The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, January 22, 2009 - 5A
With new, difficult
junior earns spot in
By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
Redshirt junior Ryan McCarthy
can do two things that no one else
on the Michigan men's gymnas-
tics team can do - a Kolman on
the high bar and a standing back-
flip without using his hands.
Since Gerry Signorelli in 2006,
no Wolverine has competed a Kol-
man, a double backflip over the
bar with a full twist. McCarthy
uses the skill as the first of three
difficult releases, his signature
sequence on high bar.
After three years as an alter-
nate, McCarthy's Kolman, Kovacs
and Tkatchev releases have gotten
him into the regular lineup. Mich-
igan coach Kurt Golder, who glee-
fully refers to McCarthy as "Flyin'
Ryan," compared the sequence's
difficulty to hitting for the cycle in
"That's selling it short," Golder
said. "To me, it seems like it's even
more than that, and I watch a fair
amount of baseball."
McCarthy's flashy new high-
bar set is the result of countless
hard hours in the gym. Skills this
difficult often take a year or more
But away from competition, his
standing backflip with nohands
reflects his cheerful, quirky per-
"He's a goofball," senior Joe
Catrambone said. "He knows
how to lighten the mood of the
gym when things aren't going too
McCarthy's shining moment
was when he called Golder out to
watch his trick during his fresh-
After making sure he had the
head coach's attention, McCarthy,
hands on his thighs, whipped him-
self backward - then landed on
his face. Golder laughed so hard
"Only Ryan would think to do
something like that," Golder said,
still laughing. "I've seen him - he
has done it since then and he can
do it, and I'm sure he had done it
before that, but it's just like, what
do you have to gain by it?"
For three years, McCarthy has
maintained his happy-go-lucky
aura and a fair measure of ano-
nymity. Due to a broken hand
and a dislocated finger, he had to
redshirt his freshman year. And
because he specializes in pom-
mel horse and parallel bars - two
of Michigan's deepest events - it
was difficult for him to crack the
starting lineup, even when he was
After traveling to nearly every
meet since his second year but
competing in just five, McCarthy
attacked practice with renewed
intensity this summer.
"I want to act now," McCarthy
said. "You can't just wait till the
next year.... If we're going to win, I
don't want to rely on other people.
I want to be one of the people that
makes it happen."
The Wolverines have seen six
quality high-bar men graduate
since McCarthy's freshman sea-
son, leavingthis year's squad thin.
At the perfect time, McCarthy
assembled one of the most dif-
ficult high-bar skill sequences in
Instead of going home to Zions-
ville, Ind., McCarthy remained in
Ann Arbor for the summer, adding
exciting new skills to his parallel
bars and high bar routines.
Golder said he expects McCa-
rthy to make the lineup consis-
tently, and the redshirt junior has
also qualified for the Winter Cup
for the first time since his junior
year of high school.
At the event, held every Febru-
ary in Las Vegas, thebest gymnasts
ini the country compete for spots
on the U. S. Senior National Team.
Though he qualified in high school,
McCarthy has never made it to the
Winter Cup. A few months before
he was scheduled to go, McCarthy
was in a car accident and had to sit
out most of his season. Since then,
it'sbeen a personal goal to compete
at the Winter Cup.
"The fact that I made it there
and gotthat taken away has always
been frustrating for me," McCa-
rthy said. "It feels good inside to
get back to qualifying."
Senior teammate John Sawicki,
McCarthy's roommate of two
years, has watched his friend con-
sistently travel but not compete.
"I just want to see him hit sets,
because I know sometimes he has
trouble," Sawicki said. "He works
so hard doing probably more rou-
tines than anyone else, and he
should be consistent. I just hope
he can get his head in the game
and hit all his routines this year."
Staying loose and continuing
to have fun may be just the thing
to help McCarthy hit consistently
in competition this year. In the
tighter meets, his scores will be
"I feel that he is a new and
improved Ryan, because the old
Ryan would tense up and get ner-
vous and end up falling on the
event," Catrambone said. "He's
been working on controlling his
emotions better on each event and
I really feel that he will be a com-
petitor this year."
20 years later, team
reflects on waning
seconds of title game
By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
The name Rumeal Robinson is
synonymous with the 1989 Michi-
gan men's basketball NCAA Cham-
The All-American point guard hit
two free throws in overtime to take
down Seton Hall 80-79 in the title
game, giving Michigan its first and
only title since it began play in 1909.
"That's the biggest one there, that
one right there is what decorates
this place," former forward Sean
Higgins said while looking at the
1989 National Championship ban-
ner last Saturday when he and the
team were honored during the Wol-
verines' 65-58 loss to Ohio State.
