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April 07, 1997 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-07

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GYMNASTICS

The Michigan Daily -- SPORTSMonday -- April 7, 1997 -- 58

I

DeGraw, Haro advance to
NCAA championships meet

By Sara Rontal
Daily Sports Writer
It's hard to be an individual.
To compete as an individual is even
harder.
But gymnasts Tim Degraw and Jose
"La Lo" Haro had what it took to be and
compete as individuals in Saturday's
NCAA East Regional.
The pair were the only two represen-
tatives from Michigan at the regional,
which matched some of the nation's
best talent.
Defending NCAA champion Ohio
State won the meet with a score of
231.60, a full point better than second-
place Iowa.
The Buckeyes swept the meet, plac-
ing first in five apparatuses.
They also won the all-around, with
Ohio State gymnast Drew Durbin rack-
ing in a high score of 57.925.
Ohio State even boasts an Olympian,
Blaine Wilson, who won the parallel
bars and the floor exercise.
"Blaine almost didn't even compete
tonight because of a bout with the flu,"
Ohio State coach Peter Kormann said.
Even though he was feeling ill,
Wilson beat Penn State competitor
Mike Dutka on the parallel bars with a
score of 9.875.
Michigan freshman Haro placed
third in the bars with a score of 9.725.
Although it was not his highest score
of the season, it was still good enough
to earn him third-place honors.

"I am very pleased with his perfor-
mance" Michigan coach Kurt Golder
said. "He can possibly make the finals in
the parallel bars, and he has the possibil-
ity to be the national champion as well."
Haro, who hails from Mexico, was
ranked sixth in the nation in the parallel
bars going into the meet. He chuckles at
the thought of being the parallel bars
national champion.
"Well, I don't know," Haro said. "My
routine was okay, maybe I can improve
more. There is a chance, but no guaran-
tee."
Haro also placed third in the all-
around, with, a score of 57.4, good
enough to capture a No. I seed at
NCAAs.
Ranked eighth in the nation before
the meet, his numbers will jump with
this performance.
"My priority to improve is on the all-
around," Haro said. "I want to do a good
job on every one."
Both Haro and teammate DeGraw
tied for fifth in the floor exercise, scor-
ing a 9.650. This score was good
enough to qualify DeGraw for NCAAs
as well.
DeGraw, a transfer from Western
Michigan, was ranked sixth in the
nation in the floor heading into
Saturday's competition.
With his performance, DeGraw, like
Haro, has a No. 1 seed going into
nationals.
"Tim can definitely make finals,"

Colder said. "After the preliminaries,
the top eight go to the event finals, and
Tim is capable of doing this."
DeGraw's chances of making it to the
finals are more attainable, because the
competition in the West is not consid-
ered as difficult as that of the East.
"The region is tougher than the
championship," Golder said.
Six teams - Berkeley, Stanford,
Oklahoma, Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn
State - qualified for nationals over the
weekend.
But, Michigan, which has had a
rough season, had no chance ofqualify-
ing for the regional meet as a team. The
Wolverines, like many other teams, had
to rely on the strength of their individu-
als to pull them through in competition.
As new recruits to the squad, that was
exactly what Haro and DeGraw did.
Although they lost every dual meet,
the Wolverines beat a few teams in tour-
naments.
At the Windy City Invitational, they
came in eighth out of nine teams. Better
yet, at the Gold's Challenge, they beat
four teams to come in fifth place.
Their struggles are understandable as
the Big Ten is among the toughest con-
ferences in the nation. Six teams quali-
fied for nationals --three of them ware
Big Ten schools.
The Wolverines are hoping they
won't have to count on individuals to
see them through next year, for they
have a young team.

The Wolverines will not have a bIg contingent at the NCAA championships, but they will have a wellespected one. Tim
DeGraw (above) will be the No. I seed In the floor exercise. Jose Haro will be the No. 2 seed In the all-around.

Golder, Wolverines head to Iowa to root on competing teammates

By Sara Rontal
Daily Sports Writer
The key to every victory is practice,
patience and a lack of teammates.
lack of teammates?
With only two qualifyers for the NCAA
championships, the men's gymnastics team
doesn't exactly have strength in numbers.
But, with a close-knit staff and a few non-
qualifying members to cheer, the Wolverines
are hoping for success in Iowa.
Jose (La Lo) Haro and Tim DeGraw will
be the only two members of the Michigan
squad to contest for the national champi-
.onship crown.
Haro, a freshman transfer from Mexico,
*alified in the all-around in Saturday's
meet.
He is seeded No. 1 for nationals.
DeGraw, a junior, qualified in the floor

