U.S. National Team anyone? Five members of the No. 4 Michigan men’s gymnastics team were sent to Las Vegas Friday and Saturday to compete at the U.S. Gymnastics-sponsored Winter Cup Challenge.
Their goal was to compete against 80 of the nation’s top gymnasts for one of the three remaining spots on the national team. Also competing was current Michigan assistant coach Justin Toman, a former two-time NCAA individual champion on the parallel bars.
He was accompanied by seniors Jamie Hertza and Conan Parzuchowski, sophomore Geoff Corrigan and freshmen Justin Laury and Gerry Signorelli. Sophomore Eddie Umphrey was not able to compete due to an injury he suffered last week.
The event was split into two days. Friday featured the all-around finals and individual event preliminaries. Day two highlighted the individual event finals, although only Parzuchowski and Toman were able to advance.
Parzuchowski, a two-time NCAA All-American on the still rings, ended up in seventh place with a score of 8.825 in his dominant event. Toman fell during his parallel bars routine and finished in eighth place (7.450), despite excelling during the prelims with a 9.250.
Brannen, Willis join elite group of men
It was a great weekend for sophomore Nate Brannen and freshman Nick Willis. The two became the fifth and sixth athletes in Michigan men’s track and field history to post sub four-minute performances in the mile Saturday on the final day of the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame.
Willis started off in the lead in the first 500 meters of the race, but was overtaken by Eastern Michigan’s Boaz Cheboiywo with 300 meters left in the race.
Brannen took the lead at the very end of the race, but Notre Dame senior Luke Watson was able to finish just a hair ahead of him to take first place.
Brannen finished in second with a time of 3:57.96, while Willis took fourth place with a time of 3:58.15. The top five finishers in the race had run the world’s top times for the mile this year.
By finishing under four minutes, the two runners joined some elite company. Former Wolverines Kevin Sullivan, Brian Diemer, Scott MacDonald and Jay Cantin were the only athletes in Michigan history who had recorded a mile under four minutes.
Sullivan holds the school record of 3:55.33, which he set in 1995.
– from Staff Reports.