Minnesota Golden Gophers sophomore gymnast Shane Wiskus won the first NCAA Championship for the Gophers men’s gymnastics team since 2014 when he won the 2019 NCAA Men’s Parallel Bars Championship Saturday night. Wiskus, a Spring Park, MN native also finished second in the All-Around competition at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season.
Wiskus was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for the second consecutive season a few weeks ago and he showed why Saturday in Champaign, Illinois. Wiskus and the rest of the Gophers who qualifited were competing in just the individual events after the team was eliminated from the NCAA Championships with a fourth place finish in their semifinal on Friday. That may have helped the focus as Wiskus would go on to add three All-American honors on Saturday and two other Gophers would add one each.
Wiskus was rotating with the Michigan Wolverines on his events. He began with good but not great routines on the pommel horse and the rings before he found greater success on the vault. He would record a score of 14.700 which would tie him for 6th place overall and earn him All-American honors on the apparatus.
His fourth event of the night were the parallel bars. He would stick a perfect landing and record a score of 14.200 which would hold up through the final two rotations leaving him the NCAA Champion.
It's a stuck 14.200 for Shane on parallel bars! Please get out of the man's way, he is BLAZING a trail today. pic.twitter.com/NtVNxGyZ3G— Minnesota Men's Gym (@GopherMGym) April 21, 2019
He finished his night on the high bar and the floor exercise and ended with a final score of 84.199 to finish about 1.6 points behind Stanford’s Brody Malone who added individual apparatus championships on the floor exercise and high bar.
Wiskus now has six All-American honors in two seasons with the Gophers, three in 2018 and three in 2019. He won the first Minnesota NCAA Championship in men’s gymnastics since Ellis Mannon won the pommel horse title in 2014. With back to back second place finishes in the All-Around he still has two chances to become the first Gopher to win the competition since Minnesota legend and US Olympian John Roethlisberger won three in a row from 1991-1993.
Wiksus was not the only Gopher All-American on Saturday. Senior Justin Karstadt earned an All-American honor with a sixth place finish on the pommel horse.
We heart you too, Justin. The senior gets us started in his final collegiate meet with a 13.833 on pommel horse! pic.twitter.com/sVn8Qom3Xa— Minnesota Men's Gym (@GopherMGym) April 20, 2019
Freshman Ben Eyles recorded a 14.8 on the vault to finish in fifth place and earn an All-American honor.
BEN. EYLES. The rookie comes up huge in his first-ever Championship Saturday and delivers a career-high 14.800 on vault!— Minnesota Men's Gym (@GopherMGym) April 21, 2019
We're going to be replaying this one for a while. pic.twitter.com/Fs2hYz4h3l
Minnesota obviously loses Karstadt and fellow seniors who played a large role in Vitaly Kan and Shaun Herzog, but Minnesota retains a great core and will once again be one of the nation’s best teams in 2020!