Page 4-The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - January 21, 1991
Women aim for Big 10s
Coach Bev Fry sports top gymnasts in 1991
Michigan gymnast Jim Round once again will excel on the rings, among other events. The junior all-arounder
was chosen as a co-captain for the second straight year by his teammates.
oun men's squad hopes to
avoid injuries, inconsistency
by Jeff Cameron
and R.C. Heaton
Daily Sports Writers
"Weare going to win Big Tens
Sophomore Julie Hofmeister
predicted this when asked for her
opinion of the 1990-1991 Michigan
women's gymnastics team. To put
it mildly, the women have high
expectations for the upcoming sea-
Under the direction of second-
year coach Beverly Fry, the
Wolverines are looking to improve
on their past performances. Two
years ago, Michigan finished dead
last in the seven team Big Ten
field. Last year, the squad upped
their standing to sixth in the
league. The Wolverines may not
win it all this year, but they expect
to crack the top three.
"People will have to contend
with us this year," Fry said. "This
is the best team U of M has had in
quite awhile. We would like to fin-
ish at least third, but we must stay
Michigan has already proven
this at a competition last weekend
at Wisconsin. They beat a tough
Minnesota team who finished third
in the Big Ten. Strong perfor-
mances were turned in by sopho-
more standout Ali Winski and
frosh phenom Wendy Wilkinson.
"People can expect to see ex-
citing things from Ali Winski and
Wendy Wilkinson," Fry said. "I
think they will be the real crowd-
pleasers this year."
Other important contributions
are going to come from sophomore
Debbie Geiger and first-year gym-
nast Nicole Simpson in the all-
around competition. Simpson is
sidelined with an ankle injury at
the present time. Junior co-cap-
tains Diane Armento and Laura
Lundbeck are expected to lead the
Wolverines both in competition
and in the lockerroom. Armento
will perform on the vault and on
the balance beam. Lundbeck will
compete on the floor exercise and
Junior Kim Crocker is ex-
pected to provide solid scores in
Yr. Ht. Hometown
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Traverse City, MI
Traverse City, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
by Charlie Wolfe
Daily Sports Writer'
Making an in-depth assessment of the 1991
Michigan men's gymnastics team, one finds that
three factors will be crucial if the Wolverines plan
on being a formidable foe in the Big Ten.
Coming off last year's regional-qualifying, 17th
nationally-ranked team, those factors will be youth,
injuries, and consistency. All three will weigh
heavily on head coach Bob Darden's mind, if the
team is to seriously contend in the conference or
qualify once again for post-season competition.
YOUTH: There will be plenty of it as this season's
squad features six freshmen, nearly half of the 13-
man team. And even a majority of the upperclassmen
could be considered fairly young, as that includes
two sophomores and only one senior on the whole
roster. Five are returning letterwinners, however, and
two qualified for the NCAA Championships last year.
The Wolverines will be led by their co-captains,
Jim Round and Matt Harrison. Only a junior, this is
Round's second year as a captain, and Harris&h is
the lone senior on the squad. Both will be excellent
all-arounders for Michigan., but Harrison's specialty
is the parallel bars and Round excels on the rings.
Round had a team-high score of 9.60 on them a year
ago (while also scoring a team best 9.30 on the
horizontal bar), and Harrison will try to better last
season's leading tally of 9.40 on the parallel bars.
"The guys really appreciate (Harrison's) input,
and his competitive experience is invaluable,"
Coach Darden said. "As for Jim (Round), it's the
second year he's been chosen as team leader, so that
should speak for itself."
Another major plus is the return of junior Ruben
Ceballos, Michigan's top all-around performer from a
year ago with a team-high score of 55.75. Ceballos is
the finest returnee in the floor exercise (an amazing
personal best of 9.75 last season) and vault (9.45),
while qualifying for the NCAA Championships in
Glenn Hill joins Ceballos as the other NCAA
qualifier, the junior competed in the NCAA
Championships for the second consecutive year on
the pommel horse. Hill had his hand in a cast the
past three weeks, but has returned this week to
compete in multiple events.
"I'm looking forward to competing again," said
Hill, "it's kind of frustrating being out these last few
weeks. I was excited about the first meet at Minne-
sota; we did really well compared to the past years."
The other upperclassmen who hope to bolster their
team's scores this season are junior David Nader,
and sophomores Scott Harris and Josh Miner.
Finally we arrive at the true youth reserve of the
team, and .heading an impressive list of first-year
gymnasts are two members whom Darden refers to as
"super-freshmen." Royce Toni and Ben Verrall both
took a year off between high school and college;
Toni to recover from an injury and Verrall to train
"We will put a lot of pressure on Royce and Ben
this year," said Darden. "They are looked at as
having a year of collegiate experience and should
contribute a great deal to our team."
