2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 23, 2006
Club table tennis offers fun for all
able Aicigut ?uailg
Athlete of the Week
Name: Tim Cook Team: Ice Hockey
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey Class: Junior
Why: During Friday night's game Cook scored his first colle
giate goal after playing 81 scoreless games as a Wolverine. He
may not remember the moment he scored, but he gave us all
something we will never forget.
By Julian Khaira
For the Daily
It's 7 p.m. on Friday when senior Bryant Shain tightens the net on one of the
ping-pong tables by the wall inside the Coliseum. The players are gradually
making their way through the entrance doors and onto the court to get warmed
During the past five years, the Michigan table tennis club has undergone
rapid development and growth. The club - once comprised of a small group
of 9 or 10 college students interested in playing the game - has tripled in size
since its creation.
Undergraduate students, graduate students, professors and other citizens of
Ann Arbor now come to hone their spins and slams every Friday night.
Shain, who is president, is largely responsible for the club's development
over the past few years.
"I would consider table tennis as my one true passion" Shain said.
With the help of fellow leader Bhargav Avasarala, Shain has started to orga-
nize a once-a-month intraclub tournaments with the intentions of promoting
friendly competition and preparing the team's best players for the annual Asso-
ciation of College Unions International Championship, a national tournament
held each spring. The ACUI is open to midwestern universities and colleges
like Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan.
In 2005, Paulo Umesaki, a second-year Business graduate student and for-
mer professional table tennis player in Brazil placed first in the Midwestern
division of the ACUI. For Paulo, the table tennis club satisfies his love for the
game without being overly competitive or time consuming.
"The club is very informal," Umesaki said. "You find someone at the begin-
ning of the practice, and you play them. We don't have a coach."
Another regular that has helped contribute to the general success of the club
is 75-year-old John Levens, a retired engineer living in Ann Arbor. He enjoys
the general relaxing atmosphere of the game as well as the spirited nature of
For Shain, Levens and the 30 other members of the table tennis club, it is
this friendly competitive spirit that makes the club enjoyable. The six hours the
club meets each week is a time for the players to take a break from their daily
Although the club has come a long way since its founding, Shain is hopeful
that it will continue to develop in the future.
"We need more students at Michigan to join the club," Shain said. "It doesn't
matter how much table tennis they've played. We have enough equipment and
The club holds open practices from 7 to 9 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday
and Friday at the Coliseum. The club always welcomes new members and inex-
1/25 M Basketball vs. Michigan State
1/26 W Basketball vs. Northwestern
1/27 M Tennis vs. William and Mary
1/27 W Gymnastics vs. Ohio State
1/27 Ice Hockey at Michigan State
1/27 M Gymnastics at Oklahoma
1/27-28 M Track and Field
at Boston Invitational
1/28 W Track and Field
at Michigan Intercollegiate
1/28 M Swimming and Diving
vs. Ohio State
1/28 M Basketball vs. Wisconsin
1/28 Wrestling vs. Northwestern
1/28 Ice Hockey vs. Michigan State
1/29 W Tennis at Vanderbilt
1/29 M Swimming and Diving
1/29 W Basketball vs. Wisconsin
1/29 Wrestling vs. Michigan State
s ide of upset
By Colt Rosenswelg
Daily Sports Writer
The last time the Penn State gymnastics team came
to Ann Arbor, the underdog Michigan team pulled off
an upset. This time, the roles were reversed.
Michigan entered the meet ranked No. 4, and
Penn State was ranked No. 8. The Wolverines
looked tense and seemed to feel the pressure, but
the Nittany Lions seemed as relaxed as if it were
nothing more than a practice. After taking the lead
at the start, Michigan subsequently fell further
behind with each and every event.
"We came in here with a pretty good attitude,"
senior Gerry Signorelli said. "Unfortunately, we just
kind of started getting off, a little bit, and we didn't
pull it back together in time."
Unlike the Windy City Invitational, where Michi-
gan's third-place finish was anticipated and satisfac-
tory, Saturday's 209.40-206.45 loss to Penn State left a
bad taste in the team's mouth.
"I expected a lot more," Michigan coach Kurt Gold-
er said. "We had a pretty good meet in Chicago, and
I thought we worked on a majority of our problems. I
was expecting us to rock this meet. But it didn't hap-
pen. I'm pretty disappointed."
