Nerves are always a part of sports.
Whether an athlete has been competing for decades or making a competitive debut, it’s hard to stay calm. The freshmen on the Michigan men’s gymnastics team, in particular, faced that challenge as they went up against No. 1 Oklahoma. The Sooners haven't lost since 2014.
Despite an overall team loss, two freshmen were a bright spot for the Wolverines: Cameron Bock and Jacob Moore.
Bock competed in three events: the pommel horse, parallel bars and the high bar. His slow handstands and bent knees on the parallel bars reduced his score to a 12.75, and his fall on Tkatchev during his high barroutine plummeted his score down to 10.6. But Bock’s best moment came on the pommel horse. He kept his feet together well, had good swings and stuck his dismount to earn a team high 13.55 on the event.
“They weren’t as nervous as normal freshmen would be,” said junior Uche Eke. “Cameron Bock hit a really nice pommel horse set. They were hitting good sets in the gym so it just showed that practice reflects your competition.”
Moore competed in four events on the day ― scoring 14.05 on both the vault and floor. He had great height during his floor routine, and pumped his fist after sticking his dismount.
“Floor, I consider that my strongest event so I don’t really have any nerves there,” Moore said. “Before I go I take a deep breath and I just go into autopilot. To get that triple full stick dismount, that felt great.”
Michigan coach Kurt Golder had nothing but praise for his freshmen and looked forward to their growing involvement as the season progresses.
“About a third of the routines today were from freshmen and that number will probably go up as Jake and Cameron Bock recover from their surgeries that they had either over the summer or recently,” Golder said “And yeah, we’re going to be counting on them a real lot.”
Both Bock and Moore competed in a combined seven events and got a taste of the collegiate atmosphere.
“It was really fun,” Moore said. “You know, I wanted to kind of come out here and get the season started, just have a good time, and I think we did that.”
Though Oklahoma beat Michigan down the stretch due to strong performances on the parallel bars and the high bar, the Wolverines were pleased at how they competed.
“I think last year we were kind of lacking that energy as a team, you know,” Moore said. “I think this season’s going to be a lot different and we’re going to show some people what Michigan’s made of.”
If the Wolverines can continue to work hard and make the necessary improvements on the parallel bars and the high bar, this pair of freshmen will have the opportunity to announce themselves to the rest of the country.