“This is all us!” said men’s gymnastics junior
Eddie Umphrey as he high-fived his teammates after an impressive
parallel bar routine.
At that moment the Wolverines could taste their fate. They would
go on to defeat top-ranked Penn State with a score of
215.725-212.000 in an exciting meet at Cliff Keen Arena.
The win for Michigan is a significant one. The last time it beat
a top-ranked team was back in 1999, when the Wolverines jumped from
No. 10 to No. 1. For Penn State, the loss marks its first regular
season defeat in two years.
“None of us on this team were around in ‘99,”
junior Geoff Corrigan said. “We don’t know what it
feels like to win a national championship. Coming in here and
beating Penn State puts fire in our hearts and will definitely
spark us in the gym.”
The day started off well, as five Wolverines scored better than
all six of the Nittany Lions on the floor exercise.
Justin Laury took first place with a score of 9.300, while Luke
Bottke, Andre Hernandez, Geoff Corrigan and Derek Croad rounded out
the top five in that order. Even on the pommel horse, a team
weakness, the Wolverines managed to tally a better combined score
than the Nittany Lions, giving them momentum to maintain the
“They didn’t allow themselves to get down, even if
we had adverse situations,” said Michigan coach Kurt
And after a close 0.075 loss to No. 7 Stanford last week, it
would have been easy for the Wolverines to feel down. But they
managed to channel that frustration into a burst of positive
“That’s the difference between tonight and last
week,” Golder said. “Last week, when we had problems,
we could see the team spirit go down. Tonight, they put a little
extra effort and even lifted up when something bad happened. It
made all the difference in the world.”
Corrigan put on a solid performance for the Wolverines, earning
first place in the all-around competition with a combined score of
54.150. Corrigan beat out Penn State’s 2003 NCAA rings
champion Kevin Tan, who took second in the all-around with a score
Tan put up an impressive score of 9.9 on the rings, but the rest
of the Nittany Lions struggled. Penn State has plagued with missed
routines all day.
“We were pathetic,” said Penn State coach Randy
Jepson. “This is the worst meet we’ve ever had since
I’ve been at Penn State. We hit 13 routines and last week we
hit 30 routines, so it was a huge difference in our
Although the Lions weren’t ready to compete, the
Wolverines came ready to play thanks to the help of an
inspirational e-mail from Corrigan.
“I just said, ‘Remember guys that we can (win), and
that was it,’ ” said Corrigan.
As the meet came down to the final minutes, the Wolverines were
still up by two points. With the crowd waiting with patience, Andre
Hernandez gave a great performance and stuck his routine.
The crowd cheered. A couple minutes later, as Laury was the
final man to compete, he too stuck his routine, and the fans were
at their feet. The Wolverines had defeated the formerly undefeated
“They came in here thinking that they were number-one in
the country and they came out thinking, ‘Maybe not,’
” Corrigan said.