The No. 10 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team will travel to Minneapolis to attend their second-ever Big Ten Championships. All seven of the Big Ten men’s gymnastics teams are ranked within the top 10 nationally, with Penn State holding the top spot. The championships will kick off on April 5 with the team and all-around finals competition. Gymnasts who qualify on specific events will compete in the individual finals on April 6. Both nights of competition will begin at 7 p.m. CST and will take place in the Sports Pavillion. The Big Ten Network will broadcast both nights of the championship competition live from Minneapolis. Fans who can’t make it to the meet can also follow the Huskers on Twitter (@NebraskaMGym) or on Facebook (facebook.com/NebraskaMGym) for live updates from the meet and behind-the-scenes content throughout the weekend.
The Huskers finished out the regular season ranked No. 10 nationally, dropping from the ninth spot after taking the last weekend of the season off. NU enters the championships after a season-best performance on the road against reigning NCAA champions, No. 6 Illinois. Nebraska battled with the Illini all night before coming out on top, beating them 425.500-424.250.
Nebraska Holds On tO Top-Ten Status
The Huskers jumped around the GymInfo national rankings during the past two weeks. After their victory over Illinois, Nebraska moved up to the No. 9 spot, bumbing Iowa down to the tenth position. During their week off, however, NU dropped down to No. 10, just behind California.
Nebraska ended the regular season in the top ten on five of the six events, just barely missing out on rings in 11th. The Huskers jumped to fourth nationally on parallel bars, aided by freshman Sam Chamberlain’s 15.10 that he earned against the Illini.
Sophomores Grant Perdue and Louis Klein remained in the floor rankings for another week, moving up to 12 and 14, respectively. The two are separated by just 0.05 points in their averages going into the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
Chamberlain also remained in the rankings, moving up to No. 13 on parallel bars. Teammate Mark Ringle joined him on the event, coming in at No. 17 with a four-score average of 14.633.
Despite not competing in the all-around against the Illini, junior CJ Schaaf remained in the all-around rankings, staying at 12 with an average score of 82.300.
Scouting the Competition
All seven Big Ten teams are ranked within the top 10 nationally, according to the latest GymInfo poll, released April 1. Nebraska hold a four-score average of 425.717, placing them seventh among Big Ten teams. The Huskers will face No. 1 Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, reigning champion Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa this weekend in the Big Ten Championships.
A total of 24 Big Ten gymnasts claimed top 5 spots on the GymInfo individual event rankings at the end of the regular season, with 15 of those athletes coming from Penn State or Michigan. On top of that, a Big Ten team holds the top spot on five of the six events in the team rankings, four of them going to Penn State.
Pending selection from the NCAA, Nebraska will join 11 other teams at this year’s NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships in Penn Station, Penn. The event will be held on April 20-21 in the Recreation Building on the Penn State University campus. The NCAA selects 12 Division-1 teams, 36 event specialists and six all-around competitors to compete at the championships.
Last Time Out: Huskers Upset No. 6 Illinois
Closing their season on the road, Nebraska traveled to Champaign, Ill., to face defending champion Illinois at their home gym. The Huskers struggled individually throughout the night, but matched the Illini on each event. NU took home four of the six events as a team, missing out on rings by 0.3 of a point and horse by more than a point.
The Huskers started out the night on horse, struggling to gain their momentum at the start. Freshman Ethan Lottman (14.30) was the only horseman to earn a score above 14.00. The Omaha, Neb., native tied for second overall on the event. Junior co-captain Eric Schryver, who entered the competition looking to regain his national ranking on horse, was unable to impress the judges, earning the team’s second best score on the event (13.90).
Sophomore Louis Klein grabbed the spotlight in the Huskers’ second rotation, performing an almost flawless routine. His score of 15.60 maxed out the Nebraska school record on the event (15.40), which had been set by teammate Grant Perdue last year. Klein was one of two Huskers during the meet to break 15.00 - Perdue earned a 15.30 on vault later on - and was one of two gymnasts to break the 15.00 mark on floor - Illinois’ Yoshi Mori earned a 15.20.
NU then moved to vault, where they earned a total score of 72.600. Klein was the only gymnast on the event that did not break the 14.00 mark. Perdue took home the individual event title, while teammates Josh Ungar and Wyatt Aycock tied for third overall with scores of 14.70.
Nebraska showed improvement on rings, grabbing a season-high 72.300 on the event. All five of the Huskers earned a score of 14.00 or better. Junior Donovan Arndt led NU with an impressive 14.90, followed by junior transfer Zach Hedval with a 14.70. The two claimed second and third, respectively, in the overall standings.
Nebraska struggled on high bar, posting only two scores with a 14.00 or better. Klein tied for second overall on the event with his score of 14.15, falling behind Illinois’ Austin Phillips (14.75). Junior co-captain Mark Ringle earned a 14.00, putting him just behind Klein in fourth.
Freshman Sam Chamberlain proved his national placement on parallel bars, grabbing a personal best 15.10 on the event. He was the only gymnast to break a 15.00 on parallel bars, earning him the individual event title. Illinois’ Yoshi Mori and Astin Phillips were the closest competitors to Chamberlain, earning scores of 14.80.
Nebraska ended the evening on top, finishing with a score of 425.400. The Huskers overcame the Illini by 1.15 points, boosting them to the No. 9 spot in the national rankings.