On vault, Chase is first-team All-Big 10

As a team, the Gophers men’s team finished fifth; Illinois won the meet.

Josh Katzenstein

Though the Gophers menâÄôs gymnastics team finished fifth at the Big Ten championships, the team left with a bit of a pick-me-up thanks to Zack Chase.

The freshman hit two vault routines good enough to earn first team All-Big Ten honors and give Minnesota a confidence boost heading into the national meets.

âÄúHe was amazing,âÄù head coach Mike Burns said. âÄúIt was tough competition. He just stepped up and delivered, man.

âÄúThe first night he just did a gorgeous vault.âÄù Gorgeous enough to score a 16.4, the highest vault mark on the season by any Minnesota gymnast.

The second vault came Saturday in the individual event finals, and Chase tied with Ohio State junior Mike Behles.

âÄúI was mainly focused on just landing it,âÄù Chase said.

DJ Repp also earned a first team All-Big Ten spot, and Russell Dabritz is on the second team after a strong showing on the parallel bars.

A few strong individual performances couldnâÄôt carry the Gophers alone, and despite having momentum after a strong vault team, eighth-ranked Minnesota settled for fifth place of the six conference teams. Illinois (355.5) won the meet with Michigan (352.75) and Ohio State (350.0) rounding out the podium.

Burns said the Gophers could have performed better, but heâÄôs not sure it would have changed their position, 4.6 points behind fourth-place Penn State.

Minnesota will have a weekend off before the NCAA championships start April 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

âÄúWere a young team with a lot of room to grow,âÄù Burns said.