Minnesota able to hold despite a tough fight

Saturday night, the Gophers menâÄôs gymnastics team transferred some vibes of success to two teams that severely needed it âÄî but maybe a little too much. Coach Mike Burns never underestimates the competition, but what happened Saturday night in Iowa City surprised even him. Just as Minnesota was finding its groove, so did the struggling teams of Iowa (No. 14) and Nebraska (No. 9), both scoring season highs to come within striking distance. The Gophers, however, prevented these teams from striking too close, winning the meet with their second-best score of the season: 345.90. Burns predicted some of his gymnasts would emerge Saturday and add to the point total. For instance, junior Thomas OâÄôBrien led the rings team to their best score of the year, 57.25. âÄúHeâÄôs kind of like the blue-collar gymnast. He goes up there, does a great job and is kind of the unsung hero kind of guy,âÄù Burns said. âÄúHe puts some good points up on the board for us.âÄù Another junior, Andre Berry is re-entering the lineup and showing his talents. He scored a 14.25 on the floor. âÄúHeâÄôs really starting to kick into a higher gear. His gymnastics is looking really solid,âÄù Burns said. For all of MinnesotaâÄôs accomplishments, Iowa, a team that averages almost 20 fewer points than the Gophers, also emerged at the top of their game on senior night. âÄúIowa hasnâÄôt been there, and they were there last night. It was kind of a surprise,âÄù Burns said. Iowa remained steady throughout the night, leading the Gophers by a full five points heading into the final two events. Burns, however, had to instill some confidence in his already solid high bar and vault teams. He knew they had the opportunity and potential to come from behind and finish the job. âÄúThose two events were critical,âÄù said Burns. âÄúI said, âÄòGuys, donâÄôt do anything special here. Just do what you do, and thatâÄôs going to be special enough.âÄô âÄù In the end, Minnesota didnâÄôt try to do too much, and it was enough for a come-from-behind victory. The Gophers recorded their second-best vault score of the season to close the curtain. For the third week in a row, Gophers womenâÄôs gymnastics scored in the 195-point range (195.075) to come up with their second consecutive victory . The University of Minnesota gymnastics program hosted the stateâÄôs finest in the âÄúAlways DreamingâÄù Best of Minnesota Meet on Saturday night. Winona State was the runner-up, followed by the teams of Gustavus and Hamline . The Gophers were again led by their leader and star performer, Carmelina Carabajal. Carabajal was the champion of two events, scoring a record 9.95 on the beam , the best of any Gophers gymnast since 2002. âÄúWhat sets Carm and really the rest of our beam team apart is that we dance on beam,âÄù co-head coach Meg Stephenson said. More than anything, Carabajal was just trying to have fun. âÄúWhen you try to have fun at a meet and you tell yourself that youâÄôre going to have fun, it really relaxes you and takes some of the pressure off,âÄù Carabajal said. And with over 2,000 in attendance, the kind of atmosphere Minnesota got to perform in was, according to Stephenson, exactly what the team needed. âÄúItâÄôs a really good warm-up for Big Tens, regionals and nationals,âÄù Stephenson said.