The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 25, 1996 - 3B
.Men gymansts fall in
coach's home finale
By Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's gymnastics team
may not havethe strongest program inthe
nation, but it sure can host an exciting
On Saturday, the 25th-ranked Wolver-
ines hosted the Michigan Invitational at
Cliff Keen Arena. The meet was a sen-
sory extravaganza complete with late-
'80s dance music, colorful costumes, a
booming-voiced announcer, amazing ac-
robatic feats and chalk dust everywhere.
Except for the chalk dust, it was almost
like a circus.
"Teams recognize that this is a very
outstanding venue and competition to be
," Michigan coach Bob Darden said.
"We really put on -a (great) show."
The Wolverines were emotionally
charged, especially since it was the last
home meet for the seniors and coach Bob
Darden, who is retiring after this season.
The other teams were those who stole
the show, however. Michigan State,
Brigham Young, Temple, Illinois-Chi-
cago, Syracuse, Western Michigan and
linois all topped the Wolverines despite
'1ichigan's exciting season-high perfor-
The team winner ofthe meet was Michi-
gan State, which accumulated a score of
224.7 points. Ethan Sterk and Joe Duda
led the way for their team, with Sterk
placing third in the all-around with 56.15
points, and Duda taking fifth with 55.9.
Sterk alsomanagedto tie forsecond in the
pommel horse (9.8) while Duda took first
in parallel bars with a 9.7.
The Spartans edged out Brigham
-'Young's score of 224.45. Fabrici Olsson
won the all-around with a56.45 score and
Kenzo Koshimura and Darren Elg also
contributed by winning the rings (9.8)
and the high bar (9.85), respectively. EIg
also tiedforfirst on the high bar(9.85) and
for second in pommel horse (9.8).
Aaron Vexler's fourth in the all-around
with a56.05, andteammateKenny Sykes'
first place on the floor exercise, were the
top performances for the Owls.
Taking fourth was Illinois-Chicago
(221.75), which also boasted a first-place
finisher. Shannon Welker won the floor
exercise with a 9.8. Fellow Flame Carey
Reddick's 55.45 in the all-around was
good enough for seventh place.
Illinois obtained fifth place with a
221.65 performance. The Fighting Illini
had a gymnast take first place in an event
and another place second in the all-around.
Greg McGlaun tied Brigham Young's
Elg for first in the extremely tough high
barevent with a 9.85. Yuval Ayalon came
in second in the all-around with 56.35.
Western Michigan came in sixth place
with 221.25 points. The Broncos had a
first place performance from Jeff Craft,
who scored a near-perfect 9.975 on the
Although the Wolverine tumblers came
in last place overall, they achieved their
highestteam output ofthe season, scoring
"This is definitely my best meet,"
Michigan junior Flavio Martins said.
This statement could probably be at-
tributed to most of the Wolverines. This
total is up more than seven points from a
previous season-high in January with
210.2, andmore than 10 points better then
theirlastmeet's 206.7 score at Penn State.
"The team did incredibly," senior Chris
Martins' (55.2) and Onuska's (54.85)
10th and 1ith place finish in the all-
around, respectively, were the highest
all-around scores received all season.
Martins also led the way for the team in
rings (9.15) and parallel bars (9.4), while
Onuska's 9.4 in the pommel horse was
Captain Chris Onuska (right) and the men's gymnastics team were sure they
wanted to make coach Bob Darden (left) proud in his final home meet.
also a team-high.
Senior Kris Klinger scored team-bests
on the floor exercise (9.5) and on the high
bar (9.5), in which he tied sophomore Jin
Bin Im. Randy D'Amura took the team
lead on vault, scoring a 9.15.
The next performance for Michigan is
in Columbus where they will compete in
the Big Ten championships, followed by
a final regular season meet at Michigan
State. The Wolverines expect their mo-
mentum from this meet to carry them
throughout the remainder of the season.
"They have proven to themselves that
you don't have to move mountains to do
this well," Darden said. "We've been
consistent at209 (points), now we want to
be consistent at the 217 to 220 level.
"It's about time they started putting it
together at the level we knew they could."
Seniors lead tumblers in Darden's last Keen meet
Darden s successor will
have to deal wi~h polis
There are a lot of things Michigan men's gymnastics coach Bob Darden is
going to miss when his resignation becomes effective at the end of the
Darden says he's going to miss the time in the gym with the kids and the
different personalities on the team. He says he'll also miss the personal
association with other coaches, and as Saturday's Michigan Invitational ended,
Darden took a walk around Cliff Keen Arena shaking the hands of his peers.
