After a mediocre performance in the 2017 season, the Michigan men’s gymnastics team sought to bounce back by getting its squad loosened up and ready to head into competitive play with its annual scrimmage.
Saturday, the Wolverines commenced play at Cliff Keen Arena, where the Maize team defeated the Blue team, 399.35 to 388.35.
Junior Anthony McCallum, the defending NCAA Vault champion, picked up where he left off and led the scoring with 14.9 points on the vault and 80.85 points in the all-around for the Blue team.
For the Maize team, freshman Cameron Bock showed promise, scoring 80.55 in the all-around to make a push for a rotation spot.
Michigan coach Kurt Golder – who did not lead either the Maize or Blue team explicitly for this match – was impressed with McCallum, asserting his vault performance Saturday would have won again.
The Wolverines have an experienced squad as very few seniors graduated last year. They also picked up a considerable number of freshmen this past year, and Golder expects them to compete and occupy some of the spots in the rotation.
“I think what will really help us is the freshmen that came in putting the heat on the upperclassmen,” Golder said.
Though some of the gymnasts had shaky performances on the pommel horse and rocky landings off the horizontal bar, Golder wasn’t concerned. He mentioned the biggest issue his team will have to work on going forward is to cut out the mistakes and focus on consistency.
Golder also noted that he doesn’t expect the long holiday break to have much of an impact on the players’ form going into the season. Despite many players coming from far regions, he expects his gymnasts to be practicing in their hometowns regularly during the off period just as they did before they came to the team.
“When they go back home, they’re always welcome to go back to their home club gyms, and we’ll have voluntary practices over break for those who are staying along,” he mentioned.
With a solid mix of experience and fresh blood, it seems that they will start 2018 on the right foot.