Dan Zerbel Set to Compete in 2012 VISA Championships
June 6, 2012
ST. LOUIS - UIC men's gymnast Dan Zerbel, a senior-to-be next season, is currently training in St. Louis, preparing for the prestigious VISA National Championships at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University. The event, which will decide the next U.S. National Team, kicks off Thursday, and wraps up before a nationally-televised audience on NBC on Saturday.
Zerbel (Kalamazoo, Mich./Portage Central), who advanced to NCAA postseason competition on an individual basis in April, will compete in the Floor Exercise, the Parallel Bars, the High Bars and the Vault at the VISA Championships. Zerbel was ranked as high as fourth in the nation in the floor this season. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native set a school record in the event (15.6) against visiting Stanford at the Physical Education Building (PEB) on March 11.
The top-42 gymnasts in the country will make up this weekend's field, while the top-15 finishers will represent the next U.S. National Team. Zerbel was admitted to the VISA Championships through a "video petition," based on the footage shot at the NCAA's. The qualifiers for next month's Olympic Trials will also be determined through a point system this weekend.
"This is a great opportunity for Dan," said head coach Charley Nelson. "He's been both a leader in the gym, and for the team. The work he has put in has gotten him to this level. This is a world-class meet, and Dan really fits in. We're proud to be here in St. Louis representing the Flames."
Zerbel, who is the first-ever UIC gymnast to qualify for the VISA Championships, is excited to be included among such a prestigious field.
"I feel honored to be here," Zerbel said. "I always thought I was good enough to be at this level, but was unsure if I would be selected based on the video petition. I've been training hard since the end of the season, so I'm in shape, and ready to give it my best shot this weekend. Just being among some of the greatest gymnasts in the country is special in itself."
Thursday's opening day of competition is set to begin promptly at 5 p.m., while Saturday's events will begin at Noon (CST) and be televised live on NBC Sports (Channel 5 in the Chicagoland surrounding area).