Minnesota finishes fifth at Big Ten Championships

The Gophers came into the championships ranked first among Big Ten teams.

Senior Tristan Duran competes on the high bar during a meet on March 25, 2017 at Maturi Pavilion. 

Maddy Fox, Daily File Photo

Senior Tristan Duran competes on the high bar during a meet on March 25, 2017 at Maturi Pavilion. 

Erik Nelson

Minnesota came home from the Big Ten Championships with a finish it did not expect.

The Gophers came in fifth place with a score of 405.450 after the team headed in ranked first among Big Ten teams and second in the country. Illinois won the Championships for the first time since 2012. 

Head coach Mike Burns said he was disappointed with the results of Friday’s team competition.

“Our expectations were much higher than what we ended up,” Burns said. “When you get to this point, you’ve got to be careful about getting the expectations in the way of your performance. A few guys had some uncharacteristic performance mishaps that cost us dearly.”

The individual portion of the championships took place on Saturday. Senior Tristan Duran tied for first on parallel bars, earning a score of 14.150. He is the first Minnesota gymnast to win gold on parallel bars since 1992.

“I was the first guy up, so it was nerve-wracking to watch all the scores come in,” Duran said. “I ended up staying at the top. It was a great feeling. I came away happy with that result.

Senior Jalon Stephens won silver on high bar, receiving a score of 14.125. Freshman Shane Wiskus earned bronze on high bar with a score of 14.100.

On floor, junior Vitali Kan finished eighth with a score of 13.625. He finished fourth on pommel horse with a score of 13.800. Senior Alex Wittenberg finished 10th on vault, earning a score of 13.575.

Wiskus said Minnesota will learn from this performance heading forward to the NCAA Championships.

“This meet humbled us quite a bit,” Wiskus said. “We have another opportunity to go back at it in two weeks. We’re going to seize it and history has yet to be made. We’re going to do the best we can.”

Burns said Wiskus joined an elite group of gymnasts when he was named to the First Team All-Big Ten on April 2.

“It’s another feather in his cap,” Burns said. “It’s going to be part of a long list of feathers in his cap as his career goes on. He came out tonight and put on a show for us.”

The 2018 NCAA Championships take place on April 21 in Chicago. The last Minnesota gymnast to win an event at the NCAA Championships was Ellis Mannon, who won pommel horse in 2014.

Duran said nothing will change regarding his team’s preparation and motivation for the NCAA Championships.

“We’re going to keep using our same approach that we did for Big Tens and hopefully do better at NCAAs,” Duran said.