Storer makes All-America; Gophers exit early again

Minnesota earned fourth place in the qualifier and did not advance to the national final.

Alexandra Pluym

Heading into the NCAA championship, the No. 7 Minnesota menâÄôs gymnastics team needed at least a third-place finish to advance to the final meet, but the team fell short. The Gophers made an early exit Thursday night after finishing in fourth with 350 points in West Point, N.Y. No. 3 Michigan took the top spot, earning 359.8 points . Behind the Wolverines was No. 2 Oklahoma with 356.4 points , and No. 6 California-Berkeley rounded out the qualifiers with 355 points. Although Minnesota did not advance as a team, head coach Mike Burns said the team performed admirably. âÄúWe were disappointed [to not advance], but to be honest, the guys did a really good job Thursday night,âÄù he said. âÄúWe were in a tough division.âÄù Senior Andre Berry âÄôs 16.05 on vault led the Gophers to a 63.4 finish on the event, which was their best score on any event Thursday night. It was also MinnesotaâÄôs highest score of the pre-qualifying meet. Seniors Cole Storer and Adam Reichow each earned a 15.45 on the floor, which was a team-high on floor that night. Those marks got them into the Friday night individual competition. Fellow senior Colin McGuire scored a 15.15 on floor and also qualified for individual competition on the event. The Gophers final floor score was a 61.1. Freshman Harris Coleman and senior Thomas OâÄôBrien advanced on the pommel horse after scoring 14.35 and 14.25, respectively. As a team, Minnesota earned 55.45 points, their lowest of the night. The Gophers earned 55.55 points on the rings led by OâÄôBrien, who advanced after earning a score of 14.45. Minnesota earned 56.8 points on the high bar, led by Aaron Fortunato and McGuire, who had scores of 14.4 and 14.3, respectively. Junior Michael Paulus advanced on the parallel bars after a 14.55 finish, leading the Gophers to a final score of 57.7 on the event. Burns said the entire team was thrilled for the individuals who advanced, and that the crowd also livened up the teamâÄôs spirits. âÄúIt was the most fun theyâÄôve had as a team all year long,âÄù he said. âÄúWe had a huge, huge cheering section. We fed off of their excitement.âÄù Fortunato was hoping to score an 87 or 88 in the all-around but came up short with 86.8 points, placing him in fourth place in his six-team division Thursday night. Fortunato placed ninth in FridayâÄôs all-around competition with a score of 86.3. The only Minnesota gymnast to advance to SaturdayâÄôs individual finals was Storer, who finished sixth on the floor with 15.35 points Friday. To advance to the individual finals, the gymnasts had to make the top 10 in their individual event in Friday nightâÄôs competition. McGuire earned 15.25 points, tying for the No. 10 spot on the floor, but missed out on the finals. Coleman also barely missed the finals, placing 11th on the pommel horse (14.45). Coleman and McGuire were alternates for their specific events Saturday night. On Saturday night, Storer wrapped up his gymnastics career, earning all-American honors âÄî the top eight gymnasts on an event in the finals earn the title âÄî after finishing eighth with a score of 15.225. StorerâÄôs finish marks the 10th consecutive season that the Gophers have had an all-American. Burns said the 2010 season was âÄúsuccessful and bittersweetâÄù because the big group of seniors must now move on.