Michigan bested Penn State in just one event, vault,
though Golder said he felt his team should also have
won floor exercise also. According to Golder, the judg-
es seemed to loosen their standards as the competi-
tion got underway, which worked in Penn State's favor
since it rotated to floor after Michigan.
The pommel horse improved from last week, with
four gymnasts competing cleanly rather than just
three, but many of the other events seemed to take
a step backward. More lineup changes - Signorelli
and sophomore Paul Woodward were inserted into
the pommel horse lineup Saturday - will follow,
"Those guys who made mistakes (on Saturday)
are coming out of the lineup," Golder said. "They're
going to have to figure it out and solve their problems.
Certainly we'll help them with that, but their routines
Continued from page 1B
"Our meet overall was not as smooth
as our meet at Nebraska," Plocki said.
"We were a little rough around the
edges in some spots. But I think we
were also really great on bars. It was
our best event. The routines were real-
ly clean and solid all the way through.
I thought we did improve vault this
week over last week."
Four of Michigan's six competitors
placed in the top five on the uneven
bars, including fifth-year senior
Lauren Mirkovich, who won with a
score of 9.900.
The highlight of the meet for
the Wolverines may have been the
breakout performance of freshman
Tatjana Thuener-Rego, who tied
Bruck for second place on bars.
Thuener-Rego competed in three out
of the four events and performed on
beam in exhibition. Her unofficial
all-around score of 38.950 was sec-
ond only to Bruck.
"I was really proud of Tatji,"
Plocki said. "She had a great meet
tonight, definitely her best showing.
She went 9.85 in exhibition on beam,
so I was wishing, after the fact, that
we had had her in the lineup, but
hindsight is 20/20. But I thought she
had a good meet all the way around
The Wolverines are not satisfied
with where they are at right now. If
Michigan wants to compete with the
best teams in the nation, it needs to
see fewer wobbles and more stuck
landings. But Plocki is glad to know
that she can count on her veterans to
stand up under pressure.
"Overall, the thing that is most
important is that, twice now, we've
ended a competition on balance
beam in a situation where the meet
was on the line, and we were able
to not count any falls on beam and
were able to pull off the win," Plocki
It's still the beginning of the sea-
son, but I'm happy with the team's
performance, and I'm ready to get
back in the gym on Monday and
keep working some new stuff."
The men's gymnastics team didn't have much to celebrate after Saturday's meet against Penn State.
are already made easy enough, so they should be able
to hit them. It's early in the year, and these are new
routines, but I still expect a lot more than what we're
doing right now."
The competition against Penn State was what Gold-
er and his assistants termed a "target" meet when map-
ping out the year. The strategy, which is designed to
ensure a fresh team at the end of the season, involves
going all-out for certain meets and resting key athletes
in others. For instance, because next week's meet in
Oklahoma is not a target meet, talented freshman Joe
Catrambone will most likely not compete.
The target status of Saturday's competition may
have contributed to some of Michigan's miscues.
Golder said many of the young gymnasts are still
learning how to stay relaxed while competing.
"I think they're trying a little too hard, trying to con-
trol too much," Golder said. "They don't try so hard
in practice to control things so much. They've got to
learn to let it all hang out and compete aggressively."
The meet did have its bright spots. Signorelli gave
a typically strong performance, finishing second in
the all-around competition to Penn State's graceful
freshman Casey Sandy. Sophomore Daniel Rais and
senior Andrew DiGiore tied for the best score on
vault, each putting up a 9.35. Catrambone also stood
out, posting a 9.55 on the high bar after tweaking
his Achilles on vault.
"He should have gotten the Newt Loken award,"
The Newt Loken award is given for the best indi-
vidual performance on a single event, and on Saturday,
it went to Penn State sophomore Tommy Ramos for
his still rings routine.
The meet was a setback, but there is still a lot of
season left. In 1999, Michigan's most recent national
championship season the team didn't win a meet until
March, Golder noted.
Signorelli, like Golder, still has a positive outlook,
despite being discouraged by Saturday's showing.
"We didn't hit enough routines tonight," Signo-
relli said. "I don't know the reason why yet, but
I'm sure we'll figure it out on Monday when we get
back into the gym."
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