Season-high score lifts men over Illinois-Chicago

Minnesota won 5 of 6 events at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday.

Things could not have gone much better for the Minnesota men’s gymnastics team during its 345.000-330.700 victory on Saturday over Illinois-Chicago as the Gophers scored a season-high in total points and won five of the six events.

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what: Men’s gymnastics
when: 7 p.m., March 1
where: Sports Pavilion

While the overall team score for Minnesota was impressive in itself, the steady flow of notable individual performances by the Gophers was the actual key to victory.

Minnesota, ranked No. 8 in the nation, claimed individual event winners on floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars and high bar, while sophomore Aaron Fortunato scored a season-high 85.250 to win the all-around.

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what: Women’s gymnastics
when: 6 p.m., Saturday
where: Sports Pavilion

“We really focused on just going out and performing,” Minnesota head coach Mike Burns said.

Although he stated that the challenge of the meet alone was enough to get his guys prepared to compete, Burns said there was an added element on Saturday that helped lift his gymnasts to another level.

“There was a big junior meet going on here this weekend with about 300 kids interested in gymnastics,” Burns said. “I told my guys that there are probably a lot of kids out here this weekend that want to be just like you someday, so let’s go out and put on a good show. I think they took that to heart.”

The extra boost, wherever it came from, enabled the Gophers to sweep all five top scores on the floor exercise and also three of the top four scores on the pommel horse.

“There were a lot of personal-bests and a lot of career-bests, but I think the highlight of the night was our pommel horse performance as a team,” Burns said.

One of the main reasons for the impressive performance in the pommel horse, Burns said, was a slight change in the lineup.

Minnesota usually places its top-four scorers in the last four spots for each event, but on Saturday, Burns switched it up for the pommel horse to put less pressure on the last two gymnasts and placed the top-four gymnasts in the front.

“The outcome was outstanding,” Burns said of the vault win. “I think we have found our recipe for success.”

The nation’s top vault performer was also in the Sports Pavilion on Saturday. Gophers senior Mitchell Mays did not fail to impress as he claimed another vault victory and helped Minnesota obtain their best performance of the year.

“Mitchell did awesome,” Burns said. “Again, he’s proving why he is ranked No. 1 in the country.”

Women fall on the road to No. 5 Michigan

After a roll-over victory in the Best of Minnesota meet, the Minnesota women’s gymnastics team faced a much tougher opponent on Saturday as they traveled to No. 5 Michigan.

The Wolverines happened to be the Gophers’ first Big Ten opponent of the season, and were able to show Minnesota the difference between conference and in-state competition by way of a 196.875-192.850 victory in their home arena.

The Gophers did, however, have some solid individual performances on Saturday, most notably through Ashley Stanton’s season-best and victorious score on the beam. Stanton’s score of 9.875 is her highest of the season, and ties for the team’s best beam score of the year.