Rivalry takes to the Sports Pavilion

Matt Perkins

Minnesota versus Wisconsin.

That headline draws big crowds to any sport that plays host to a Gophers-Badgers rivalry.

But there’s not much buzz this weekend as Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team prepares to take on Wisconsin’s club gymnastics team at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

The noise is coming from within the team, as the Gophers begin weeding out the good and the bad from routines, while giving certain athletes a chance to shine.

“We’re going to give some of the guys who haven’t competed much an opportunity,” coach Mike Burns said. “(Senior) Justin Meyer is going to go in the all-around for the first time since he’s been here.”

In addition to his first all-around performance, this weekend will mark Meyer’s first career appearance on vault.

“It’s exciting because I’ve never done it before,” Meyer said. “For the past few years I’ve been looking at it here and there, but it’s finally happening.”

But don’t think that he’s getting the chance because the Gophers face a club opponent. Burns said Meyer deserves it.

“He’s been doing a great job for us this year,” Burns said. “He’s become one of our more consistent guys and a leader for us.”

Burns also said that junior Jacob Lee will be focusing on the pommel horse and high bar against Wisconsin. This will be the first time all season he hasn’t competed in the all-around.

Lee has had a few flounders on the pommel horse the past couple of weekends, so this week he hopes to find a solution by devoting extra time to the event.

And that’s a perfect example of what the Gophers want to do against the Badgers – focus on the fine-tuning.

“That’s where we are at right now – making the final decisions on some routines,” Burns said. “Most of them are pretty well set, but there’s still one or two that we’ve been pushing to try and get set.”

Early end to Joe Moore’s career

Minnesota senior Joe Moore has been forced to call an early end to his season, and his career as a Gophers gymnast.

Moore tore his left bicep last weekend at the Pacific Coast Classic, and will have season-ending surgery to repair it.

“It’s a little bit of a letdown,” Moore said. “I had four more meets, six weeks to go and I wanted to finish strong but my body didn’t want me to.”

Moore expects to be on the sidelines the rest of the season, cheering the rest of the team on.

And his loss won’t affect the team’s goals.

“Hopefully we’re top three in the Big Ten, and I’d love to see us make top six in NCAAs,” Moore said. “I think it’s totally reasonable to see them do it and I’m going to do everything I can to help them out.”