Men’s gymnastics team flounders at weekend meet

Susan Filkins

After its opener this weekend, it appears Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team will need to work out a few kinks before its next meet.
Typically, the Gophers do start slow. But Gophers coach Fred Roethlisberger said this year’s opener was even more frustrating than years past.
At the 12-team Windy City Invitational, held Saturday in Chicago, the Gophers finished a dismal seventh place, defeating only one Big Ten school.
The results left Roethlisberger with no answers.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t put my finger on it. We just have to put this one behind us and get going. I am sure we will be better in the end.”
Defending Big Ten champion Ohio State won the meet impressively by almost four points. Illinois finished second.
The Gophers compiled a team score of 211.9, nearly 15 points behind Ohio State.
Gophers senior Frank Ticknor led the team with a 10th-place finish in the all-around. Following him was freshman Lindsey Fang at 15th, junior George Beatty at 20th and senior co-captain Heath Wall at 24th.
“We had a terrible meet,” Roethlisberger said. “Just about everybody had a bad day, except for Frank (Ticknor). Frank had a reasonably good day, but nothing special.”
The only other positive for the Gophers was a fifth-place finish for Wall on the still rings. Wall’s 9.45 score on the event is still fairly low considering he landed a 9.75 routine last year against Iowa.
Roethlisberger said his team was prepared for the meet, but admitted their sub-par performance may have been a result of trying to use all their skills.
Despite the finish, Roethlisberger remains optimistic about his team, especially his competing freshmen.
“The freshmen showed that they are going to be pretty good, but they didn’t hit any routines,” Roethlisberger said.
Fang was the only freshman to compete in the all-around for the Gophers. Freshman Russell Hopson did not make the trip because of a neck injury.
With Beatty still suffering from a sore shoulder, and Bob Hubbard with a sprained ankle, Roethlisberger said the Gophers need some time to recuperate before they travel to Iowa in two weeks.
“We have a week off so we ought to be able to put a lot of practice in and work a little harder,” he said.