IOWA CITY – Since he became Michigan’s coach in 1997, Kurt Golder has been trying to beat Iowa on the road. Yet no matter how talented a team he brought to Iowa City, the Wolverines never won.

But this weekend, the No. 4 Michigan men’s gymnastics team finally succeeded, beating No. 10 Iowa 341.95-338.60.

“I’ve had great teams come out here before and not come away with a victory,” Golder said. “I feel real good about it. The guys hung in there real tough.”

The outcome of the meet remained in doubt until the very end, as Michigan’s trouble closing out meets continued.

An attractive hand-operated scoreboard added several minutes to the Wolverines’ 11-year wait for the win.

It was impossible to tell how either team was doing at a given moment when event totals took half a rotation to post.

The Hawkeyes threw all their firepower at the Wolverines, who competed without five of their regulars, and it almost worked.

“It was a pretty rough meet,” senior co-captain Arren Yoshimura said. “I don’t think we did what we were capable of doing.”

But the gymnasts turned in gritty performances in the clutch.

As cheers of “Let’s go Hawks” vied with equally loud “Let’s go Blue” cheers from the Michigan gymnasts and traveling fans, 7 of 12 Wolverines hit their high-bar and parallel-bars sets to clinch the win.

Rings, where Michigan used just four gymnasts, proved key to the win. The rings squad rose to the challenge, posting a 57.25 event total as all their scores counted. Junior Phil Goldberg won the event with a 14.9.

Michigan left the door open for Iowa on the final two rotations with a spate of falls and mistakes.

But due to great performances on the vault and rings, the team had a three-point cushion to work with, and Iowa was unable to catch up. Freshman Thomas Kelley snagged the high bar title, and Yoshimura tied Iowa’s Jon Buese for tops on the parallel bars.

The Wolverines got a fine start on their first event, pommel horse, with a 4-for-6 performance topped by senior co-captain Paul Woodward’s meet-best 14.45 set. And on floor, Michigan grabbed a lead it would never surrender.

Freshman Ian Makowske, making his collegiate debut, bounced back from a rough pommel horse set with a strong floor routine. Later, he hit his set on high bar when Michigan needed it most.

“I was really happy with myself, because in (Junior Olympics), that was really an issue for me,” Makowske said.

“If I started off the meet with a fall, the rest of the meet would be terrible.”

Junior Scott Bregman also stood out on floor, recording his first hit on the event since injuring his foot last season.

Then, amid an avalanche of solid vaults from his teammates – junior Kent Caldwell won the event – Bregman finalized his comeback with a nearly stuck double full.

“I don’t think there’s really a way to describe it,” Bregman said. “It was just a moment I’ve been working (toward) for 10 months, really, and it just feels like the old Scott is back.”

While the win against Iowa wasn’t the prettiest, it’s enough to send the Wolverines into their two-week break feeling positive.

“I think not having our best lineup in definitely affected us,” Kelley said. “But it was cool that we could still beat Iowa even with some of our top guys missing.

“A lot of guys who hadn’t competed all season got a chance to compete.”

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