Page 4-The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - February 3, 1992
Li Li Leung
May May Leung
Sr Franklin Hills, N.J.
Fr Los Angeles, Calif.
Fr Farmington Hills
So Ann Arbor
Jr Portage, Mich.
Jr Traverse City
Jr Troy, Mich.
Fr Parsippany, N.J.
Fr Parsippany, N.J.
Sr Burnsville, Minn.
So Bridgeport, Ohio
So Columbus, Ohio
So Toronto, Ontario
Jr Dallas, Texas
Fr Toledo, Ohio
Gymnasts aim for championship without Wilkinson
by Andy Stabile
Daily Sports Writer
This was supposed to be a season
to fulfill expectations.
The Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team finished third in the Big
Ten last season. Throughout last
year, the Wolverines toppled school
record after record, and their per-
formance brought them to the ranks
of the conference elite. The team
lost no one to graduation and
brought in one of the best recruiting
classes in the Big Ten. Expectations
ran high for the 1992 campaign. A
Big Ten Championship was within
reach for coach Bev Fry's squad.
Then, it became a season of tur-
moil. Forced to leave the friendly
training confines of Keen Arena, the
team was moved to the old, run-
down Sports Coliseum. Then, the
team's assistant coach Jack Evanoff
left to pursue other interests, and
the search was on for a new coach.
Eventually, the Coliseum was reno-
vated and a new assistant coach,
David Kuzara, was hired.
As September approached, the
team could again begin to focus on
this season's goals, but the outlook
would once again change. It became a
season of injuries. Before the first
meet of the season, no fewer than
six of the team's fifteen gymnasts
would be sidelined by injuries.
"We've had our turmoil this
first semester," Michigan coach Bev
Fry said "In September, we had like
twelve people in every event that
we could go to. We've had some re-
ally flukey type things - some un-
expected injuries to key people.
"Some of the people we've
brought in as freshmen that we were
hoping would be able to make a real
immediate impact on the program.
Then we're going into the first meet
with only one of them in our
Among the ranks of the injured
are first-year gymnasts Li Li and
May May Leung, redshirt frosh
Kelly Carfora, sophomores Stacy
Shingle and Tami Crocker and junior
Julie Hofineister. Carfora and Li Li
Leung are due back soon. Others are
not far behind. But two weeks ago,
the team suffered another setback
with the loss of co-Big Ten chan-
pion Wendy Wilkinson. Wilkinson
suffered damaged ligaments in her
knee and will require surgery. The
injury will keep her sidelined for
"Wendy was a very important
part of our team, both last year and
now," Fry said. "And even though
Wendy's on the bench, she's still in
the gym. She comes in to the gym
everyday, and she is pushing every-
body else, and she's there as a moti-
vator. That is part of the reason why
we are still going to be successful
because (those injured) are just not
dropping out of sight, they are push-
ing the next one to take their place."
And so, Michigan has found a
battle cry for the season. So far the
team has not only survived the in-
juries, but has rallied around them.
After Wilkinson went down, the
team let Fry know they were not
giving up on the season.
"They wrote me a letter," Fry
said. "It says that 'Sure we're going
to miss Wendy a lot, but we are go-
ing to work twice as hard to make
up the difference and were going to
do it partially for her and for us and
"Everything out of their mouths
has been positive. There have been
days when I've been thinking 'How
are we going to get through this?'
and I go in there... and they pick me
Fry points to the leadership on
the team as one reason the Wolver-
ines have not quit working toward
"We do have some good leader-
ship with (co-captains) Diane
(Armento) and Laura (Lundbeck),"
,Fry said. "I also think it's the junior
class too. The group of kids that was
here the year that I came - now
they are juniors. All of them along
with Diane and Laura; they've seen
what this program was three years
ago, and they have been right in on
everything; on all the changes that
"They've been directly responsi-
ble. It's like they're really deter-
mined now, because its like it is all
their hard work too. And they are
motivated, and they are going to
keep working because they are not
going to let everything that they've
done up to this point go by the way-
side just because it would be easy to
let yourself get down about having
And it is probably no coincidence
that the juniors and seniors on the
team are those who have not been hit
by the injury bug. Only one of the
gymnasts in this group
(Hofmneister) has been sidelined.
The rest are focusing on keeping a
tight-knit team atmosphere.
"We're having a big gut check,
and they are really pleasantly sur-
prising me," Fry said. "I've never
seen a group of kids that have pulled
together like this. They're scratch-
ing, they're fighting, and they're
clawing their way and they are not
going to give up."
The biggest surprise for Fry may
be the early-season performances of
rookie Beth Wymer. In the first
meet of the season, Wymer scored a
38.6 and broke Michigan's all-
around school ecord. A week later,
she again wor hi d against
The team results a so show suc
cess. This year's high score of 187.2
against Ohio State, matched the
teams highest dual meet total of
last year's record-breaking season.
Surely, there is more to come.
"Our goal for later is to get a
few more of the pieces back into the
lineup," Fry said. "Then we'll start
worrying about breaking some
records and doing some real big
While the early part of this sea-
son will ultimately be a growing
experience, Fry knows the team
will be better for going through it.
"These kids have been mentally
and physically tougher than I have
ever seen them in the last two years
that I have been here." Fry said.
"They're convinced that whatever
doesn't kill them is going to make
Michigan's Brian Winkler works the rings Saturday against Iowa State.
Wolverine gymnast Diane Armuto competes on the uneven bars in a meet earlier this season.
