Momentum greatly affects a team every season, and teams must be able to survive the highs and lows that happen during the season to be successful.
The Michigan men”s gymnastics team has had it”s share highs and lows, but it has begun to hit an upswing at a key point in this season.
No. 5 Michigan (6-4) easily beat No. 13 Illinois-Chicago 213.85-200.8, at Cliff Keen Arena this weekend, making a good week of practice pay off.
“We”re definitely turning a corner,” said Michigan coach Kurt Golder. “There”s just a tremendous amount of positives between this week”s practices and this week”s competition.
“We”re turning the corner and this confirms it.”
The Wolverines tallied their highest score of the season after struggling with injuries and weaker performances. Seniors Brad Kenna and Justin Toman led the charge for the upstart Wolverines, who seem to be back on track.
“It was a good turnaround from what we”ve been doing,” Kenna said. “From what we did today, we”re kind of starting the season now.”
Michigan had the top score in each of the events and had the top three scores in five of six events.
Kenna was first on the floor exercise by scoring a 9.4 to break a school record that he already owned. He also tied for first on the parallel bars with Kris Zimmerman with a 9.15.
The Wolverines had been struggling in their overall performance, but now they”re hitting routines and getting high scores. They will work on improving scores from lower spots in the lineup to raise their overall score.
“We had a lot of good performances, we have a lot (of routines) that are close to stepping up,” Golder said. “Mainly in our third and fourth score, we have a lot of potential in those spots. If we could get those right, we can score higher.”
Michigan is still fighting injuries and hopes to take a step forward in that department this week.
To improve those third and fourth scores, they will need to get some of their better gymnasts back to full strength.
“We”re getting there,” Kenna said. “We just need to add a few more people in the lineups and keep working hard in practice, and we”ll be all set.”
The Wolverines must keep their momentum and build on it this week as they will travel to Iowa City to face No. 2 Iowa.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1999.
“If we can strengthen our lineup and have another good week of practice like last week,” Golder said. “I feel very optimistic that we”ll be able to get by (the Hawkeyes).”