After a versatile state on the road for the past two weeks, the No. 9 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team will return home to the Bob Devaney Sports Center for their home opener on Saturday, Jan. 27. The Huskers will host the UIC Flames, meeting up with them at 1 p.m. CST. Fans who can’t make it to the meet will be able to view free live stats on Huskers.com. They can also follow the team on Twitter (@NebraskaMGym) or on Facebook (facebook.com/NebraskaMGym) for live updates from the meet.
The Huskers and the Flames look to earn their first win of the season this weekend. Nebraska struggled against No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 6 California, falling to all three teams. UIC was defeated by a handful of Big Ten teams at the Windy City Invitational. The two last met in 2011 in Lincoln, where UIC fell to Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Scouting the Flames
A Glance at UIC
Head Coach: Charley Nelson
2013 Record: 0-7
2013 High Score: 401.600 (Windy City Invitational, 1/19/13)
UIC started their 2013 season with a pair of home meets, coming out on the bottom of both. They hosted Illinois on Jan. 12, falling to the Illini with a score of 425.45-385.75. The Flames then held the 43rd Annual Windy City Invitational inside the Physical Education Building. The team posted a season-best team score of 401.600. Sophomore Jason Gaides posted team-high scores on rings and high bar. The team increased their team score by 15 points between the two weeks, which head coach Charley Nelson says is ample progress for the team.
Nebraska will face the Flames a second week in a row, traveling to Minneapolis for a triangular matchup against UIC and the Golden Gophers. No. 7 Minnesota will host the Huskers at the Sports Pavillion on Feb. 2. Named the John Roethlisberger Iceberg Invitational, the meet will kick off at 7 p.m. CST. The Golden Gophers are 2-3 this season and will host Air Force this weekend at the Sports Pavillion.
Last Time Out: Huskers Stumble Against Top Teams
The Huskers fell to No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 6 California at the Stanford Open on Saturday. The three teams posted consistent scores on all six events, putting pressure on No. 5 Nebraska to match. NU finished with a score of 421.900 in Palo Alto, Calif., on Jan. 10.
Junior Wyatt Aycock returned to all-around competition for the first time since his freshman year. Aycock left an impression on his competitors, finishing fourth in all-around competition with an 82.100. This score placed Aycock at tenth nationally in the all-around. Classmate C.J. Schaaf came in just behind Aycock, finishing the night in fifth with an 80.400.
Sophomore Connor Stillwell made his 2013 competitive debut on high bar in California. Stillwell posted a 14.35 on the event. The sophomore also finished up the weekend ranked 19th nationally on high bar.
NU struggled on pommel horse and still rings, posting only four scores better than 14 on the two events combined. Rings specialist Donovan Arndt saw the highest score on rings with a 14.15, while freshman Sam Chamberlain finished just behind him with a 14.10. Chamberlain also scored a 14.40 on parallel bars later on in the meet.
Nebraska’s only current All-American, Grant Perdue, continued to struggle on floor and vault, posting a 14.15 and 14.10 on the events respectively.
Nebraska Finishes Second Week in Ninth
NU dropped to No. 9 nationally after the second week of the season. Four teams (Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota and Iowa) jumped ahead of the Huskers after completing their first meets of the season. Nebraska is now ranked seventh in the Big Ten. Penn State remained at the top spot with an average team score of 444.375. Stanford jumped to second after their victory at the Stanford Open, finishing their second week with an average score of 431.625. Michigan joined the rankings at No. 3 with their win at the Windy City Invitational, posting a team score of 431.300.
Nebraska finished seventh on pommel horse, triumphing over Minnesota (No. 8) and Iowa (No. 13). The Huskers finished eighth on vault and parallel bars and ninth on floor and rings. Lack of consistency pushed NU to No. 10 on high bar, less than a point behind William & Mary.
Individually, Nebraska saw four athletes in the national rankings this week. Junior Wyatt Aycock claimed the No. 10 position in the all-around after finishing with an 82.100 in Palo Alto, Calif. C.J. Schaaf also finished the week in the all-around rankings, placing sixteenth with an average score of 80.650.
Aycock also claimed the No. 20 spot on pommel horse, averaging a score of 14.375 between the first two meets. Eric Schryver returned to the parallel bars rankings for a seecond week in a row, dropping to twentieth, though his score increase to a 14.325.
Sophomore Connor Stillwell broke into the top 20 on high bar after finishing his first meet of the season. Stillwell snagged the No. 19 spot with a strong score of 14.350.