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February 04, 1993 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-04

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - February 4, 1993

Carfora rises above expectations
Recovered 'M' gymnast continues to provide spark for Wolverines

by Mike Rancilio
Daily Sports Writer
In October of 1990, Michigan
women's gymnast Kelly Carfora was
diagnosed with a stress fracture in her
wrist that required surgery, immedi-
ately ending her freshman season.
In February of 1991, Carfora was
told by her surgeon that her wrist again
needed surgery and that her gymnastics
career was finished.
In March of 1992, she finished sec-
ond all-around (38.40) at the Big Ten
Championship, helping catapult the
Wolverines to a Big Ten title.
What happened?
Carfora refused to admit her gym-
nastics career was over. When the doc-
tors released her and told her she was on
her own, she rehabilitated her wrist in
the off-season and showed up in 1992
healthy and cleared to compete.
Carfora's determination and work
ethic separates her from the average
gymnast. These characteristics enable
her to overcome adversity and excel in

both gymnastics and academics.
She graduated high school in three-
and-a-half years'and is set to graduate
college early as well. She plans to re-
ceive a master's degree and pursue a
career in physical therapy.
"She's intense and very organized,"
her father, Joe, said. "She was a really
determined kid. She's always had goals
and she knows what she wants."
Michigan coach Bev Plocki said
Carfom'sorganizational skills make her
an outstanding gymnast.
"Kelly's very business-like," Plocki
said. "She's introverted anda littlequiet.
She kind of remains in Beth (Wymer)'s
shadow."
Wymer is the sophomore All-Ameri-
can who placed 5th all-around at the
NCAA Championships as the top indi-
vidual qualifier. When Wymer's acco-
lades are discussed, Carfora's accom-
plishments seem to get overlooked.
Carfora, too, traveled to the NCAAs
as an at-large all-around qualifier. She
finished 19th overall and beat every

memberof the Stanford team with whom
she was competing. Ironically, the Car-
dinal was the only squad that prevented
the Wolverines from receiving an at-
large team bid to the Nationals.
"(The National tournament) was
funny because I was competing with
Stanford," Carfora said. "All my scores
were higher than theirs - so Michigan
kind of showed them up."
Even though Carfora's outstanding
accomplishment was overshadowed by
Wymer's performance, the two team-
mates have a strong competitive rela-
tionship with each other.
"(Wymer's success) doesn't get in
the way at all," Carfora said. "Beth is
always finished with (practice) early,
and it seems like I'm there forever. But
it doesn't bother me. I want her to get on
my butt so we stay competitive."
Carfora remains proud of her repre-
sentation of Michigan at the tourna-
ment. She stresses team accomplish-
ments over individual success.
Carfora even seems to be relaxing

her business-like attitude as she gets
older. She now takes an active role in
teaching the freshmen the importance
of team unity, trying to instill in them
the same message she received when
deciding to attend Michigan.
"The reason why I came here was
because everyone was so close," she
said. "In club, everything is individual,
but here you have to realize that the
team comes first."
When Michigan was about to corn-
pete in the NCAACentral RegionCham-
pionship, Carfora noticed her coach
seemed a bit nervous. So, the quiet
gymnast went up to Plocki and, revers-
ing the before-meet ritual, patted heron
the back and said, "Are you ready, Bev?"
That broke the tension.
The fact that Carfora seems to be
asserting herself as a leader on the team
only adds another dimension to her
repertoire. And if she asserts herself
anymore in competition, things could
get scary for the rest of the
gymnastic world.

MOLLY STEVENS/D
Michigan gymnast Kelly Carfora performs on the beam in a meet last year.

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