As the Michigan men’s gymnastics meet came to a close on Saturday, freshman Paul Juda stepped up to compete in his final event of the day — the high bar. With precision and control, he maneuvered himself around the bar, ending his performance with a sound stuck landing. The resulting score of 14.300 put him in first place for the event, giving him his third event title of the meet.
Ultimately, solid performances like Juda’s led the fourth-ranked Wolverines’ (8-0) triumph over No. 19 Northern Illinois (0-7) and the University of Illinois-Chicago (2-8) with a total score of 413.400. The Wolverines won the meet by 55.450 points, with UIC taking second (357.950) and NIU in third (271.700).
As if it could foretell its future success, Michigan entered into its first home meet of the season exuding confidence. After two consecutive wins at both the Windy City Invite and last week against then-No. 9 Ohio State (1-3), the Wolverines entered Saturday with momentum.
“It gave them a lot of confidence,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “To go into Chicago, there were some really good teams there. And to win that and then go on the road against Ohio State, a top-10 team, and then win on the road, I think that helped them a lot. I was concerned about a letdown, so we talked about trying to beat our best score in every event by at least one-tenth.”
Going in with this mindset, the Wolverines started on the floor. Juda began his winning streak in this event, taking first with a score of 14.200. Sophomore Miles Miller followed close behind with a 13.900. Michigan built a strong lead in the first event—one it maintained throughout the meet— scoring 66.950 points.
On the pommel horse, the Wolverines continued their dominant performances. Michigan had the top three highest scorers— each gymnast scoring a 14.000 or above. Senior Mack Lasker won the event with a 14.250, while juniors Cameron Bock and Jacob Moore finished with a 14.200 and 14.000, respectively.
Junior James Read anchored the Wolverines’ rings lineup, and took first with a score of 13.950. Additionally, freshmen Adam Wooten (13.600) and Paul Juda (13.400) were able to take second and third place.
Their domination continued on vault as well. Juda took first place with a 14.450, and Read took second with a 14.250. Senior Uche Eke secured third place with a score of 13.950. Michigan ended this round with a total score of 275.700 points — 17.100 points ahead of second place.
The fifth event, parallel bars, produced a lot of excitement for the Wolverines. Bock earned a career-best score of 15.050, easily taking first place.
“Cameron’s score on (parallel) bars is really a huge score,” Golder said. “It’s tied for the highest score in the NCAA this year, but that doesn’t surprise me because you could see the progress coming and that it was going to clip form real soon. It’s just nice that today was the day.”
Bock’s leading score in parallel bars was followed by teammates Juda and senior Mitchell Brown, with scores of 14.650 and 13.900.
Michigan finished the meet strong on high bar. Juda’s top score of 14.300 was accompanied by a 13.500 from Wooten and a 13.400 from Eke.
Despite winning every event, Golder saw room for his team’s improvement.
“I’m real pleased with what they did today,” Golder said. “Real proud of them, but we’re going up against No. 1 Oklahoma next weekend and they’re capable. We left a lot of tens out on the floor today, and if we do that against Oklahoma, we probably won’t win.”