down two really good routines. It looked like he found his rhythm and his level that he needs to compete at,âÄù Burns said. And his rhythm looks to keep its flow after competing among some of the nationâÄôs top gymnasts. âÄúI think he could have this breakout sort of approach this weekend,âÄù Burns said. Juniors Andre Berry and Thomas OâÄô Brien, with senior Edward Campbell, are more Minnesota gymnasts at the top level of their performances just looking for that kind of weekend, too. They might not have a choice either. On a team-oriented squad, guys like these, according to Burns, will have to step up and fill the gap for other gymnasts, such as junior Cole Storer. Storer may have to sit out of the vault and floor routines this weekend due to knee issues. âÄúItâÄôll decrease our potential on those events, but it wonâÄôt necessarily decrease our ability to hit and put up a good enough score to win the meet,âÄù Burns said. WomenâÄôs gymnastics is sitting nicely at the No. 15 spot this week after their first home win of the season last week over Iowa State. They will host the Always Dreaming Best of Minnesota meet on Saturday which features teams from around the state, including Gustavus, Hamline and Winona State. Senior Carmelina Carabajal and junior Alexis Russell look to lead on the all-around, and sophomore Kristen Furukawa looks to lead again on the beam and the uneven bars, winning both last weekend.