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February 07, 1979 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-07

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 7, 1979--Page 9
Women tumblers roll with Ponto

At age 24, Scott Ponto may qualify
as tho youngest head coach in the Big
Ten. Yet, his selection is certainly to
someone's credit if the accomplishment
of this year's women's gymnastics
team is any indicator.
Recently, the Wolverines traveled to
Chicago for the Windy City Invitational.
They returned having beaten all but one
of their competitors, many of whom
will vie for the Big Ten championship
later this week.
Ginger Robey have watched their team
improve by leaps and bounds. A talen-
ted gymnast himself, Ponto's hard
work and gymnastic savvy have aided
the Blue tumblers in their rise to
The young coach is hardly a
newcomer to the sport. The gymnastics
seed was first planted ten years ago. A
friend's homemade still rings caught
Ponto's interest. After watching a few
high school meets, his interest grew. In
three years, Ponto was rated among the
top prep ringmen in Illinois.
Although Ponto worked all-around in
high school, men's coach Newt Loken
recruited him to strengthen the ring
team. A four-year letter winner, Ponto
also made his mark on the national
scene. His consistent scores above the
9.0 mark brought two Big Ten runner-
up titles to Ann Arbor, and earned Pon-
to a berth to the NCAA championships
three times.
COMPETITION ON the rings is over
now, but Pontoremains an active gym-
nastic participant. "I still attend all the
meets I can because I enjoy the sport so
much. But it takes a full-time effort to
maintain a sharp competitive edge."
Ponto's transition from competing to
coaching was smooth. He spentthe. 77-
78 season coaching the men alongside
his former mentor, Newt Loken. Trips
to gym camps in Illinois and Michigan

over the summer broadened his ex-
perience. Many of the spotting
techniques the rookie head coach has
employed so effectively have come
from these clinics.
RETURNING TO Ann Arbor, Ponto
was prepared to step in as assistant
coach for the women's program. An un-
fortunate pre-season illness side-lined
head coach Winnie- Witten and thrust
the coaching responsibilities onto Ponto
and former women's team captain
With women's gymnastics gaining"
varsity status in 1975, college level
competition is a recent entry on the
Michigan sports scene. "Many girls are.
first introduced to gymnastics as a
recreational sport," explained Ponto.
"The opportunity to advance through

many levels of competition didn't exist
until fairly recently."
The women practice at the Sports
Coliseum. The coaches spend as much
as six hours there each day, allowing
the gymnasts to fit practice time into
their class schedules.
"I'M REALLY PROUD of the work
the team is doing," said Ponto. "Last
year, they could only use the Coliseum
three hours a day. Now, some (of the,
women) practice four hours a day."
Ponto hopes the team will eventually
find a new practice site. The noise and
poor lighting detract from the staff's ef-
fort to attract stalent, especially from
outside the state.
Women's gymnastics draws on dance
for much of its inspiration. This is
where Robey has been invaluable. Pon-

to sticks to reaching tricks and spot-
ting, although "now and then they'll ask
my opinion."
THE GOOD-HUMORED patience of
this young coach has been a valuable
asset. "Ginger and I discuss each gym-
nast's progress. We don't want tm
trying new and risky tricks be re
they're ready," explained Ponfo.
"Serious injuries can occur if an athlete
is pushed too quickly."
This highly competitive coach
displays a well developed sense .of
judgment for a newcomer. Althpugh
Michigan's success this season can
hardly be attributed solely to Ponto, he
has contributed in so many ways that
the hard-working gymnasts just might
surprise us before this season closes.

Doily Photo by LISA UDELSON
MICHIGAN WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS Coach Scott Ponto assists freshman Lisa
Uttal as she completes a tumbling run in practice before a meet. Ponto, a former
men's team competitor, took over the women's head post this season, and has
guided his team to a 20-2 record thus far.
Rodgers corplin
runners exploited

Hous ing Reapplication Drawing
For Students Presently Living In The Residence
Halls Who Wish To Return To The Residence
Halls For The Academic Year 1979-80


WED., Feb. 21

- 7:30 p.m.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) - Runners
are being exploited by promoters of the
Boston Marathon, complains Bill
Rodgers, adding that he may not defend
his title in the April race.
"I feel the runners are being ripped
off," Rodgers was quoted by The
Arizona Republic in yesterday's
editions. "I'm critical of a race like
Boston because major corporations are
getting large amounts-of commercial
advertising and publicity, but they still
ask the runners to pay a high entry
More sports on pages 10 and 11
Rodgers has been training in the
Phoenix area the past month. He's
looking to the 1980 Moscow Olympics,
and says he does not want to run in too
many races before then.
"There's some pressure to run at
Boston because I won last year," he
said. "That's really not a big thing to
me. What I would worry about is the
high-quality competition'I would miss.
Rodgers said he is not opposed to cor-
porate involvement in athletics, and
would like to see amateur athletes sub-

sidized so they could spend more time
"When 1980 rolls around, I can
guarantee you the people who will be
there are the ones who've had the best
opportunity to train and race. It's a full-
time job for anybody."

Northwest Orient Airlines.
Now Hiring Cabin Attendants
Minimum height 5'4"
Minimum-age 20
Must be willing to relocate
Thursday, Feb. 8--9:00-4:30
at the
Career Planning & PlacementOffice
3200 Student Activities Building

Housing Reapplication,
For Students Who Win I n
Their Drawing:
Monday through Friday
March 12-March 16

' e

Questions Should Be Directed To
Hall Or To The Housing Information
dent Activities Building, 763-3164.

Your Respective
Office, 1011 Stu-





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