Gymnastics No. 1 recruit Shane Wiskus off to good start with Gophers

Wiskus earned Big Ten freshman of the week after his debut.

Erik Nelson

When No. 1 recruit Shane Wiskus was deciding which college he would attend, he did not have a tough time.

Wiskus — a native of Spring Park, Minn. — said being from Minnesota was an important factor in why he chose to compete for the Gophers.

“I came to watch the Gophers ever since I can remember,” Wiskus said. “Throughout high school, I didn’t see myself coming [to Minnesota] until I came on my [recruiting] trip. I saw how close the team was. [It] became clear what my choice [would be].”

Wiskus had the energy of a gymnast from a young age.

His parents thought he was a hyperactive child, jumping from couch to couch. He played baseball, hockey and soccer, but he said those sports weren’t as exciting as gymnastics.

“[Those sports] didn’t give me the thrill that gymnastics did,” Wiskus said. “I dropped the other sports and stuck with gymnastics.”

At the 2018 Windy City Invitational in Chicago, Wiskus finished first in the floor event and won the all-around title, receiving a score of 81.250. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after the performance.

Senior Jack Kramer said he was impressed with Wiskus’ maturity both outside and inside the gym. 

“He’s an extremely motivated person,” Kramer said. “That can be seen in all aspects of his life. Even in academics he’s always striving to work harder. He wants to be the best.”

Head coach Mike Burns scouted Wiskus at junior meets and summer camps, but Wiskus first realized he could become a Minnesota gymnast when he checked his inbox.

“I got an email [from Burns] early in the summer when the recruiting started,” Wiskus said. “It felt nice to know that people were reaching out to me at such an early time.”

When he was in high school, Wiskus competed for the U.S. Junior National team. He won gold in the all-around at the University of Calgary International Cup during his time with the team. Burns said it seemed like Wiskus had talent from a young age.

“We kept tabs on him and were able to maintain connections,” Burns said. “[It’s] been a great transition for him from the junior program into the collegiate program. He’s got a real burning desire to succeed as an athlete.”

Wiskus will make his home debut this Saturday against Iowa. The meet starts at 1 p.m. He said it felt great to join Minnesota and wants to be a positive contribution to the team.