Performing well on the road is always a challenge. That challenge is multiplied ten-fold when the opponent is an arch rival. But despite early setbacks in Columbus, the Michigan men’s gymnastics team (6-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) overcame a hot start from Ohio State (1-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten), winning the rivalry meet, 409.600 – 408.500.
“It is tough going on the road and winning and particularly when you get behind in the beginning,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “They got off to a pretty good start and we got off to kind of a rough start.”
The Wolverines started off scoring 66.200 on pommel horse with senior Uche Eke contributing a 13.800. On its second rotation, Michigan scored a 68.200 on floor and trailed Ohio State by 1.200. Junior Alan Gerdov secured a personal-best 14.200 in response to a strong performance by the Buckeyes on floor, with sophomore Jesse Tyndall scoring a 15.000 and two other gymnasts scoring 14.000 and above.
“(When the) pressure was on he came through,” Golder said.
On the third rotation, the Wolverines took to vault and gained the lead for the first time of the night with a team score of 71.100. Junior Nick Guy scored a 14.800, while also securing the meet vault title to help lift Michigan out of the hole it dug itself in the first two rotations.
“Nick Guy blew the field away in vault,” an impressed Golder said of the performance.
Through the next rotation, junior captain Cameron Bock led the charge with a 14.550 on still rings, but the Wolverines lost the lead to the Buckeyes after their team score of 71.650 on vault.
Michigan fired back on the high bar with a nation-best 69.350 performance. Freshman Paul Juda and junior Jonathan Liu both scored a 14.100, with Liu sticking the landing.
“(Liu) barely made our lineup last year,” Golder said. “Here he is winning this week. From not even making the lineup to winning back to back this year. A lot of credit to him.”
With a lead of 2.050 point heading into the final rotation, the Wolverines claimed the victory after a 13.800 from Bock and contributions from Eke and senior Socrates Gavalles, both scoring 13.350. Juda also recorded a 13.200 to take home his first ever all-around title with a total of 79.150.
“(Juda) got off to a rough start. He was 0-for-4 (on his first event),” Golder said. “He didn’t let that get to him. He comes back and does a good (parallel bars) routine and wins high bar. That says a lot about a freshman on the road.
“I’m really really proud of the guys,”Golder said. “They kept their spirits up and just hung in there. Near the end you could see the tide was turning.”
Despite the back-and-forth between both teams, Michigan still secured its first dual meet win of the season, winning four of six events as a team.
“It’s all credit to the guys,” Golder said. “They just hung in there and never gave up and they finished the meet real strong.”