The Michigan men’s gymnastics team opened its season at the 47th Windy City Invitational on Saturday, finishing third out of six teams with a score of 397.100, edging out Minnesota by just .100.

Sophomore Emyre Cole secured his first event title at Michigan with a victory on the floor. In the final event, Cole stuck a full-in on his final pass and finished with a score of 14.900, securing a victory on the floor for the Wolverines and the third place spot overall.

Despite it being his final event of the day, Michigan coach Kurt Golder was impressed at Cole’s ability to power through.

“He did great,” Golder said. “It was our last event and he did multiple events, so of course you’d be a little tired. He came through great. You know the whole Michigan team did.”

Michigan excelled on the floor during the competition, taking three of the top five spots. Behind Cole was senior Anthony Stefanelli with a score of 14.550, and Tristian Perez-Rivera finished fifth with a score of 14.200.

Despite Cole finishing third on the vault with a score of 14.650 and the team earning third on the pommel horse, the other events were less successful for the Wolverines.

“We had a really good beginning with pommel horse and rings,” Golder said. “We had a pretty good vault, which was our third event. We fell apart (on the parallel bars) and we didn’t do well on high bar either, and we came back real strong on the floor.”

The Wolverines had four freshmen — Mack Lasker, Thomas Paul, Justin Murphy and Mitchell Brown — debut at the Windy City Invitational. Brown made an impact by earning the highest overall event score on the vault with a 13.30. Three of the freshmen started off the meet on the pommel horse and hit their routines, which is no easy task according to Golder.

“It’s the toughest (event) to either start on or to finish, because the nerves are getting to you and the pressure is greater,” Golder said. “The freshmen went three for three. It was great.”

The meet was full of highs and lows, and even some confusion about rules and points.

If a gymnast is injured and cannot finish their routine, the team is allowed to sub in another gymnast and disregard the previous score. But there is a deduction of one point on the substitute gymnast’s score.

The team decided to exercise this rule after a Wolverine gymnast was injured and his replacement’s score was deducted by one point. However, there are two different portions of the season — one in which there are six gymnasts for each event and only five scores count.The other is when there are five gymnasts for each event and all five scores count. The substitution rule only counts for the second portion of the season when all five scores count.

“This is part that slipped everyone’s mind,” Golder said. “You can’t do that in this portion of the season. So we gained a point back and that was more than we had gained with our substitute score.”

After a down year last season, the performances of Cole and the other freshmen showed promising signs of improvement to begin the season.

 

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