Ely Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
Just when the Michigan women's
gymnastics team thought its ship was
about to sink due to the damages sus-
tained throughout its 1996 voyage, the
Wolverines somehow managed to stay
The gymnastics team's ship was sail-
*g into dangerous waters Saturday
night, though, as two-time defending
NCAA champion Utah came to Cliff
Keen Arena to create some waves on
the Ann Arbor shores.
The impending storm that might have
blown Michigan's ship offcourse turned
out to be only mere ripples in the
Wplverine's sea, however.
Michigan entertained the large
crowd with one of its all-time best
*rformances. The No.6 Wolver-
ines upset No. 3 Utah, 196.575-
"1 am thrilled with the win; this was
very important for us to to do," Michi-
gan coach Bev Plocki said. "1 am real
proud of the performances all of the
kids had tonight."
The fact that Michigan upset the
reigning NCAA champions is even more
impressive because they topped their
Iason best score,194.750, as well as
their score of 196.425 at last year's
For Michigan, though, how much
they scored was probably more impor-
tant than who they beat.
"We look at it as not beating Utah,
but scoring 196 points," Andrea
Michigan senior Wendy Marshall,
who has been the captain of the of the
ip all year long, steered her team with
career-best 39.55 in the all-around.
Marshall, who won every single
event but the uneven bars, established
career records on the beam and floor as
With Marhsall's performance steer-
ing her team toward the right direction,
two other fellow teammates have been
swiftly propelling the ship with their
own impressive performances.
Junior Andrea McDonald and fresh-
an Beth Amelkovich finished off a
sweep of the all-around as they tied for
second with career 39.3 points.
McDonald created some new per-
The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 19, 1996 - 3B
sonal records of her own in the all-
around and floor exercise, while
Amelkovich bested some of her previ-
ous bests in the vault, floor and all-
Of all the freshman, Amelkovich
has seen the most competition this
year. Amelkovich has been been in
the all-around since the Massachu-
setts meet, when she was asked to
step up due to the myriad of injuries i
suffered by the team. Since the start
of the season, Amelkovich has en-
dured through the adjustments of her
first year and has evolved into a solid
"Amelkovich has done a 180-degree
turn-around; I have the utmost respect
for her," Plocki said. "She has defi-
nitely turned into out our go to person."
Plocki sees this trio of talented gym- .
nasts as the stablizers of a rocking ship
that could tip any day.
"Those are the anchors of our pro-
gram," Plocki said. "Unfortunately we
need three more people to put with
Plocki could have a hard time
finding additional gymnasts that
would be healthy enough to accom-
pany the rest of the crew when they
have to travel through some choppy
It seems like every time Michigan
takes a step forward, it ends up taking a
step or two back.
Even though the Wolverines were
strengthened by the presence of fresh-
men Lisa Simes and Kristin Duff, who
were back in the line-up after extended
absences due to injuries, senior co-cap-
tain Dianna Ranelli will be lost for theE
Ranelli tore her anterior cruciate Iiga- ,
ment when she landed after a tumbling
run during her floor-exercise. The in- -
jury prevented her from finishing her
routine and will probably require sur- Andrea M
gery. Ranelli and fellow senior Tina Saturday.
Miranda both conlcuded their cole- ered by a1
giate careers with an injury. seemed t
Plocki will have to also place ques- the unev
tion marks next to the names of sopho- burden t
more Heather Kabnick and freshman Minneso
Nikki Peters. Kabnick, who competed Despit(
on the vault and bars, will be having a havesde
bone scan this week to see if she has a feelsthat
stress fracture. Peters has been both- weekend
stun No.3 Utah
Fwget theaPubFhe, let
these Wolvetiies grow up'
T here have got to be times when, ever so quietly, Michigan basketball
coach Steve Fisher curses the Fab Five.
Sure, the most famous class ever recruited led the Wolverines to
back-to-back NCAA championship games in 1991 and 1992, but along the way
they set an unfair precedent for all Michigan teams to follow.
A precedent that has especially haunted this year's squad.
Lost amidst the Wolverines 6-6 Big Ten record is the fact that this is a team
made up almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores.
"So what?" you say.
"The Fab Five won, why can't these guys?" you ask.
Well, because this team isn't the Fab Five, and, in all likelihood, no one ever
will be again.
One thing should be made perfectly clear. Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson,
Jimmy King, Jalen Rose and Chris Webber were unique. They were special.
The Fabs came together early and fast because they had to; it was the only
way to survive the media onslaught that recorded their every move.
The group became more than a team. It was an entity.
Last season, when the last of the Fabbers, King and Jackson left, that entity
became a ghost. And it's a ghost this year's team has to fight, unfairly.
This year's version of Michigan basketball is not the Fab Five, and it will
not play for the national championship. The Wolverines are just too young.
That's not an excuse for Michigan's recent slide, but it is definitely a factor.
The Wolverines have more talent than any other team in the Big Ten, but a
lot less maturity.
And it's immaturity that leads to bad shots, turnovers and inconsistent play.
All things that have plagued Michigan this season.
None of this is easily accepted at a school that expects immediate results
from its basketball team, where the maturation process is supposed to be
shorter than a player's first semester.
A quick note: When the Fab Five faced Indiana for the second time in the
1991-92 season, the Wolverines were 9-7 in the Big Ten and 17-8 overall.
