The Minnesota Golden Gophers Men’s Gymnastics team finished with a flurry on the parallel bars and came from behind to finish in second place at the NCAA Championship meet in Chicago last Saturday. Minnesota finished behind the Oklahoma Sooners who won their fourth consecutive NCAA title. The second place finish tied the best finish in school history. It’s the fourth national runner-up finish in school history and the first since 1990. Additionally Gopher freshman phenom and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Shane Wiskus finished second in the nation in the all-around competition.
The Gophers began their meet on the high bar. They would tally their highest score of the season on the event at 68.531. Jalon Stephens earned All-American honors for the second consecutive season with a 13.966, and Wiskus earned seventh place and All-American honors with a 13.866.
From high bar the Gophers moved to floor. Luke Aldrich would earn All-American status by finishing seventh with a 14.166. Next came pommel horse which was the Gophers worst event of the meet. Justin Karsdadt earned All-American honors by finishing fifth with a 14.066.
Minnesota regained its mojo on the rings. Wiskus would get another AA with a fourth place finish with a 13.866 and Shaun Herzog would join him as an All-American with a 13.800 to finish in sixth place.
The Gophers would jump from fifth place overall to third on the fifth rotation. The Gophers used an electric 72.299 score on the vault to make the jump. The entire team scored over 14.000, and it was Vitali Kahn and Yaroslav Pochinka who earned All-American honors for the Gophers in this event.
Minnesota finished on the parallel bars knowing they needed a great performance to move up. The team recoreded a 69.432 and Karstadt would finish in third place with a 14.466 adding a second All-American honor. After the final competitor, the Gophers knew it would be close to whether they had sneaked into second place or not, and here was their reaction after finding out they did.
Minnesota did not miss on one routine in the meet and ended up with 11 All-American honors which is a new school record.
Additionally at the NCAA Women’s Meet in St. Louis, Gopher freshman Lexi Ramler would earn 2nd team All-American honors on the balance beam. Ramler’s performance earned the 22nd All-American honor in program history and she is just the eighth Gopher to ever earn an All-American honor in school history.
With Ramler and Wiskus both just freshman, its obvious the Gophers gymnastics programs will have sustained success for years to come.