Gophers exact revenge on Penn St.

The women’s team won its third home meet of the season against Michigan St.

Junior Zach Liebler competes on the high bar at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday where Minnesota met with Penn State.

Image by Maddy Fox

Junior Zach Liebler competes on the high bar at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday where Minnesota met with Penn State.

by Thomas Jaakola

Last year, Penn State edged the Gophers out of the NCAA team finals by 0.2 points. Minnesota was able to win by a much larger margin Saturday.
The Gophers defeated the Nittany Lions 432.750-418.500 at the Sports Pavilion to give the team its first dual victory of the season.
Sophomore Tristan Duran won the all-around title with a combined score of 85.400 and took second in the parallel bars.
“These guys looked really prepared, not only physically but mentally,” head coach Mike Burns said. “They seemed to have a calmness to their competition itself out there, and that’s the hardest part.”
The Gophers posted three scores greater than 15 on the floor, highlighted by junior Zach Liebler’s first-place score of 15.850. 
Freshman Justin Karstadt won the pommel horse with a 14.900, 0.8 points higher than any other competitor. 
Senior Paul Montague Jr. won the parallel bars with a score of 14.950 and also earned a cheer from the crowd when he stuck his dismount on the still rings.
Sophomore Yaroslav Pochinka also stuck his dismount on the vault after a triple front flip. He earned a 15.350 on the event to take first place.
Sophomore Jalon Stephens had the third stick of the meet on the high bar to win the event with a score of 14.600.
“I’m really proud of this group. We kind of had a little grudge match against Penn State after last year’s NCAA Final situation — they beat us by two tenths to make it into the final,” Burns said. “So we had a little memory on this one.”
Women defeat Spartans
On Saturday, the women’s team won its third meet in a row at home, defeating Michigan State 195.675-195.275.
Junior Rachel Haines won the vault with a score of 9.825 to help give the Gophers the lead after the first rotation.
Junior Bailie Holst won the next event, the bars, with a 9.850. But the Gophers fell behind the Spartans 97.400-97.300 halfway through the meet.
Minnesota recorded the top three scores of the meet on the balance beam in its next rotation but still trailed by half a point. Senior Hanna Nordquist tied her career high in the event with a 9.950.
“I was ready to run back to my team and high five them. The love and support of them is always amazing,” Nordquist said.
The Gophers had their highest event score of the night in their last rotation on floor. Four Minnesota gymnasts had scores of 9.800 or higher, including senior Lindsay Mable’s score of 9.900.
The final event put the Gophers back ahead for their third straight victory to open the season.
“We improved in a lot of areas, though bars was tough,” head coach Jenny Hansen said. “I’m really proud of how they fought and came back on beam and floor.”