The meet was well-matched from the beginning. Many of the rotations ended with Michigan and Oklahoma within just a few points of each other. Both teams were putting up high scores and solid performances, and it was in the middle of this exciting meet when sophomore Cameron Bock stepped up to the parallel bars, one of his best events.

After stumbles on pommel horse and vault, he needed a strong performance to regain his footing and give the Michigan men’s gymnastics team an extra bump in a close meet. After a routine filled with complex twists and impressive athleticism, the crowd erupted as soon as he landed. Bock received a score of 14.750, the highest parallel bars score of the meet by more than half a point.

The atmosphere in Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday afternoon was raucous and exciting. Both teams loudly cheered on their teammates as events occurred simultaneously, with the Wolverines aided by an enthusiastic home crowd.

The result was a cacophony of support as No. 3 Michigan (8-0-0) and No. 2 Oklahoma (8-2-0) competed, with the Wolverines coming out on top, winning 416.500-408.900.

“We had great fan support,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “It was a high-energy meet from start to finish. The guys kept their energy up, fed off the crowd. I’m just very happy.”

Michigan’s main advantages are on the pommel horse, parallel bars and the high bar, whereas Oklahoma’s strengths lie in the floor exercise, still rings and the vault. The Wolverines maximized on their strengths while putting up great performances all around, with top scores in almost all events. For example, on floor — one of the Sooners’ strongest events — freshman Paul Juda tied for the top score with 14.550 points, the only Wolverine in the top three for this event.

Michigan dominated on pommel horse. It started with senior Mack Lasker scoring a 14.050, where his teammates stood and yelled with excitement after his routine. Lasker was then followed by junior Jacob Moore and graduate student Uche Eke, whose performances earned the Wolverines 13.700 and 13.850 points, respectively.

Despite being one of Oklahoma’s stronger events, Michigan had an impressive showing on the still rings. Bock put up a 14.550 performance, capping it off with a perfect landing. Immediately afterwards, Juda stuck his landing and earned a 14.000 for his routine.

The Wolverines struggled more on vault though, including a slip from Bock, but pulled ahead with help from junior Nick Guy and Juda, who scored 14.650 and 14.600, respectively.

On parallel bars, in addition to Bock’s score, Juda and Moore both put up 14.200. And on high bar, the Wolverines held five of the top six scores in the meet. Juda came out on top with 14.400, and was the top all-around gymnast with a total of 84.050. All the while, the crowd cheered and Michigan gymnasts hollered in support of their team.

“The home atmosphere is really awesome,” Bock said. “ … It’s nice, you know, to have these competitions to bring out the team atmosphere and just kind of pump you up before your set.”

Golder encourages his team to maintain a supportive and high-energy atmosphere.

“The way that you can keep pressure off is supporting your teammates and having a lot of fun,” he said. “ … And that’s what they did from start to finish.”

This meet is the last one before the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas next weekend, an event that is part of the selection process for the U.S. National Gymnastics Team that will be sent to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Both Bock and Juda will compete, and are expected to have a decent shot at being selected, an opportunity Bock is taking very seriously.

“Especially going into next week’s Winter Cup, I’ve got to dial everything in,” Bock said. “Cause everything counts there.”

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