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August 27, 1968 - Image 27

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-08-27

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Tuesday, August 27, 1968

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Tuesday, August 27, 1968 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Experience gives 'M'

E.

gymnasts edge

By ANDY BARBAS '
Two plus two equals one; but
another two results in zero. How-
ever, one, two, three can almost
make up for it.
As confusing as this sounds, it
is no more complex than the 1968
gymnastics season was for the
Wolverines.
By finishing in second place in
both Big Ten dual-meet competi-
tion and the conference meet, the
gymnasts earned themselves a
share of a three-way tie for the
Big Ten Championship.
They had to fight it out with the
other two, Iowa and Michigan
State, to qualify as a team for
the 'NCAA championships. A sec-
ond-place playoff result eliminat-
ed this' possibility; however the
Wolverines' individual tallies at
the nationals were remarkable,
and included a one, two, three
sweep of the trampoline.
BAD WEATHER
This remarkable season seems
even more remarkable in view of
the pre-season predictions. Most
,mentors regarded Iowa as a run-
away favorite; Michigan State as
outstanding in most respects, but
doomed with a poor trampoline
team; and Michigan as a team
lacking depth, only to be con-
sidered because of its reputation.
Even Michigan's usually optim-
istic Coach Newt Loken was cau-
tions in appraising his team. "We
lack all-around men," he ex-
plained, "With the new rule lim-
iting a team to 12 competitors, we
are definitely hurting."
"Don't underestimate us," he
quickly added. "We're inexperi-
M enced and will improve with each
meet. If everyone gives a solid
performance, we'll be awfully
tough."
If Michigan had drawn a strong
home schedule with the harder
teams at the end, they would have
been "awfully tough." Unfortun-
ately, five of eight conference
meets were away, including Iowa
and Michigan State, and both of
these encounters were early in the
schedule.
TROUBLE STARTS
Iowa, in fact, was Michigan's
first league opponent. Besides hav-
ing the normal home advantage,
the Hawkeyes had a very experi-
enced squad. After the third event,
the rings, the result was certain
with the Hawkeyes holding a four
point lead.
The meet ended 189.95-186.85,
one of Michigan's worst defeats
in the past few years.
Michigan's strengths were ap-
parent even this early in the
season. Their world-famous tram-
poline team was expected to over-
power all the opposition, and it
did. Only twice all season did the

Wolverines fail to sweep the event,
and then they dropped only the
third-place spot. By the end of
the season, the three trampolin-
ists all were NCAA champions.
Sophomore George Huntzicker
won the crown this year, junior
Dave Jacobs won it last year, and
senior Wayne Miller won it two
years ago.
In addition to dominating the
Big Ten and NCAA's, Michigan
has virtually ruled the tramp
world. This year the trio has com-

distinguished individually, their
team totals were just as strong.
The team of Huntzicker, Jensen,
and Fred Rodhey was outstand-
ing. In fact, only once were they
topped in competition. It hap-
pened in the second crucial meet
of the season, against Michigan
State.
The meet was a "must" meet
for the gymnasts. Having already
lost to Iowa, a second loss would
most likely eliminate any hopes
of a championship. Pre-meet pre-