Darden was also very positive about his other four
newcomers. Jorge Camacho was considered the
leader in the floor exercise going into the Minnesota
meet, and Mike Mott was a two-time high school
state champion on the pommel horse. Matt Marsich
has an impressive background in the all-around, but
the coaches will try to have him emphasize vault
and floor exercise, while Seth Rubin will work the
INJURIES: Simply put, the Wolverines can't
afford any. Many of the team members are already
nursing injuries to one extent or another, and even
though they seem to be a way of life for many
gymnasts, they could stop an upcoming team in its
tracks. Hill's is the only one serious enough to have
kept him out of competition, but both Harrison
(knees) and Ceballos (wrist) are hampered enough to
be seriously restricted in practice, and lesser
problems are common.
"We don't have the depth that some of the bigger
teams have," Round said. "But if we're all healthy,
we should do pretty well. That's going to be the key."
CONSISTENCY: This third dynamic is one that
Darden continually will push his squad towards,
feeling it is especially important with his team's
limited pool of experience. Michigan mainly
concentrated on basic skill training the first few
months last semester, "but then in December and
since we've come back, it's been intense training to
just churn out as many routines as possible," Darden
said. "And then to just perfect those routines over
and over again."
That's not to say that the gymnasts will be
displaying the most intricate routines, however. That
may be wishing for too much, too soon.
"We're not going to set the world on fire with the
difficulty of our routines," he said. "We do have a
variety of routines for everyone, but we need
consistency above all."
Working along with Darden this season will be
assistant coach Mike Milidonis. He has coached
women's gymnastics teams before, and is also an
active member of numerous national and
international gymnastics organizations. Milidonis had
some very inspiring words about the men he'll be
working with this year.
"We have a great group of guys, youth as well as
leadership," he said. "I think we're going to surpass
our recent history and rewrite the record books, I
the floor exercise. Sophomore
Tiffany Kinnai will perform nicely
on the balance beam, and rookie
walk-on Tami Crocker will com-
pete on the uneven bars and the
vault. Sophomore Julie Hofmeister
is the most improved gymnast on
the squad and will be a fine all-
around performer. They are young,
but not inexperienced.
"Michigan looks really im-
proved under coach Fry," Wiscon-
sin assistant coach Jeff Thompson
said. "It's her program now. She
has her own kids now, and they re-
ally look good."
The Wolverines sport a very
young squad now, with no seniors
and only three juniors. Michigan
has also received commitments
from a number of top recruits al-
ready, giving further reason for
confidence in the years to come.
"We have phenomenal recrui
coming in," Fry said. "Next yea
we will be the team to compete
with. People need to start looking
at Michigan gymnastics in a posi-
The future looks bright for the
Wolverines as does the present.
They are gaining a competitive at-
titude that they have not displayed
in the past. They expect to win
each week, instead of hoping
pull off an upset.
Michigan women's coach Beverly Fry, in her second year, discusses routine techniques with her gymnasts.
The squad is hoping for a top-three finish in the Big Ten this season.
Men gymasts look to finish in the middle of the pack in 1991
by Robert Siegel
Daily Sports Writer
In Big Ten competition last
year, the Michigan men's gymnas-
tics team finished in seventh place
out of seven competing schools,
yet they still ranked 17th na-
That fact attests to what a pow-
erhouse conference the Wolverines
find themselves in this season.
Gymnastics is an important sport
here in the Midwest, taken very
seriously because competiton is
stiff. If you oan survive in the Big
Tt-n mnw ,. r it ,ill; nly7 d'i
"Any conference that qualifies
five of seven teams for the NCAA
championships is a great confer-
ence," Illinois head coach Yoshi
"No question. This is the best
conference there is," Iowa head
coach Tom Dunn said.
"The Big Ten is by far the pre-
mier men's gymnastics conference
in America," Michigan State head
coach Rick Atkinson said.
Apparently, all the teams in the
Big Ten are quality teams. They
are all good. But three, Minnesota,
Towa and Ohio State. are very
tures Chris Kabat who, last year as
a freshman, made All-Big Ten. He,
like the entire Iowa team, should
only get better..
Rounding out the top three is
Ohio State. Although perennially
strong, this might be an off year for
the Buckeyes due to the loss of
many of last year's talented se-
"We lost 50 percent of our
team scores to graduation," OSU
head coach Peter Korman said.
As for the rest of the Big Ten,
it's anybody's game. Michigan,
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan
year for the Illinois men's gym-
nasts. However, after an off year,
the Fighting Illini are on the re-
"We are a much, much better
team this year," 17th-year head
coach Yoshi Hayasaki said.
It shouldn't be long before the
team is a power again like it was
in the '80s when Illinois captured
four Big Ten championships.
Michigan State head coach
Rick Atkinson likes his chances
this year. Fifth in the Big Ten a
year ago, he hopes to finish second
Wisconsin is another hopeful,
young team. Perennially near the
bottom of the standings, the team
hopes to move up this year. From
the looks of things, though, thee
So where does all of this leave
our. own Wolverines? Michigan's
gymnasts are confident, but realis-
"Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio
State are probably the top three,"
Michigan co-captain Matt Harrison
said. "But I think we should beat
Wisconsin, MSU, and Illinois, so
we're right in the middle to unne*
John Roethlisberger, last year's
all-around Bi Ten chamn (Yes.