Michigan shows promise for season in annual intrasquad meet

By Alex Taylor, Daily Sports Writer
Published December 9, 2012

The slogan is omnipresent for the No. 2 Michigan men’s gymnastics team, located on banners, signs and past championship rings.

“Handle Everything,” it reads.

And it might have been on best display on Friday night.

With two of its top gymnasts dealing with injuries, Michigan still performed well at its annual Maize and Blue intrasquad meet.

“I was pretty pleased with it,” said Michigan coach Kurt Golder. “They showed me something that I’ve known all along, that they can be a really, really good team this year.”

The Maize team came up on top, winning 330.20-328.80. Fifth-year senior Syque Caesar and sophomore Adrian de los Angeles led the Maize team while sophomore Stacey Ervin, junior Sam Mikulak and senior Rohan Sebastian highlighted the Blue squad.

Ervin turned in one of the best performances of the night on floor exercise. An All-American on floor and vault last season, he scored a 15.75, beating his personal best of 15.600 from last year.

“I was stoked,” said Ervin. “I’ve been working real hard all summer and it’s been great training for this. Warm-ups were a little shaky so I went extra hard in the competition and it definitely paid off.”

Ervin logged the highest score of the night on vault with a 14.85. Even more impressive, though, was the fact that these performances were done while nursing injuries.

“He had a big rip in his hand and he also has been having a lot of shoulder trouble, so he’s a little under-prepared in a couple of events,” said Golder. “But he handled it, it was great.”

Another Wolverine hampered by injuries was Mikulak, who only participated in the rings. Even with his balky ankle, he scored a 14.15, the second-highest score on the night for rings. Mikulak had ankle problems over the summer that had recently healed, but shortly after returning, he tore a calf muscle in practice.

“He was three weeks in a cast, he’s supposed to be in a boot and has been in a boot all the time except when he was performing tonight,” said Golder. “He’s been working (on) a lot of ring strength. He has a lot of new stuff on rings so this was an opportunity to go out and see how it works under pressure.”

If this intrasquad meet was a small precursor for the season, the Wolverines might find themselves having to stare at the words “Handle Everything” for a very long time — on new championship rings.