Walk-on Winkel makes the most of his chances in the lineup

first_imgThis season, he has made his presence felt in the opportunitieshe’s been given.Winkel finished in second place and earned a 14.500 on theParallel Bars in the Arnold Challenge, the team’s most recent meet. The scorewas the best for any Gophers gymnast on Parallel Bars this season.  “Last year was a littlebit frustrating knowing that I had the potential to benefit the team,” Winkelsaid. “It’s nice this year to reach my potential.” Head coach Mike Burns said the other Gophers gymnasts were sohappy for him after the performance at the Arnold Challenge, they “went crazy”and crowded around him. Winkel had a different reaction.“[Winkel] was just like ‘I Still didn’t do a very good [peachbasket], though,’” Burns said.Winkel, an Afton, Minnesota native, said he always had a goal tocompete with Minnesota gymnastics. Winkel walked on to the team last year.“Growing up, I’ve always came to the meets,” Winkel said. “I wasjust always a fan of gymnastics, so it was nice to see the collegiate-levelguys [growing up].”Winkel cracked the lineup for the first time during the WindyCity Invite this season. He earned a seventh-place finish and a 13.700 on theParallel Bars. The sophomore made the starting lineup in the dual after the WindyCity. Winkel scored a 13.450 this time, but he finished in fifth as Minnesotadefeated Air Force.Winkel still does not have a scholarship. Burns was also a walk-ongymnast in college when he competed for Penn State. The team has just 6.3 full-ridescholarships to allocate to gymnasts. Burns said about 16 of the 19 gymnasts onroster receive some sort of scholarship. Walk-on Winkel makes the most of his chances in the lineupWinkel mostly competes in the Parallel Bars for the Gophers. Jack WhiteMarch 11, 2017Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintSophomore Ben Winkel didn’t crack the lineup a single time hisfirst year with the Gophers. “I’ve got a soft spot for guys like [Winkel],” Burns said. “[Awalk-on starting] is just a feather in the cap of a kid who’s willing to putthe time and effort in.”Winkel’s specialty is the Parallel Bars. He has made the lineupin that event four times. He has also made the lineup for Still Rings,competing twice in that event.The sophomore earned a 13.100 on the Still Rings in Minnesota’sloss to Illinois. The performance was actually a personal best for Winkel,however, he finished in 12th place out of 12 gymnasts. Junior Ryan Bergman also specializes in Parallel Bars. Bergmansaid it was nice to see Winkel succeed as of late.“I work pretty close with [Winkel] on P Bars, and we work everyday,” Bergman said. “It was really cool to see him go out there and do what weall knew he could do.”Winkel balances his collegiate sport with his electricalengineering major. The sophomore said he chose his major because of his passionfor renewable energy. “I think solar energy is going to be big in the future,” Winkelsaid. “I kind of want to get into that field.”Winkel competed in six duals this season and now he will look to compete in two straight meets when Minnesota hosts No. 8 Iowa and No. 15 Arizona State. He said his main goal for this year is to be a consistent memberin Gophers meets.“Keep being a solid competitor,” Winkel said. “Compete in Big Ten[championships] and NCAA [championships].”last_img

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