Along with Glen Rice, Robinson
graced Sports Illustrated's cover the
next week, which read- "Michigan:
King of the Court." Eight months
later, the magazine put Robinson
back on the cover, this time for its
college basketball preview issue.
Robinson was the star of The Big
Ten Network's special "The Great-
est Seasons:1989 Basketball," which
chronicled the standout years by
multiple Big Ten teams.
Robinson, who now works in
real-estate development, was a star
prior to hitting the free throws. But
scoring the game-winning points in
a national championship catapulted
him to a whole different level. If
you're a Michigan fan, whether you
were born before or after the game,
you know Rumeal Robinson.
But had it not been for one whis-
tle, it could have been another Wol-
verine basking in the spotlight.
With eight seconds left in over-
time, Seton Hall led 79-78. Pirate
guard John Morton air-balled a
jumper as the shotclock expired, and
Rice grabbed theboard and passed to
Robinson. He immediately took off
downcourt as the clock ticked closer
towards zero. After maneuvering
through a few Seton Hall defend-
ers, Robinson drove the lane, rose
to shoot and was fouled. Looking at
the replay, there was little contact
between Robinson and the Pirate
defender. In fact, had it not been
the last play of the game, the referee
might have swallowed his whistle.
As the whistle blew and Robin-
son hung in the air, he decided not
to shoot, but instead, pass. Robin-
son claims that he passed the ball
because he was fouled, but it may
have been because Seton Hall's big-
gest defender, who dropped into the
lane to help, that would have made it
difficult for Robinson to score.
So where did the ball end up?.
Michigan center Mark Hughes,
who averaged just 5.4 points per
CHANEL VON HABSBURG-LOTHRINGEN/Daily
Former center Mark Hughes averaged 5.4 points per gare during the 1989 season.
game duringhis career.
Without the referee's call, he
wouldhave takenthe potentialgame-
winning shot. Instead, Hughes, who
is currently the director of West
Coast Scouting with the New York
Knicks, caught the ball and then
looked at the referee under the hoop
who hadblown the play dead.
Since Hughes's defender dropped
into the lane to help on Robinson,
Hughes had a wide-open look from
the right wing.
What would have happened if the
"I tell everybody ifthatref doesn't
blow the whistle, that would have
been me making the game win-
ner and I'd have been on the cover
of Sports Illustrated instead of
Rumeal," Hughes said jokingly. "So
he blew it. He stole my thunder."
Rice agrees: "He makes it."
And so does Robinson. "Mark
Hughes probably would have
scored," he admitted.
Even though Hughes never made
the cover of Sports Illustrated, the
fact that he was in the right spot at
the right time was a microcosm of
the team, according to Rice.
"That's the great thing about this
team," Rice said. "We all (knew) our
strengthens and the weaknesses at
that time and Mark Hughes was in
a spot where he was supposed to be,
just Rumeal got fouled, and he went
and did what he had to do."
Struggling unit on pace to be worst of decade
By GJON JUNCAJ Should the Wolverines' current
Daily Sports Writer power-play statistics continue, they
would be the lowest of any Michi-
Film sessions are becoming gan team this decade..
increasingly more frustrating for Berenson, in his 25th season at
Michigan hockey coach Red Beren- the helm in Ann Arbor, has to go
son. back much further for a point of
With a 14.1 percent success rate, reference - and he still has trouble
his power-play unit is ranked 42nd finding one.
in the nation and seventh in the "I can't remember when our
conference. The Wolverines have power play has struggled like
converted just eight of their last 71 this," Berenson said. "We've had
man-advantage opportunities. our issues before, because power
Even when Michigan's power plays get hot and cold. ... That's
play has clicked, its success has all it is. You can have good players
hinged too much on one player, with and have a bad power play."
eight of 21 of its power play tallies Berenson analyzes the power
coming from sophomore forward play in four phases: offensive zone
Louie Caporusso. No other Wolver- faceoffs, breaking out into transi-
ine has scored more than twice on tion, puck movement and creating
the power play. traffic in front of the net. When
evaluating the unit on film, Beren-
son says the Wolverines are lacking
in every area. Michigan has lost too
many draws in the opponent's zone
only to have the other team ice the
puck. When the Wolverines bring
the puck up through the neutral
zone, Berenson has noticed far too
much dump-and-chase action, and
opponents wind up beating Michi-
gan to the loose pucks.
"I can't tell you how many times
Bowling Green and Miami just
See HOCKEY, Page 8A
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