What won't Darden miss?
"The time out of the gym involved with the sport," he says.
Darden doesn't mean paperwork and fund-raisers, though. He's talking
about trying to convince a gymnast to come to a school that has done all but
cut its program. He's talking about fighting to keep whatever the Athletic
Department hasn't already taken away.
"Equalizing gender, gender equity or whatever," he says.
Darden doesn't say it bitterly. It seems to be an accepted fact of life, but he
is definitely not going to miss the politics of the sport -just the coaching of it.
Saturday's eight-team invitational was the final home appearance for the
Wolverines. They posted their best score of the season, _ _
217.75, but it was only enough to put Michigan in
In his 20 years in the program, seven as an assistant
and 13 as head coach, Darden says he has seen the state.
of Michigan gymnastics come full circle.
Darden began with the team at the bottom of the.
circle, coached it to national prominence, and is leaving
with the Wolverines back where they began.
Truth be told, Darden has had a very unenviable task
the past couple of years, and it won't get any easier for
his successor. Darden
Two years ago, Michigan's men's gymnastics
program was on its deathbed, the victim of the gender-
equity problem Darden mentioned and the overall de-emphasis of the sport at
the collegiate level.
The program was saved but stripped of nearly all its scholarships. Darden's
team has been operating with just 2.3.
That is not enough with which to compete.
Everyone involved with the men's team is hoping it will get some scholar-
Assistant coach Tim O'Connell says the team is waiting to hear from the
Athletic Department about next season.
O'Connell also says he will definitely apply for Darden's job. Michigan
Associate Athletic Director Peggy Bradley-Doppes is heading the search, and
O'Connell will meet with her this week.
O'Connell has three things going for him: He is enthusiastic, the players like
him, and he actually wants to take on the challenge the job presents.
"It makes (recruiting) difficult," O'Connell says of the scholarship situation.
"But if we put a lot of energy into it, and convince the kids they'll be part of
the team, we'll get some good athletes."
That's true, but they won't be the best athletes. And with 2.3 scholarships it
won't be the best team. It won't be for quite a while, if ever, no matter who the
Darden realized that, and decided he had done all he could do.
So Saturday he made his final coaching appearance at home. He saluted his
seniors and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
In a month, the season will end, and Darden will have to find things to do
with his time, time he hasn't had in years.
First and foremost in Darden's post-coaching future is a wedding. He is
getting married May 28 at Disney World.
After that he is going to Atlanta to participate in the Olympics as what he
calls "a glorified mat mover." Actually, he is going to be helping to put up and
tear down equipment at the numerous gyms set up for the Olympians.
Next season he'll be a fan at Michigan meets, where he'll be "second-
guessing coaches like all spectators do."
But if you really want to know what Darden will be doing, you'll have to wait.
"Ask me August," he said. "That's when I'll have to get a job and I'll
realize, 'This ain't Disney World anymore."'
Coaching hasn't necessarily been an amusement park for a few years now,
and for those continuing in the program, the ride doesn't look like it will get
And it doesn't have anything to do with what's going on in the gym.
- Ryan White can be reached over e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren to be Different
In this space next Monday
y Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Writer
Although you may never get a second
chance to make a first impression, it's the
final one that's arguably the most lasting.
The Michigan Invitational on Saturday
will certainly leave a lasting impression
on the many friends and family who
The meet marked the last home meet
for the three Wolverine seniors Brad
Werris, Kris Klinger and team captain
This final performance had a twist,
though. Bob Darden also made his final
appearance as Michigan head coach. Ear-
lier this week he announced his retire-
ment effective at the conclusion of this
"I felt good, I felt the enthusiasm from
the first performer to the last performer,"
Darden said. "It was a little sentimental
for me knowing that I'll be sitting in the
stands next year watching these guys."
Not only did the three seniors propel
their team to a season-best 217.75 perfor-
mance, each one turned out a season-best
performance in at least one event.
Terris improved his previous season
best of 9.2 in the floor exercise to 9.3. He
also scored a 8.25 on the vault.
"As soon as we started out, I could feel
the emotion," Terris said. "I wasn't sure if
everyone else thought that it will be as
emotional as I thought it would be."
Klinger, the guy they call "Juice," led
the team on the floor exercise with a new
season high 9.5 and tied for the team-lead
in the high bar with a 9.55.
"Kris Klinger brings out the levity, the
lightheartedness, into the gym," Darden
Known affectionately as "O," Onuska
spearheaded the team's efforts on the
pommel horse with a9.4. His 54.85 on the
all-around and 9.1 on high bar were new
season-highs, and he tied previous sea-
son-highs in floor exercise (9.15), rings
(9.2) and vault (8.95).
