Gophers men’s gymnastics earned its highest finish in 15 years on Saturday. Minnesota took home fifth place in the first round of the NCAA championships Friday, its first top-five finish since 2002.
Senior Mitchell Soukup said that this last week is the epitome of what he has worked for in his four years with the Gophers. Soukup, along with fellow senior Zach Liebler, heads to the NCAA Championships this weekend, which will be the duo’s final event of their collegiate careers. “Everyone says it’s going to go fast, but you don’t really realize it until it’s here,” Soukup said.
In its first spring game under head coach P.J. Fleck, Minnesota’s Team Maroon came away with a 42-40 victory in an entertaining matchup at this year’s spring football game. Five healthy offensive linemen proved to be no problem for Minnesota during Saturday’s game. “We’ve got some bumps and bruises, and we have a dislocated finger here or there,” Fleck said.
After 28 seasons as a tennis coach for both men’s and women’s collegiate teams, Chuck Merzbacher announced his retirement Tuesday.
Head coach Mike Burns went to Champaign, Illinois for the Big Ten Championships and left as Big Ten Coach of the Year. Burns coached his team to a third place finish, as No. 5 Minnesota earned a 413.300 in the meet. “That was a pretty humbling moment,” Burns said.
Minnesota finished fourth out of four teams Saturday in the Big Ten Double Dual. Two Gophers rowers stayed home due to strep throat, and the team couldn’t find a way to fill the void. “[The] Big Ten is a really fast league,” said head coach Wendy Davis.
The Gophers head into the postseason knowing they can outscore any team in the Big Ten. No. 5 Minnesota scored a Big Ten best 426.950 in its dual against Nebraska before it heads to Champaign, Illinois for the Big Ten Championships on April 7. “The score indicated that we were on our game that night, which was outstanding,” said head coach Mike Burns.
The Gophers women’s rowing team faces adversity early in the Spring season. Minnesota cannot practice in the water year round, because of the state’s weather, but the team competes against colleges in warmer states that practice outside all year. “On top of not getting water time, we also have people who really don’t have that much rowing experience,” said senior Catherine Ahrens.
The Gophers needed the third-highest score in the NCAA this season to earn a road victory. Minnesota earned a team-high score to defeat Nebraska 426.950-425.550 in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday. “We started strong and we kept at it,” said head coach Mike Burns.
The Gophers’ best event this season has been one they can’t practice in their own facility. Minnesota has to go to the women’s gymnastics facility, Peik Gym, once a week to practice vault; however, the team ranks No. 2 in season average for the event via roadtonationals.com. “Some of the gymnasts were touching the beam on the ceiling [in the men’s facility],” said assistant coach Kostya Kolesnikov, who works with the gymnasts on vault.