Huskers Aim for Success in Big Ten
After losing a four-man core of seniors, the Huskers will look to continue their upward climb following a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships last season. Head Coach Chuck Chmelka looks for continued improvement and effort from his young squad in 2012.
"I expect our team to be the hardest-working team in the NCAA," Chmelka said.
The 2012 campaign will mark the beginning of a new era for NU men's gymnastics, as the team begins its first season as competitors in the Big Ten in January. The traditional strength of the conference in men's gymnastics points toward a competitive season for the Big Red.
After losing four competitors to graduation, Chmelka expects seniors Will Eastman, Andreas Hofer, David Jacobs and Michael Killeen to step up into new leadership roles.
"I expect everything from our seniors," Chmelka said. "We need them to be leaders in the practice gym, competition arena, the classroom and in life skills."
The Huskers will also add six talented freshmen to the roster in Gabriel Jolley, Grant Perdue, Josh Ungar, Hayden Henrioulle, Ryan Irick and Connor Stillwell.
"I feel we have a very strong incoming freshman class," Chmelka said. "I expect them to have an immediate impact on the improvement of our team, both in the gym and in the classroom."
Andreas Hofer will enter the season in his third and final year of eligibility. He will contend for All-America honors in all-around competition in 2012 after finishing 11th at the NCAA all-around finals last season.
David Jacobs competed at the NCAA Championships in three events for the second consecutive season, and will be looked to for continued leadership in 2012.
Will Eastman is coming off a solid junior campaign that saw him compete in floor exercise and vault throughout the season. He is expected to add high bar to his events this season.
Michael Killeen had a strong junior season in pommel horse and looks to increase his role as a senior. He may also see competition in floor, vault and high bar.
Juniors Provide Stability
Ben Hall returns for his junior season with hopes of seeing action in parallel bars. Teammate Gabriel Sanchez will round out the junior class and may see action in three events. Sophomore Scorers
Eric Schryver will look to continue his role as NU's top performer on pommel horse. A contributer in three additional events, Schryver has plenty of room for growth in his sophomore season.
Mark Ringle will return in pursuit of All-America honors on high bar while remaining a fixture in the floor, vault and parallel bar lineups. Teammate Micah Christensen will also look to improve his work in high bar competition.
Andrew House was a mainstay in the NU lineup in 2010, including an NCAA Team Qualifier appearance. His work in floor, horse and vault will be invaluable to the Big Red this season.
Donovan Arndt has a chance to step up and lead the Huskers in still rings this season following the departure of All-American Anthony Ingrelli.
C.J. Schaaf competed in two events at the NCAA Team Qualifier and looks to contribute even more as an all-arounder in his sophomore season.Redshirt freshman Louis Klein will look to crack the lineup in three events after a knee injury kept him out of competition last season. Fellow redshirt freshman Robbie Kocks also hopes to get his first taste of competition in his second year at Nebraska.
NU will also welcome six freshmen to the competition floor in 2012. Grant Perdue could get a good look early in the season in floor exercise, while Gabriel Jolley hopes to contribute in two events in his freshman season.
Josh Ungar, Hayden Henrioulle, Ryan Irick and Connor Stillwell will also compete in hopes of snagging spots in the NU lineup this season.
The Huskers will open the year at the Rocky Mountain Invitational on Jan. 14, before beginning their home schedule at the Devaney Center on Jan. 22. Nebraska will face Air Force at 1 p.m.
NU will hit the road for three consecutive competitions, first facing Stanford and Cal in Palo Alto, Calif. on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. The Huskers return to the midwest for back-to-back Big Ten matchups, appearing first in a triangular with Minnesota and Iowa, before traveling to Minnesota for a dual against the Golden Gophers. The Huskers will return home to face Arizona State on March 4 at 2 p.m. and Minnesota and Illinois on March 11 at 1 p.m. Nebraska will then journey to Oklahoma for a matchup with the Sooners. NU celebrates Senior Day against Iowa at the Devaney Center on March 24 at 7 p.m.
The Huskers will head back to Iowa City on April 7-8 to compete in their inaugural Big Ten Championships. The season will wrap up with the NCAA Championships on April 19-21 in Norman, Okla.