NU MGYM: No. 11 Huskers Head to Iowa for Big Ten Tri-Meet

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Nebraska Men’s Gymnastics: No. 11 Huskers Head to Iowa for Big Ten Tri-Meet
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The Nebraska men’s gymnastics team fell two spots to No. 11 in this week’s College Gymnastics Association poll and remain at No. 11 in the Coaches’ poll as the team prepares to travel to Iowa for a Big Ten triangular featuring No. 10 Minnesota and the host No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes. NU is coming off of a strong second-place finish at the John Roethlisberger Iceberg Invite hosted by Minnesota on Feb. 7, earning a season high team score of 422.050. The host Golden Gophers took home the team title (429.900) while University of Illinois-Chicago placed third (402.600).

This weekend the Big Red will face ninth-ranked Iowa at home while also meeting with Minnesota for the second consecutive week. The meet is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by the Big Ten Network on tape delay Sunday, Feb. 15 at noon ET. The meet will also be available live via BTN Plus at btn2go.com. Fans can follow along with live stats at meetscoresonline.com, or follow the team Twitter account for score updates (@NebraskaMGym).

Scouting the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes (Host)
Head Coach: JD Reive
2014 Record: 8-9
2014 NCAA Finish: N/A
2015 High Score: 428.600

No. 9 Iowa is eager for a win at home after falling on the road to Illinois last weekend 440.150-424.500. The Hawkeyes hold a 4-5 record so far this season and last met Minnesota at the Windy City Invitational on Jan. 17. Junior returning All-American Matt Loochtan is one of Iowa’s biggest leaders and will look to make a major impact in 2015. Loochtan finished seventh on rings at the 2014 NCAA Championships with a 14.925, earning his first ever All-American honors. Loochtan and senior Lance Alberhasky were named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch for Iowa by the Big Ten. Nebraska holds a slight lead over the Hawkeyes in all-time meetings 16-14-3, with the two teams’ last meeting occurring at the 2014 Big Ten Championships.

Scouting the No. 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Head Coach: Mike Burns
2014 Record: 9-8
2014 NCAA Finish: 7th
2015 High Score: 429.900

No. 10 Minnesota recently dominated at home on Feb. 7, hosting Nebraska and UIC. The Gophers grabbed first with a season-high 429.900, the eighth-highest team score posted in the country for 2015. Minnesota is led by returning NCAA All-American Ellis Mannon. Senior Mannon was the 2014 NCAA champion on pommel horse, earning the Gophers’ first individual title since 2002. Fellow senior Steve Jaciuk is another of Minnesota’s leaders, narrowly missing All-American honors after finishing ninth on high bar at the 2014 championships. In all-time meetings, Minnesota holds a 30-17-1 lead over the Huskers and continues to show prominence within the Big Ten conference.

Last Time Out: Huskers Claim Second in Minnesota Triangular
Minneapolis, Minn.–The No. 9 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team powered to a season high team score on the road against No. 10 Minnesota and No. 14 University of Illinois-Chicago, falling just short to the Golden Gophers 429.000-422.050.

A series of career and season highs propelled the Huskers to its best team score of the 2015 season. Freshman Kyle King dominated on floor, winning the event with a huge 15.30. Sophomore Austin Epperson also added a major career high on floor with a big 15.00. Junior Ethan Lottman took home the pommel horse crown with his season-best 15.10 routine. Sophomore Travis Gollott and Junior Sam Chamberlain shared the vault title with matching 14.70 marks. Senior Louis Klein also claimed an event title of his own, winning high bar with a season-high 14.95.

The Huskers overcame early struggles on the first rotation of the night, pommel horse, notching a 66.100. The team was led by Lottman’s huge 15.10, a new season best for the junior. Classmate Ryan Irick powered to a season-high 13.55, while Gollott pitched in a solid 13.50.

As NU moved to rings, the Huskers put up a season-best 70.250 paced by Austin Epperson’s 14.50 mark. Classmate Coleman Tokar put up a new personal best for the third straight meet, earning a 13.85. Freshman Alex Magsam added a respectable 14.10 on his routine to round out the event.

