Most gymnasts would claim that the highlight of their season is getting a perfect 10, sticking their most difficult landing or placing first in an event. But for fifth-year senior and captain Scott Vetere, his highlight has simply been competing. Due to a shoulder injury, Vetere took a medical redshirt last season, leaving the Michigan men’s gymnastics team to compete without one of its stars. But this season Vetere is back, and proud of it.
“It feels great to be back competing,” Vetere said. “I hate sitting around and watching everyone compete and not being able to do anything to help the team out.”
Fortunately, Vetere’s entry into the lineup this season has helped the team in more ways than one. So far, he has taken home two first-place finishes on the pommel horse and one for the floor exercise. The coaches and players agree that Vetere is also an essential asset to the team due to his confident nature and positive attitude.
“Scott has a positive influence because he’s a pretty steady competitor, which adds momentum and gives the other guys confidence,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “He’s a pretty confident guy, and I think the other guys sense that, and it also brings their level of confidence up a notch.”
Sophomore teammate Eddie Umphrey also believes that Vetere’s consistency is key to the team’s performance.
“He brings a lot to the team and it’s nice competing with him,” Umphrey said. “He’s a great competitor and he brings the consistency that’s important for success, so it’s great to have him in the gym.”
This Saturday, the Wolverines will travel to Columbus to take on rival Ohio State. This will give Vetere the chance to showcase his talents, as he will be competing in the all-around competition for the first time since the U.S. Championships in 2002. Vetere plans to add difficulty to all of his routines and he will be competing in vault and high bar for the first time in a year and a half.
“For vault, I plan on doing a handspring double front,” Vetere said. “It’s pretty hard to land, so I just want to stand it up and get a good score.”
Vetere’s coaches are convinced that his competitive experience will help.
“I expect him to be real steady,” Golder said. “I know it’s his first time (in two of the events) so that’s a little bit unpredictable, but I think he’s going to compete well.”
When speaking of experience, Vetere is no stranger. In his past three years of competition, Vetere has been named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, won several NCAA All-American titles and missed the U.S. Olympic Trials by one spot. In his last year with the Wolverines, Vetere hopes to leave his nagging injury aside and steal the show like in years past. However, it’s not always that easy.
“Sometimes when you’ve been off for a while, you get in a meet, you raise your hand and the whole scenario is different no matter how many times you’ve done it before,” Golder said.