Winkler tops frosh
for men gymnasts
by Todd Schoenhaus
Daily Sports Writer
When reflecting upon the up-
coming men's gymnastics season,
Michigan coach Bob Darden could
not help but crack a smile.
The Wolverines graduated only
Matt Harrison from their success-
ful 1991 team. Twelve returning
gymnasts were eager to surpass
last year's winning season in which
they set a school record for points
in a match with 278.40 against
Stanford. With the addition of 10
promising rookies to an experi-
enced squad, the expectations could
not be any higher.
Well, two factors have changed
Darden's smile into a frown -
team injuries and intense competi-
Fifth-year senior rJim Round,
the pillar of the squad, broke a bone
in his hand and has missed the last
four meets. Sophomore Royce Toni,
the team's best all-around gymnast
last year, has been sidelined with a
sore back. Sophomore Ben Verall
has been bothered by a sore shoul-
der, and senior Ruben Ceballos has
been plagued with an injured knee.
To make matters worse, rookie
Rich Dopp is recovering from a
scary fall in the season opener
Unfortunately for the Wolver-
ines, their competition has not al-
', A fh t , f -r - t ,t.rw .
with scores of 279.20 and 278.95,
respectively. These scores reflect
the immense strength of the Big
Ten, which completely represented
the eastern United States at the
1991 NCAA Championships.
"The Windy City Invitational
was a Big Ten preview that showed
we certainly have our work cut out
for us," Darden said.
Last weekend, Michigan scored
264.9, placing them last in a tri-
meet with Illinois and Michigan
Friday the Wolverines nearly
achieved their goal of 270, finish-
ing at 269.90 in a victory against
Although one would not con-
sider the season thus far to be a suc-
cessful one, they still have six
more tournaments. Coach Darden
has two definite goals in mind
when looking at the future.
"Our first objective is to put
the absolute best team possible out
on the Big Ten Championship
Floor," he said.
At the championships, March
27 at Illinois, Michigan will be de-
termined to reverse last year's out-
come, where it finished last out of
seven Big Ten teams.
"Our second goal is to generate
three team scores high enough to
qualify for the NCAA Regional a
third consecutive year," Darden
FR Reston, Va.
FR Delray Beach, Fla.
FR Hoboken, N.J.
SO Hialeah, Fla.
SR Lincoln, Neb.
FR Columbia Md.
JR Southboro, Mass.
SR Bloomington, Minn.
FR St. Claire Shores
FR Brecksville, Ohio
FR Lutherville, Md.
SO Liverpool, N.Y.
JR Durham, N.H.
SR Evanston, ll.
SO Highland Park, Ill.
SO .'ernon, Conn.
SO rnsville, Minn.
FR Sarasota, Fla.
Frank Velasquez, Jr.
by Mike Hill
Daily Sports Writer
In a year where there has been no
shortage of recruiting at Michigan,
the men's gymnastics team was cer-
tainly not left out in the cold.
Michigan coach Bob Darden
snagged ten recruits - John
Besancon, Geoff Bidwell, Chris
Boniforti, Chris Burkhardt, Rich
Dopp, Cory Huttenga, Paul Mariani,
Doug McCreery, Raul Molina, and
Brian Winkler. Eight of the 10 have
already competed nationally.
Because of various injuries to
veterans, Darden has been forced to
look to these newcomers a little
earlier than he had liked. Molina,
Mariani, Dopp, Besancon, Boniforti,
and Winkler have all seen action.
"These guys have really done
well for us," Darden said. " But I
don't think they expected to com-
pete so soon."
Darden expects a number of his
rookies to make a strong impact on
this year's squad. And he's quick to
compliment everyone of them.
"Raul (Molina) and John
(Besancon) have done a solid job for
us so far," he said.
"Dopp had a scary start," he said,
referring to his recent fall from the
vault. "But he'll be back and should
make a really positive impact on
After weeks of resting sore an-
Darden said, referring to basketball
coach Steve Fisher's catch.
Winkler, who's been in the sport
for ten years, was the No. 1-ranked
class one performer coming out of
high school. Last year, he won the
all-around competition at the Junior
Olympic National Championships
hosted by the University of
"Winning that is probably the
highlight of my career," Winkler
said. "It's about as far as you can go
on the high school level."
All the first-year performers
would probably agree that compet-
'The program's really
doing a good job of
selling itself at this
point. We can recruit
both athletically and
- Bob Darden *
men's gymnastics coach
ing at the college level is quite a
change from their high school days.
"You not only compete as an in-
dividual," Winkler said. "But, for a
change, you get to compete for a
team. You get to cheer for your
team and for all your friends."
Darden is certainly not sitting on
his hands, content with this year's
class. He's already gone out and
he averaged 9.65 last year. In sev-
eral weeks, Michigan's doubts on
the parallel bars will be elimi-
nated. Royce Toni, No. 10 in the na-
tion on the event last year, should
be added to the lineup by then.
The floor exercise will con-
tinue to be a team strong point. The
sophomore tandem of Ben Verall
and Jorge Camacho make Michigan
one of the nation's best on the rou-
participating in the High School
Rich Dopp, John Besancon, Paul
Mariani, Raul Molina and Chris
Boniforti have already contributed
to the team in tournaments.
Leading the group, though, is
Brian Winkler, winner of the Ju-
nior Olympic National Champi-
onship and one of the nation's top
rookie gymnasts. Winkler will