Pair of tough matchups await men and women

The men are headed to Penn State and the women take on Utah tonight.

It would be interesting enough to talk about the No. 8 Minnesota men’s gymnastics team traveling to State College, Pa. for a Saturday clash with the No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions.

“Anytime you go up against the No. 1 team in the nation it helps raise you to a new level of expectations,” Gophers head coach Mike Burns said.

But there is also some added excitement for Burns, as he gets the opportunity to face his alma mater.

“It’s always fun to feel like you’re back on the old stomping grounds,” Burns said of his return to Penn State. “But the job at hand is to go in and hand the Nittany Lions a handful of tough Gophers.”

Burns said his team does not seem overwhelmed by the task in front of it, but instead is trying to see this as a big chance to prove itself.

“I am telling these guys to use this as an opportunity to improve our hit percentage and to go out there and make a good showing,” Burns said.

The fourth-year coach also said he is confident the Gophers can compete at a high level with Penn State, and that the Nittany Lions are not as scary as their ranking shows.

“(The Gophers) are going to see what it takes to become that good of a team,” Burns said. “I think Penn State is going to have their eyes open more than we are going to have our eyes open Ö we’ll see if they are really the No. 1 team in the country.”

Women travel to No. 2 Utah

The No. 32 ranked Minnesota women’s gymnastics squad faces a tough test of their own this weekend, as they travel to No. 2 ranked Utah for a Friday meet.

The Ute’s lead the all-time series with Minnesota at 26-1, with the Gophers’ only victory coming in 2000.

In order for Minnesota to compete in this meet, they will need another strong showing from junior Carmelina

Carabajal. Carabajal leads the team in scoring on the vault, bars, beam and in the all-around.

But if Minnesota could pull out the shocking victory, it would most likely be extra-sweet for co-head coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson, as they currently sit on 149 career wins.