Cal men’s gymnastics unable to overcome Minnesota’s senior night success

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Michael Wan/File

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The Senior Day spirit of the Gophers in their home burrow last weekend was just too much for the then-No. 11 Cal men’s gymnastics team to handle. Then-No. 6 Minnesota attained its highest score of the season to easily outperform the Bears’ second-lowest score of the season, 411.150-388.550.

Cal was hopeful going into its last road dual meet of the regular season, still riding the high of its valiant effort against No. 1 Oklahoma the weekend prior. But the quick turnaround, drastic change in weather and enthusiasm of a boisterous Minnesota crowd proved to be too tall of a task for the Bears.

With the goal to improve upon their recent highest team score in the loss to Oklahoma and also pencil in a win on the score sheet, the Bears headed to Minneapolis for the first time since the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Unfortunately, a slow start to the meet would prove to be a costly drawback, and the Bears would finish in second for a frustrating fifth time this season.

Out of the Gophers’ 10 departing seniors, three came away with event titles during the meet while freshman Shane Wiskus was able to snatch the all-around win with a score of 83.050. The sense of community and excitement that surrounded the Gophers, seniors and all, seemed to aid the team in its season record-breaking performance.

Toward the end of the afternoon, Cal managed to somewhat redeem itself with a winning team score on the horizontal bar of 65.200. Senior Yordan Aleksandrov was able to build on his individual success as a fresh all-around performer, leading Cal with a score of 78.400 to take home second place overall. This effort was bolstered by his second place score of 13.950 on the horizontal bar and a third place score of 13.800 on the parallel bars.

Hopefully Aleksandrov’s impressive all-around debut is only strengthened next weekend as he celebrates his own Senior Night alongside teammates Bailey Chang, Michael Rauchwerger and Nathaniel Ramil.

Although Cal is returning to its lair with two tough losses against Minnesota and Oklahoma, the team will look to mimic its rivals’ Senior Night successes and learn to use the spirit of its own cheering crowd to turn the tides this Saturday as the Bears host a tri-meet with No. 17 Washington and No. 14 Arizona State.

Alison White cover men’s gymnastics. Cover her at [email protected].

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