an outstanding show in the vault-
ing competition, but the. Wolver-
ines gave an almost identical per-
formance, losing by the smallest
possible margin, and so main-
taining their lead.
The parallel bar team followed
and donated their best score of
the season, when the Spartans
slipped back another point after
their performance, the last event
was an anticlimax.
BREEZING ALONG
With the rest of the conference
in nearly a different class, the
threesome breezed over their
other opponents. With Iowa
downing Michigan State, the
teams entered the Big Ten meet
with Iowa 7-0, Michigan 6-1, and
Michigan State 5-2.
Since dual meet results and the
league meet each count half to-
wards the conference champion-
ship, the outcome of the meet was
crucial.
At the start of the meet, Mich-
igan State was urging on Michi-
gan, for both Michigan and Mich-
igan State had to beat Iowa in
order for Michigan State to have
a shot at a share of the title.
The meet began with Michigan
State shooting ahead as expected.
After the second event, though,
it became noticable how really
far ahead the Spartans were.
Iowa also was ahead of Michigan
but by a smaller margin than ex-
pected. Going into the tramp,
Michigan State led Iowa by 3.4
points and Michigan by 3.8.
On the trampoline, the next
event, the Wolverine score was
phenomenal. It drew the gym-
nasts to within .05 points of the
Spartans. The Hawkeyes fell to
almost three points behind the
other twonand realized they
couldn't, win.
Along with this realization,
came the knowledge that if Mich-
igan beat Michigan State, the
Wolverines would be the undis-
puted champions. Iowa imme-
diately changed its colors and be-
gan cheering the Spartans.
STATE PULLS AHEAD
Whether this helped is dis-
putable, but Michigan State did
overpower Michigan in vaulting,
and kept up with them on the
p-bars. Since Michigan and Mich
igan State are nearly equal on
the high bar, the three teams
realized they were all tied for the
championship.
After much argument (at one
time Michigan State threatened
to boycott the proposed playoff),
a runoff was held at a neutral site
in Chicago. It was a matter of
who was more determined to win.
Iowa was, and did.
But as soon as one season is
ended, thoughts turn to the next.
This year the gymnasts will be
formidable. The only major loss to

the team is trampolinist Miller.
While depth was the team's
biggest problem last year, the
condition this year is almost one
of oversupply. The floor exer-
cise, previously represented by
Jacobs, Huntzicker, and Jensen,
will have three sophomore all-
arounders fighting for the fourth
berth and maybe even one of
the other three.
STRONG SOPHS
These three newcomers, Ed
Howard, Rick McCurdy, and Mur-
ray Plotkin, will also fortify the
sidehorse. This event has always
been a nemisis for the gymnasts,
but the problem seems finally
solved. Besides one of the return-
ees, Jim DeBoo, there are the
three sophomore all-arounders,
the present all-arounder Jensen,
and two new specialists, Bob
Wagner and Mike Gluck, vieing
for spots.
The rings will have senior and
captain Ralph Kenney, senior
Charlie Freoming, Jensen, and
the other all-arounders compet-
ing for berths. The tramp will
have Jacobs, Huntzicker, and one
or both of two sophomores, Tim
Wriyht and Pete Rose. The vaul-
ters will be composed of Huntzic-
ker, Rodney, Jensen, and the all-
arounders.
The parallel bars has three
spots probably filled by Rapper,
Jensen, and senior Dick Richards.
A sophomore will again round out
the list. The high bar, erratic
last year, will be strengthened by
the all-arounders, as well as hav-
ing returnees Mike Sasich, Rod-
ney, and Jensen.
With this plethora of talent,
Coach Loken /admits, "At least
I can't blame any poor showings
this year on lack of depth." He
enters the season witha team al-
most untouched by graduations,
while both Michigan State and
Iowa have been hit hard.
This year, the Wolverines will
be the team with poise and ex-
perience. With their strength, the
rest of the country better start
looking. "As long as theyre still
looking next April,' adds Loken.

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bined to take every possible award,
last year Jacobs won every title
including the World Champion-
ships, and Miller had accom-
plished the same feat two years
ago.
The two events following the
trampoline were the next strong-
est events. Michigan consistently
'outscored their opponents in the
parallel bars. Paced by the even-
tual Big Ten winner and runner-
up, the p-bar team, was formid-
able.
Ron Rapper, a specialist on the
p-bars especially electrified the
crowds with his one-handed hand-
stand, while all-arounder Sid
Jensen usually scored right behind
him. In the nationals, these two
sophomores combined for a third
place tie.
While the vaulters were not as

dictions even gave the Spartans
a slight edge.
The meet began as expected,
with Michigan State edging out
the Wolverines on the floor exer-
cise, swamping them on the side-
horse, and winning the rings. They
established a 2.6 point lead going
into the trampoline event.
At this point, Michigan had an
inkling that the victory might be
easier than they had thought.
The gymnasts had remained
much closer to the Spartans than
they had expected due to better
than usual sidehorse scores. With
a strong tramp showing, the Wol-
verines could breeze home. Un-
fortunately, Miller slipped.
Still, Michigan State lost the
event by almost 3.5 points and
dropped behind Michigan.
Michigan State came back with

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