The Michigan men”s gymnastics team started its 2001-2002 season with a third-place finish in this weekend”s 32nd-annual Windy City Invitational, which No. 7 Iowa won with a team total of 207.650.

Michigan coach Kurt Golder, who is in his sixth season with the Wolverines, believes that he has enough experience under his belt to no longer have to worry about the team”s record this early in the season.

Accordingly, Golder employed a conservative approach in Chicago choosing to use veteran gymnasts Justin Toman and Daniel Diaz-Luong sparingly as they nurse lingering shoulder and knee injuries.

He is aware that the team”s ranking will suffer. But Golder feels that, at this point in the season, it is more important to rest those that are injured and to allow the younger gymnasts to showcase their skills at meets.

“It was an opportunity for the freshmen to compete at the collegiate level,” junior Brad Kenna said.

In his first collegiate competition, highly touted freshman Edward Umphrey showed great promise for the Wolverines, as he captured the individual honors on the floor exercise.

“I wasn”t expecting to win the floor,” Umphrey said. “I just wanted to go out there, hit my routines, and have fun.

“It was great to have six teams out there yelling, going crazy and giving it their all. I”ve been in a lot of competitions, but I have never experienced anything like it before. It was really amazing to have a team behind you.”

Along with Umphrey, a trio of juniors Kris Zimmerman, Kenna and Conan Parzuchowski contributed significantly to the Wolverines” team total of 206.850.

The Wolverines posted the tournament”s highest team score on floor exercise, as Umphrey, Kenna and Zimmerman each placed in the top three with scores of 9.150, 9.050 and 9.000, respectively. In an impressive performance, Parzuchowski garnered a first-place finish in the rings.

Zimmerman, the only Michigan gymnast competing in all six events, captured the all-around title with a total of 51.400.

“It was a good chance to see where we”re at in comparison to the other teams,” Kenna said.

Michigan struggled on the pommel horse and vault, failing to place in either event. This was reminiscent of last year”s debacle on pommel horse at the national championships, where Michigan amassed a score of just 34.650 the lowest score of the six teams participating.

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