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Wolverines turn in dominating performance

Allison Farrand/Daily
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By Alex Taylor, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 3, 2013

One of the nation’s best teams was on display Saturday night at Cliff Keen Arena—and it was dominating.

Playing host to the visitors from California, the No. 2 Michigan men’s gymnastics team defeated No. 10 California 439.350-413.400. The Wolverines (3-0) took home all six of the individual event titles and won five of the six team events.

“I thought it was fantastic,” said Michigan coach Kurt Golder. “Going into the last event we only had two missed routines. This is a difficult sport, these guys do a lot of difficult skills, and it’s real hard to get the hit percentage up there.

The Wolverines started the evening on floor exercise—an event of strength for the team—and posted the top four scores. Sophomore Stacey Ervin led the charge with a first place score of 15.30, and sophomore Adrian de los Angeles, senior Rohan Sebastian and fifth-year senior Syque Caesar took the subsequent three places.

“We started off real strong on floor, counting no misses and going six-for-six,” Caesar said. “It was a great start and we took it all the way through the entire competition up until high bar.”

Equally strong was the Wolverines performance on pommel horse. Michigan recorded the top five scores, and was led by junior Matt Freeman, who took first place with a score of 15.10. Junior Sam Mikulak placed second, de los Angeles finished third, junior Dylan James took fourth and freshman Nolan Novak placed fifth.

Parallel bars continued to be a strong spot for the Wolverines as they finished one-two in the event, with Caesar placing first with a score of 15.90 and Mikulak finishing second, scoring a 15.50.

For Caesar, the 15.90 matched the NCAA record on parallel bars that he set last week. That record earned him National and Big Ten Gymnasts of the Week awards—both the first of his career.

On vault, de los Angeles took home first place with a score of 15.00, and on rings, Sebastian and Freeman finished first and second, respectively.

With the exception of sophomore Michael Strathern and Sebastian, who finished first and third respectively, Michigan had a shaky performance on the high bar.

“We were real amped, we were ready to go, but we had way too many mistakes,” Caesar said. “We’re definitely going to go back to the gym and work on that.”

The Wolverines have a week off from competition and will return to action Feb. 16 when they take on Ohio State.