exercise. He, too, is a No. I seed.
Although DeGraw and Haro are
Michigan's sole representatives, it does not
mean that they will be the only ones going to
Iowa.
A few of the other Wolverine tumblers are
sure to follow, and that makes Haro feel
more comfortable about competition.
"I like to have a lot of support," Haro said.
"It makes competing easier."
Michigan coach Kurt Golder feels the
same way.
"When there are people there to cheer the
competitors on, it means so much to the
guys," Golder said.
"It means so much for two reasons. One, it
is so much better to the guys to see familiar
faces cheering them on. Two, from an edu-
catinal point of view, much of the team has
never seen an NCAA championship, and it

makes them more motivated to go when they
do see one."
The Wolverines did not win any dual
meets this season, but next year, they hope
to be good enough to make it to the champi-
onship as a team.
"Next year we will possibly be good
enough to qualify," Golder said. "It depends
on the recruiting. If it goes well, then we
could go."
Luckily for the Wolverines, this year
Michigan was able to recruit again, with the
gain of scholarship money lost last season.
The scholarships allowed Golder to recruit
Haro and DeGraw, now national competi-
tors.
For Haro, being an individual going into
the national meet is a little nerve-racking.
"I usually get nervous right before the
meet," Haro said.

But Haro really doesn't have anything to
get nervous about.
He has the potential to be the national
champion on the parallel bars, placing third
in Saturday's competition.
And though he may lack the teammates to
see him through to nationals, the Michigan
staff makes up for it.
"On Satuday, every person, Kurt, Rich
Dopp, and the trainers. were really close,"
Haro said.
"We were a team and had a lot of support.
I really liked that.
"It is a big thing to go to nationals with
the closeness that we have. I really feel good
about the team."
Teamwork is what Haro and DeGraw need
to see them to the finals.
Of the competitors, only the top eight go
to the finals in the event being competed.

Being thrust into the kind of competition
such as the national meet making it to the
finals might prove difficult.
To compete on that level takes a strength
shown by these two Wolverines.
But next year, don't count on the strength
of the men's team to be on the shoulders of
DeGraw and Haro alone.
At the Big Ten competiton, members of
the freshman class scored 50 percent of the
team's counting scores. There is much talent
to be seen by the young members of the
Wolverines.
Besides, the Wolverines are only losing
two seniors next year, co-captains Flavio
Martins and Jason MacDonald.
MacDonald had the team's second best
score on the horizontal bar and Martins had
the team's third-best score on the floor exer-
cise.

Shift of po'
mighty Tic
By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
'Every recess, the boys in the park play
King of the Mountain for the rights to the
title of toughest, most respected kid in
Wool.
In women's gymnastics there is one real
tough team which stood on the top of the
hill for 10 years, resisting push after push,
shove after shove.
One team - 10 years, but not again.
Saturday's Central Regional champi-
onship marked the end of an era for
Alabama and possibly the beginning of one
for Michigan.
The Wolverines knocking off of the
*imson Tide this weekend marked the first
time since 1986 that Alabama coach Sarah
Patterson and her team weren't standing in
the victory circle following the regional.
The Tide has virtually owned the Central
Region since 1984, winning the last 10
regional championships and 12 out of the

wer places 'M' atop
le, gymnastics world

Appropriate that a 1983 All-American
from Alabama - the year before the 12-
year dominance began - would eventually
end the streak.
That person, 14-years later, is Michigan
coach Bev Plocki.
The shifting of the power has begun.
But perhaps the mighty Tide wasn't
pushed off the mountain on Saturday.
Maybe they were pushed off by the mighti-
er Wolverines weeks ago, and this weekend
was merely an attempt to climb back up to
the top.
After all, Michigan entered the regional
favored to win, due in part to the hometown
advantage of Crisler Arena and also to
national rankings according to average
team scores throughout the season.
Alabama spent most of January and
February ranked No. 2 behind Georgia,
while the Wolverines fluctuated in the top
10.
But by the second week in March,

Harriman missed one event and junior
Danielle McAdams was not in the all-
around.
Yet the Tide that was out on the floor did-
n't come out very strong to begin the
evening. Alabama scored only a 48.525 on
the uneven bars and it was forced to play
catch-up thereafter.
"I think that we were a little nervous in
the beginning," Patterson said. "In the last
two meets before this one, we finished
fourth at the SEC Championship and we
struggled at Auburn. There's a lot of histo-
ry.
"We've won the title (12) different times,
but along with that comes a lot of pressure
and a lot of expectations. Once we got past
that point we were okay."
On the other hand, if the Wolverines
knew they were favored entering this week-
end, they certainly didn't show it.
"I don't think we felt any pressure at all,"
Nikki Peters said. "We definitely felt confi-

I

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