High bar gives in men’s gym

by Susan Filkins

The Gophers men’s gymnastics team practice was interrupted Tuesday afternoon when junior Bob Hubbard and the horizontal bar went flying towards the wall.
Hubbard was working on his horizontal bar routine when one end of the bar snapped off and flew sideways with Hubbard hanging on to it.
“All I could see was the bar in my hands moving towards the ground,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t know where I was going, where I was going to hit, or anything.”
Although no bones were broken, Hubbard badly bruised his heel. His injury adds to the Gophers’ already beaten-up team, which includes senior co-captain Heath Wall. Wall is recovering from a sprained ankle that he injured a few weeks ago, preventing him from competing on the floor exercise and the vault.
These injuries will greatly affect the No. 17 Gophers tonight when they face No. 8 Iowa.
Two weeks ago, Minnesota faced the Hawkeyes in a 12-team invitational at Chicago. Iowa finished four teams ahead of Minnesota, defeating them by almost 10 points, which, in gymnastics, is a huge margin.
Iowa was second in the Big Ten championships last year and finished fourth in the NCAA championship preliminaries. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers last year, but Minnesota still leads the overall series 37-33-1.
The Gophers did not compete last weekend, leaving them with two weeks to train and prepare for their dual meet against Iowa.
“We have been doing a lot of mental preparation,” junior George Beatty said. “We figured out that the team had to get a little bit closer and a little bit more supportive of each other.”
Gophers coach Fred Roethlisberger said Iowa has more consistency and probably better health than his team does, but the time off has helped Minnesota’s focus.
“They’ve been concentrating harder, doing their routines in practice and trying to visualize themselves being in a meet,” Roethlisberger said. “They can see the seriousness doing routines with more focus. They interpret a miss in practice as a potential miss in the meet.”
Despite the frightening crash in practice, the Gophers remain confident in their ability to contend with Iowa tonight.
“I think the confidence level is better,” senior Frank Ticknor said. “We have been doing more routines. It’s natural to get better doing routines, but it comes down to the meets. We will see if it carries over.”