Junior Grant Perdue hopes to help lead the men's gymnastics team move into team finals Thursday night.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

No. 11 Huskers Ready for NCAA Championships

By NU Athletic Communications

The No. 11 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to compete in the 2014 NCAA Championships. All seven of the Big Ten men’s gymnastics teams will be attending the championships, as they are all ranked within the top 11 nationally, with Michigan holding the No. 2 spot. The championships will kick off on April 10 with the two team qualifier sessions. Three teams from each session will qualify for the team finals, which will be held on April 11 at 7 p.m. Gymnasts who qualify for the all-around finals and individual event semifinals will also compete on April 11. The top-scoring athletes on each event will transfer to the individual event finals, which will be held on April 12 at 7 p.m. All three nights of competition will be held in the Crisler Center and will be broadcast via live stream on the championship page on the University of Michigan's website. 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 throughout the weekend.

The Huskers will be joining No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Minnesota and No. 10 Air Force in the second session at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. Nebraska faced four of the five teams in regular-season competition. NU also faced four of the five at the Big Ten Championships two weekends ago in Lincoln.

The first qualifier will begin at 1 p.m. CST on Thursday afternoon and will consist of No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Illinois, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 California and No. 12 William & Mary.

Nebraska Keeps No. 11 Another Week
Despite hot and cold performances at the Big Ten Championships, the Huskers held on to their No. 11 spot in the GymInfo national rankings. Nebraska came out of the conference championships in the top ten on two of the six events (rings and parallel bars), finishing at No. 11 on floor and pommel horse, No. 12 on vault and No. 13 on high bar.

Junior Robbie Kocks continued his national streak, coming in at the No. 7 spot with a national qualifying average of 15.413. Kocks remained in the top 20 nationally every week during the 2014 regular season, as well as all three weeks of post-season rankings.

Grant Perdue made the top 20 rankings on two aparatuses coming into NCAA championships weekend. His strong scores on floor moved him up six places into the No. 13 spot. He dropped one spot on vault, coming in at No. 17 with an average score of 14.888.

Sophomore Sam Chamberlain also dropped one spot, finishing out the week in the No. 16 spot on parallel bars. Senior Eric Schryver retained his No. 15 spot on high bar, putting in a national qualifying average of 14.662 on the event.

Scouting the Competition
All seven Big Ten teams are ranked within the top 11 nationally, according to the latest GymInfo poll, released March 31. Nebraska hold a team average of 424.663, putting them just over three points behind No. 10 Air Force. The Huskers will face all six of the Big Ten schools they faced two weeks ago, along with No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Stanford, No. 9 California, No. 10 Air Force and No. 12 William & Mary.

Last Time Out: Huskers Stumble at Conference Championships
The No. 11 Nebraska men's gymnastics team kicked off the 2014 Big Ten Championships Friday with the team and all-around finals. The Huskers finished out the night with a team score of 428.150, placing them in sixth of seven teams.

The Huskers started on a bye rotation, making them wait through the other teams' first rotations. Nebraska then moved pommel horse, starting out the meet on their most challenging event this season. Sophomore Ethan Lottman led the team, earning a 14.65 for his routine. He was followed by all-arounder Wyatt Aycock (14.20) and Eric Schryver (14.10). Andrew House and senior C.J. Schaaf rounded out the five-man lineup, earning scores of 13.65 and 13.30 respectively.

NU then moved to rings for their second rotation, earning a team score of 73.00. Junior Grant Perdue started out the rings lineup, grabbing a personal best 14.20 for his routine. Senior rings specialist Zach Hedval continued the trend, earning a 14.05. Redshirt freshman Austin Epperson continued to improve on rings, setting a new personal best of 14.75, besting his previous record of 14.65 set earlier in the season. Rings specialists Donovan Arndt and Robbie Kocks continued the strong showing, earning scores of 14.80 and 15.20 respectively.

Nebraska finished out their first half on vault. Sophomore Sam Chamberlain jumped right into the meet, starting off the rotation with a 14.60. Junior Josh Ungar followed, posting a 14.45 for his vault. Schaaf and Aycock earned similar scores back-to-back. Schaaf grabbed a 14.70, while Aycock scored just higher with a 14.75. Perdue finished out the rotation, tying Aycock's score of 14.75.

The Huskers started off the second half of the team finals on parallel bars, posting a team score of 71.700. Junior Louis Klein started off the second half strong, earning a personal 14.70 on the event. Epperson followed suit, posting his own personal best on the event with a score of 14.30. Schryver followed, earning a 14.60 for his routine. Returning All-American Sam Chamberlain posted the best score for the Huskers, earning a 14.75 for his routine. Aycock struggled on his dismount, affecting his 13.35 point routine.

NU continued on to high bar for their fifth rotation. Freshman Antonio Castro started off the event, struggling to perform in the championship spotlight. The Pinecrest, Fla., native earned a 10.75 after falling twice during his routine. Klein followed, hoping to regain the momentum Nebraska had set leading up to the rotation. He posted a 14.00 for his routine, helping to re-energize the team. Ungar struggled to continue the energy, earning a 13.05. However, Epperson got the team back on their feet, earning a 14.60. He was followed by Schryver (14.50) and Aycock (12.95).

The Huskers looked to finish the team portion of the Big Ten Championships with a bang. Freshman Travis Gollott started off floor strong, returning from injury with a score of 14.35. Ungar continued the momentum, grabbing a 14.70 for his routine. Aycock followed with a 14.40, then House with a 14.75. Former All-American on floor Grant Perdue rounded out the lineup, finishing the night strong with a 15.20.

As the only all-around competitor for Nebraska, Wyatt Aycock came in ninth in the all-around competition with a score of 84.350.

Two members of the Nebraska men's gymnastics team qualified for the individual competition of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday afternoon. Junior Robbie Kocks led the Huskers, claiming third place in the still rings competition. Junior and former All-American on floor Grant Perdue finished fifth on floor.

Kocks' dominant performance on rings earned him second-team All-Big Ten honors, the only conference award received by the Huskers. Senior C.J. Schaaf received a 2014 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.


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