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December 13, 1999 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-13

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6B - The Michigan Daily - December 13, 1999 - SportsMonday

'M' gymnasts continue tradition

If the Michigan
women's gymnas-
tics team wants
to improve on
last year's sec-
ond-place show-
ing, It will need
strong contribu-
tions from people
like Erin McWatt
(left) and Jodie
Rosenberg.
ALEX WOLK/Qaily

I

By Sarah Ensor
) VS1 wIAWriter
Above the Michigan women's gym-
nastics team's bench on the west wal of
ClifT Keen Arena, a hanner proclaims.
"The Tradition Continues" In the
Maize-Blue Intrasquad scrimma.ec
Friday night, the Wolvermins proved ttih.
Coming off a season capped by a sec-
ond-place finish in the NCA A
Tournament, expectations are hiph hor
this year's gymnasts. Friday's scrinmage
demonstrated that not only are the
Wolverines eager to meet the standar d
established by last season's success, but
that they have the talent to do so.
Senior captain Sarah Cain won the all-
around competition with a score of
39.300, but her blue squad fell to the
maize, 183.100-182.600. The close
score is indicative of the talent through-
out the roster, and shows the widespread
ability of the Michigan gymnasts.
All the competitors completed solid
routines, much to the delight of the
crowd and Michigan coach Bev Plocki.
"I'm really impressed with how
everybody did," Plocki said. "I think that
they competed very much like in prac-
tice, which is what I'm happy about. A
lot of times you can practice really well
and come in front of audience and
choke, and not look anything like you
did in practice. This really tells us a lot."
Cain stole the show, scoring a team-
high 9.85 on both the uneven bars and

loor exercise, while demonstrating her
allaround abilit by scoring at least a
9.775 on every apparatus. In addition to
Cain, the Wolverines were led by junior
captain rndget Knaeble, senior Sarah-
U liz beth Langford. sophomore Amy
Kuc.era and freshman Janessa Grieco.
Knachlc.s 99() on the beam was the
hithest score of the evening.
The scrimmage marked the collegiate
debut for Michigan freshmen Grieco,
Cami Singer and Tam Tagliarino. Despite
the jitters that were inevitably present in
their first competition betore a collegiate
crowd and judges, all three rose to the
occasion admirably Grieco finished third
in the all-around with a score of 38.425,
and Ied the team with a 9.800 in the vault.
Singer competed in the bars, the beam
and floor, with her best score coming
with a 9.675 on the floor.
"I'm really happy with (the fresh-
men's) performance," Plocki said.
"When you have kids that are young like
that, they may have a lot of experience at
a national level in age group, but college
gymnastics is different. You never know
how they're going to act when they get
out there on the floor, so it was really
nice to see the freshmen come through
tonight and execute the way they did'
"We have some really talented incom-
ing freshmen." Cain agreed. "It's a lot of
fun seeing the freshmen perform for the
first time, because sometimes you have
somebody in the gym that's totally dif-

ferent when they compete."
Singer said that being in a more for-
mally competitive setting spurred her to
a new level of success.
"Having the crowd and judges there
made it a lot easier to compete. because
you wanted to show everyone what you
could do:' Singer said. "I am very hap
with the intrasquad. It was a lot of fun."
The scrimmage was a critical forum in
which the team could evaluate its
strengths and weaknesses, and determine
the focus of the few crucial practices
remaining before the season opener at the
Super Six Challenge in Athens, Ga.
"We have 12 days to fix (our mis-
takes) before we go to Georgia," Plocki
said. "I have a handful of notes from the
judges, and we have to go back and pi
point and try to make corrections, a*
key in on certain things we need to work
on. Hopefully when we go to Georgia
we'll be confident and ready to go."
"We have to work on the mistakes that
we made tonight," Cain said. "Landings
on dismounts, hitting the handstands -
things here and there in every event. But
we're coming along very nicely."
That seems to be the dominant senti-
ment among the team after the scrin
mage, as all involved demonstrated coP
fidence that this year's campaign will yet
again be one to remember.
"If we can stick together and improve
where we started at tonight:' Plocki said,
"We should have a pretty good season."

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