"The meet was really emotional for me
and the other seniors," Onuska said.
"When you see your parents and your
mom crying, it really hits home."
SEASON BESTS: Along with the three
seniors, there where four other Wolver-
ines that had season high performances in
at least one event.
Freshman Randy D'Amura on the
floor exercise (9.45), sophomore Jin Bin
Im on the high bar (9.55), junior Jason
MacDonald on the parallel'bars (8.65),
and junior Flavio Martins on the floor
exercise (9.3), parallel bars (9.4), high bar
(9.2) and the all around (55.2).
FUTURE PLANs: Darden's resignation
announcement came last week. After act-
ing as head coach for the past 13 seasons,
Darden says it's time to let someone else
coach. Although he doesn't plan to coach
again, he does have some plans for the
"I'm going to get married May 28 ... in
June and July I'm going down to Georgia
with (assistant coach) Mike Milidonis
and working with him in the Olympics,"
While at the Olympics, Darden said he
will be "a glorified mat-mover." Darden
will be an equipment manager/coordina-
tcr this summer in Atlanta.
Women's gymnasts encouraged by road showing
By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
Good teams are successful at home.
But to be a championship team, you have
to be able to perform well and win on the
road as well.
Intheirfinal regularseason meet Satur-
day, the Michigan women's gymnastics
team served notice that it is prepared to
hallenge for a fifth straight Big Ten
championship by turning in its strongest
performance away from home this sea-
The Wolverines topped the Lady Lions
by a score of 195.925-194.000.
"I think it was very important thing for
us to be able to go away like that now,
have a stronger lineup, and be able to do
well and score well," Michigan coach
ev Plocki said. "I think it was a great
onfidence booster going into the Big
The quality road score proved that the
Wolverines are capable of winning any-
where and therefore was further proof
that they are a championship-caliber
"I don't want to make any excuses, but
the teams that beat us in the Big Ten this
year caught us at times when were down
as far as strength in lineup," Plocki said.
"And at Oregon State when Minnesota
beat us for the second time, we beat
ourselves ... Minnesota didn't beat us."
Against Penn Stateon Saturday, Michi-
gan was paced by a blend of youth and
experience, as has been the case all year.
Senior Wendy Marshall, competing in
her last regular season meet, was tops on
the beam. Freshman Beth Amelkovich
was the best on the vault and also won the
all-around. Nikki Peters, also a freshman,
placed first on the bars.
Peters feels the good road performance
was important, given the timing.
"It gives us a lot more confidence for
Big Tens and also regionals andnationals
since they're all away meets," she said
The Wolverines won without Heather
Kabnick in the lineup. The sophomore
aggravated an ankle injury last week in
practice and had to sit the weekend out.
She will be reevaluated this week to de-
cide whether ornot she can compete at the
Big Ten meet.
Whoever wins the Big Ten meet will
be crowned Big Ten champs; regular
season records do not factor in.
Although Michigan has the highest
average score among Big Ten teams this
season, they don't necessarily consider
themselves the favorite.
"There is lot more parity in the Big Ten
thisyear," Michigan assistant coach Brian
Raschilla said. "Michigan State has done
a real good job; they've always been a
threat. There are any of five teams that
could be the best on that day."
Michigan junior Andrea MacDonald
"The Big Ten as a conference im-
proved dramatically over last year; there
are some great teams out there. Every-
body out there has really improved since
, last year," she said.
Although the team has been pointing to
the postseason all year, the Wolverines
do not plan to prepare for next week any
differently. Nor are they concerned about
any added pressure.
"It's the teams that make it into a
pressure situation that sometimes crack
under the pressure that they created for
themselves," MacDonald said. "So were
going to try and look at it as just another
Although Peters is a freshman and has
never competed in the conference meet,
she doesn't anticipate any added pres-
"It will probably be about the same. I
know everybody's level of enthusiasm is
going through the roof.... We want to go
into it as free and as relaxed as we can."
To celebrate the advent of the
new Lurie Carillon
on the North Campus, there will be a
The University of Michigafl"Program for the Study of Complex Systems
Interdisciplinary Symposium on Complex Systems
March 28, 1996
9:00 - 9:15
10:30 - 10:45
10:45 - 12:00
1:15 - 2:30
The Michigan League - Hussey Room
Homer Neal, Vice-President for Research
The University of Michigan
Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity
John H. Holland, The University of Michigan
Chaotic Evolution of the Solar System
Jack Wisdom, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Dynamical View of Computation in Natural & Artificial Systems