The Huskers next moved to floor and posted a season-high 72.900 led by a pair of big scores from underclassman. King paved the way with a huge career-high 15.30 mark, followed by Epperson’s personal-best 15.00. Gollott earned a 14.50 as classmate Stephenson pitched in a 14.30 to complete the rotation. After three rotations, the Huskers trailed Minnesota 213.800-208.950.

NU began the second half of the meet on parallel bars, achieving a team total of 70.400. Freshman Daniel Leal set the tone with his career-best 14.75 routine. King followed suit by putting up a career-high of his own, adding a 13.85. Stephenson and Klein posted matching 13.80s for the Big Red. All-American Sam Chamberlain suffered a rare fall on his dismount and earned a 12.80 for his effort.

Minnesota held onto the lead after four rotations 285.150-279.650 as the Cornhuskers rotated to high bar. Epperson and Tokar led the event with a duo of 14.00s. Stephenson followed closely behind with a 13.95. Leal chipped in a 13.60 to bring the event total to a season-best 70.500.

The Huskers completed competition on vault as the team notched a 70.500. Gollott and Chamberlain set the pace with a pair of 14.70 marks. Klein posted his third season-best of the night with a 14.45, as King tallied a 14.20 to boost the effort.

Minnesota took home the win with a season-high 429.000. Nebraska grabbed second with its season-best 422.050, while UIC finished third with a 402.600. Minnesota’s Jack Metcalf took home the rings title (14.85) while teammate Steve Jaciuk claimed the crown on parallel bars (14.90).

Looking Ahead
The Huskers will conclude its three-week road campaign by traveling to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Winter Cup Challenge. This meet is not affiliated with the NCAA and is based on individual competitors by invitation only. Freshman Kyle King will be Nebraska’s sole athlete competing in the meet. In addition to King, the competition will feature individuals from Air Force, Army, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Stanford and UIC. Competition begins on Thursday, Feb. 19 and will be divided into two preliminary sessions in the morning and afternoon. Those who qualify to the Winter Cup Finals will compete again on Saturday, Feb. 21. Athletes have the potential to be selected to the U.S. National Team and could be invited to the Pan American Games based on their placement at the Winter Cup. More information about the meet can be found at http://dustyritter.com/php/schedule.php.

Nebraska Drops Two Spots in National Rankings
Despite posting its best score of the season last weekend, the Huskers fell two spots to No. 11 in the national rankings after the fourth week of competition and dropped one spot to seventh in the Big Ten rankings. Penn State earns the No. 1 spot in the national rankings this week with a three-score average of 442.567, knocking off Oklahoma from its four-week streak at the top. The Sooners drop to No. 2, followed by Illinois, Stanford and Michigan to round out the rest of the top five.

In addition to the team ranking, NU earned a spot in the top 10 on five out of six events. For its highest event ranking, the team occupies the No. 8 spot on floor with an average of 71.950. The Huskers are also ranked eighth on vault, tenth on rings, tenth on parallel bars and tenth on high bar.

Individually, six Huskers continued to be ranked in the top 25 nationally. Junior Ethan Lottman ranks seventh on pommel horse after his stellar performance in Minnesota. Lottman holds a 14.783 average and is NU’s highest-ranked individual this week.

Freshman Kyle King remains in the top 25 in two events for the second week in a row. He holds the No. 12 spot on floor with an average of 14.85 and is ranked 19th on vault with a 14.717 average.

Sam Chamberlain continues his prominence on parallel bars this week, ranking 11th on the event with an average of 14.75.

Senior Louis Klein is ranked nationally on high bar for the second straight week, locking in at No. 13 with a 14.633 average.

Freshman Daniel Leal earned his second consecutive top-25 spot on parallel bars, ranking tied for 24th with Ohio State’s Drew Moling and Air Force’s Greg Chaput with a 14.517.

Sophomore Travis Gollott breaks back into the national rankings this week on vault, averaging a 14.667 and tying with Oklahoma’s Thao Hoang for the 22nd spot.