With only two games after it played the Hoosiers, it was an important game in
terms of Michigan's tournament hopes.
Sounds a lot like the circumstances surrounding yesterday's game against
Indiana, doesn't it?
The Fab Five-led Wolverines beat Indiana 68-60 and the rest is very well-
Who knows what yesterday's victory means? It bumped Michigan's record
to 16-9, but in a down season for the conference Michigan is probably going to
have to win at least four more games to make the tournament.
And, let's face it, without Robert Traylor, it's going to be very difficult for
the Wolverines to win those games.
If Michigan is going to succeed, it's going to have to find a leader.
The Fab Five had Rose, the player who was never rattled, and kept the
others, especially Webber, loose. In fact, few people realize how key Rose's
Much like the group, though, the individual was unique. Few freshmen
immediately step in with the ability to lead a team through the pressures of an
Most players need time to develop those leadership qualities, and Maurice
Taylor is the perfect example.
The weight of this season's team was placed on Taylor's 19-year-old
.shoulders early on. Some games Taylor has been great, others he hasn't. Like
the team, he's been growing up - at a normal pace.
Whether or not this season's Michigan team will make it to the tournament
that the Fab Five made their name in remains to be seen. What has been
determined is that the Wolverines won't win the Big Ten championship.
The Fab Five never won a conference title either, though, and this year's
freshmen and sophomores will be next year's juniors and sophomores.
In spite of all the talent, this season has proven there is still something to be
said for maturity.
A fact lost thanks to the Fab Five.
- Ryan White can be reached over e-mail at email@example.com.
McDonald perfoms the floor exercise during Michigan's upset of Utah
ligament in her right leg which
to hinder her performance in
en bars. The injury has been a
o Peters since the meet with
ta nearly a month ago.
te the string of in juries that
pleted thegsquad, Marshall
their performance this past
has put them on the right
course: "It feels good to be back on
track. At the beginning of the season we
had some injuries, some downfalls and
we were in a little slump but now it feels
good to be doing well."
Ia Michigan can prevent further dam-
age to their fragile ship, then there might
be some smooth sailing like this past
weekend for the rest of the season.
Men tumblers fall to defending Big Ten champs
MIinnesota rolls to easy win as Wolverines get off to slow start; Im posts career best
By John Friedberg
Have you ever had one of those
days? One where your effort is there,
but nothing seems to go as you had
planned. Your shot goes in and out, or
your fastball just misses the plate.
Then you know how the Michigan
men's gymnastics team felt after
Snday's defeat at the hands of Min-
"We just had a flat day today,"
Michigan coach Bob Darden said.
"We had good perspective today, and
we have had good workouts, but we
just came out flat," Darden said.
He was right. Michigan lost to Min-
nesota by the score of 223.55-209.70.
Michigan did manage to post a sea-
son best on the high bar, posting a
team score of 37.55, but it wasn't
gugh to overcome the Gophers, who
edged the Wolverines by .05 points in
Michigan's effort on the high bar
was highlighted by junior Jason
MacDonald's season high 9.6. Senior
Kris Klinger was right behind him,
tying his season high with a 9.5. Their
scores were impressive, but they still
trailed the winner of the event, An-
i-ew Weaver of. Minnesota, who
red a 9.9.
"Minnesota looked good. They
nailed their sets and we didn't. If we
can hit them, it will give the team
confidence," Michigan Senior cap-
tain Chris Onuska said. "We were
flat, and inconsistent, but we are look-
ing forward to the Michigan State
As flat as the Wolverines were,
there were some positives that came
through the meet. Sophomore Jin Bin
Im posted a career best of 9.4 on the
high bar. MacDonald started the day
with a season high score of 9.4 on his
floor exercise before posting his best
on the high bar. These scores were
good, but they were not enough to
topple the Golden Gophers.
"Our inexperience showed today as
well as our injuries," Michigan junior
Flavio Martins said. "We have some
guys who are up and coming, but we
are a young team and need to become
Both Onuska and Martins failed to
reach their scores from the Ohio State
meet. Their struggles were felt in most
events. The lone exception was
Onuska's performance on the parallel
Onuska failed to match his season
best, but his score was better than his
last performance against Ohio State.
Martins posted his season high on the
vault, but his score was almost two
points higher against the Buckeyes.
Minnesota did not show a lack of
consistency. The Gophers showed the
form that won the Big Ten Champion-
ships last year. Their 223.55 was a
4.3-point improvement over their last
meet against third-ranked Iowa.
The Gophers were led by all around
performer Frank Ticknor. The junior
won the all-around with a score of
The highlight of Ticknor's effort
were his meet highs on the floor ex-
ercise, vault and parallel bars. These
scores propelled him to a 2.4-point
The Michigan meet was a home-
coming for Minnesota gymnasts
Heath Wall and Brandon Aguirre.
Wall posted solid scores all day. His
effort was highlighted by his tie with
teammate Ticknor for the floor exer-
cise high score. Aguirre had strong
performances on the floor exercise
as well as the vault. Aguirre tied
teammates Wall and Ticknor for the
top score on the floor exercise.
Michigan will have the week off
before looking for its first win of the
season against Michigan State on Sat-
The Spartans will be the first
unranked opponent the Wolverines
will have faced this season.
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