May 5, 1999

Paul Wong
Justin Toman was a key element at the NCAA Championships.<br><br>AP PHOTO

LINCOLN, Neb. For the first time since 1970, Michigan is at the top of the gymnastics world. On April 23, the Wolverines used their best performance of the year to secure the coveted title of “national champion.”

Joining Michigan at this year”s NCAA Championships were Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Brigham Young and Stanford. The three Big Ten teams, who had traded the No. 1 ranking throughout the year, were all favored to advance past the qualifying round on April 22. The Wolverines placed first in the qualifying round with a score of 230.5, scoring more than 230 points for the fifth straight competition. Ohio State placed second, and Nebraska used the home crowd advantage to claim third, edging out Penn State in the final rotation of the evening.

“It was a very strong event for us, and I was very confident that we could get off to a real good start on it,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “It was really important to start strong.”

The championship was almost over as soon as it started. The Wolverines did start strong on the pommel horse and jumped out to a quick lead. The next two events would give the team a nearly unrelinquishable lead.

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