A quiet Minnesota men's gymnastics team faced the whoops and hollers of Oklahoma's team on Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion.
Even though they were reserved off the floor, the Gophers showed what they were made of while competing by posting their highest score of the season. However, the 12th-ranked Gophers fell to the third-ranked Sooners 220.075 to 213.95.
Going into the meet, coach Fred Roethlisberger said in order for Minnesota to compete with Oklahoma, competitors like Ryan Fleming and Mitch Griffin needed to step up and be consistent.
Fleming took third place on floor exercise and Griffin took third place on vault and parallel bars.
"I'm getting more confident each time I hit my routines," Fleming said.
Each of these athletes only competes on three events, but they add depth to Minnesota's team. With Fleming's scores and Griffin's scores, Minnesota captured the top three spots on floor and five of the top six spots on vault.
Sophomore Guillermo Alvarez was Minnesota's best performer of the night with a second-place all-around finish. He scored 54.75 points, only behind Oklahoma's Daniel Furney.
Alvarez took first place on floor exercise and tied for first on pommel horse with Furney.
With top athletes like Alvarez and Clay Strother performing at their best and adding depth with Fleming and Griffin, Minnesota is reaching its peak with three meets before the Beg Ten championships.
"The character of this team is really starting to show," assistant coach Kyle Zak said. "If they're going to win or lose they put out the effort one hundred percent."
Minnesota narrowly missed the 2003 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championship title, falling just two points shy of champion Wisconsin. The Gophers tallied six first-place finishes and combined to score 131.5 overall points.
"It was probably one of the most exciting meets I've ever been a part of," head coach Phil Lundin said.
The 4x400-meter relay team of Mikael Jakobsson, Andy Wohlin, Adam Steele and Mitch Potter continued their dominance, winning with a time of 3 minutes and 12.83 seconds.
Minnesota also swept the top three spots in the 400-meters with Potter winning the race, just ahead of Jakobsson and Wohlin.
"Going 1-2-3 in the 400 was somewhat surprising for us," Lundin said.
Steele also garnered top honors in the 600-meters. Teammate Will McComb provisionally qualified for NCAA competition, claiming first place in the 5,000-meters.
Travis Brandstatter finished fifth in the heptathlon with 5,116 points.
The Gophers boasted a handful of third-place finishes as well. Lynden Reder took third in the weight throw. Toby Henkels claimed third in the 800-meters finishing at 1:50.71, good enough for provisional NCAA qualification.
On Sunday Minnesota boasted a new school record in the triple jump at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. Senior Shani Marks broke her previous school record of 43-8 and claimed second place with a jump of 43-11.25. In addition, Marks took second in the 600-meters, clocking in at 1:32.61.
The Gophers' top performance of the day came in the 4x400-meter relay. Senior Lisa Mickelson, Marks, sophomore Rachel Schutz and first-year student Kou Luogon comprised the squad and won with a time of 3 minutes and 46.22 seconds.
Minnesota closed the weekend finishing seventh overall with 61.5 points.
Minnesota's men's swimming and diving team finished second at the 2003 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at Michigan's Canham Natatorium.
The host Wolverines took home the team title, ending Minnesota's two-year reign as conference champs. Michigan finished with 727 points, edging the Gophers, who ended the three-day meet with 689. Overall, Minnesota won three relay titles and six individual crowns.
"We went in facing an uphill battle and were able to swim extremely well," head coach Dennis Dale said.
Minnesota did have several solid performances on the meet's final day, led by sophomore Terry Silkaitis, who completed a sweep of the sprint freestyle events with a victory in the 100 freestyle.
Silkaitis, who earlier won the 50 and 200 freestyles, broke the Big Ten Championships record in the 100, swimming a 42.87. His performance at the Big Ten meet gave Silkaitis the Big Ten swimmer of the year honors.
Junior Justin Mortimer brought home his first career Big Ten title in the 1,650 freestyle to start the evening.
In platform diving, senior Ben Herdt took eighth place with 395.10 points while freshman John Schmidt was 10th.
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