‘M’ flies past Stanford in 'super' performance

Allison Farrand/Daily
Buy this photo

By Simon Kaufman, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 27, 2013

Redshirt senior captain Syque Caesar set a new NCAA record on the parallel bars Saturday night for the Michigan men’s gymnastic team.

And Cam Newton was in attendance to see it all.

Okay, the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback wasn’t actually at Cliff Keen Arena, but his signature “Superman” celebration was, as performed by Michigan sophomore Stacey Ervin after sticking his landing on the vault that earned him a score of 15.050. And it was a good thing the comic-book hero was there because the Wolverines needed a cast of superhero-like performances — like Caesar’s — to take down their version of Kryptonite: Stanford.

The third-ranked Wolverines tallied a total of 439.750 points to best No. 2 Stanford, which finished with 429.350.

Caesar tallied a 15.900 on the parallel bars — a new NCAA record. The previous high mark was 15.850 earned by Tim McNeil of California on April 5, 2008.

Led by Ervin’s 15.400 mark, Michigan’s floor exercise — ranked first in the nation —took four of the top five spots en route to a score of 74.750.

“We have a strong floor team,” said Michigan coach Kurt Golder. “(It) just built the energy for the whole rest of the evening.”

The momentum from the floor carried over into the second rotation — the pommel horse. Junior Matt Freeman and freshman Nolan Novak led the Wolverines to a 71.150 mark for the exercise while taking first and second place, respectively.

Following just a .15-point defeat on the rings, Michigan swept the final three events.

Sophomore Adrian de los Angeles, who won the all-around with a score of 89.200, placed first on the vault with a 15.300. Four other Wolverines posted scores of 14.750 or higher to round out the top five.

De los Angeles finished the night by placing second on both the parallel bars (15.400) and the high bar (14.550), behind Syque Caesar who notched the top spot on the final two rotations. It was de los Angeles’ second all-around victory this season, having also captured the title last week at the 2013 Windy City Invitational in Chicago.

“It’s not surprising (that de los Angeles won the all-around),” Golder said. “He’s just a real hard steady worker. … He’s a gamer.”

The victory against Stanford should give Michigan a boost of confidence moving forward.

“I’m extremely proud of how this team is coming together,” Ervin said. “We have a great team chemistry, and I feel that translates into our gymnastics so well. It definitely helps knowing that (we all have) each other’s back.”

It will help to have some more superhero-like performances this season. And Clark Kent’s new high-energy alter ego, Stacey Ervin, looks like he’ll be a determining factor in Michigan’s success.

“I always get excited about my gymnastics (and) other people’s gymnastics,” Ervin said. “During the competition, we like to keep the high energy, and I like to lead through that, you know, try and get everyone else as excited as I am. It’s definitely working so far.”