The Wolverine

January 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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54 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2020 BY BOB MILLER S everal of the winter Olympic teams whose seasons have not yet started and even a few spring sports will be- gin soon at Michigan. Here's a preview of the U-M squads whose seasons are about to commence in January: Men's Gymnastics Michigan was projected first over- all in the team rankings of the annual Big Ten preseason coaches' poll, an- nounced on Dec. 11. Junior Nick Guy and incoming freshman Davis Willett were named as Gymnasts to Watch by the league's coaches. First Event: Jan. 18 at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago. Coach's Expectations: "I think last year 's finish [as co-Big Ten champs and fourth overall at the NCAA Cham- pionships] shows that we can compete with the very top of the NCAA," head coach Kurt Golder said. "At the same time, we feel like last year we were probably the third-best team in the NCAA, but we finished fourth, so we take a little incentive from that. "We didn't quite live up to what we believe we were capable of. Our expec- tations are high. We're shooting more for a national championship than we are a Big Ten championship. To me, that's what it's all about. That's the standard." Top Performers: "On floor, we have a junior, Jake Moore, returning," Golder said. "He's the Big Ten Cham- pion and NCAA runner-up. We've got a good top guy there. "Right now on pommel horse, it appears that it's going to be [senior] Mack Lasker as our No. 1 guy. We've had several intrasquad meets and he's won the majority of them. That looks to be a real strong event for us. "It's not really a surprise to me, but it's going to be a surprise to the rest of the country that [junior] James Read, a local Ann Arbor boy, has been coming along on rings and, right now, he prob- ably has the highest start value in the country. He's been hitting his routine really well in our intrasquads. I think he's going to burst onto the scene. "[Junior] Nick Guy is doing one of the most difficult vaults in the country. He came through for us at the NCAAs last year with a really nice score. "[Junior] Cameron Bock on parallel bars is another one who, if he doesn't have the highest start value in the country, he's very close to it, so it's just a matter of the execution. "On high bar, it could be Bock or [graduate student] Uche Eke, who redshirted last year. I think everyone forgot about Eke, but he's back from the redshirt year, so that will be a nice surprise we can spring on everyone." Women's Gymnastics First Event: Jan. 10 vs. Washing- ton and Texas Women's University at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. National Ranking: Ranked sixth nationally in the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) pre- season poll. Coach's Expectations: "We're really excited coming off of last year," head coach Bev Plocki said. "Last year, this team really came together as a team and the chemistry was really strong. The determination was really strong. The trust and belief in each other was high. Everybody looks at gymnastics and thinks it's an individual sport. It's not. We're performing by ourselves, but there's a huge impact competi- tively from how the team comes to- gether. "We believe that we should have been in the [NCAA] finals. I think our score indicated that we should have been in the finals, but we didn't make it because of the section we were in. I always tell my team that you can't be in the 'grey zone.' It has to black or white. We have to be that much better than the next team. We have to be that much better so we're not leaving any question." Top Performers: "[Sophomore] Natalie Wojcik, who won the NCAA title on balance beam, had a pretty im- pressive freshman season," Plocki said. "She's a very aggressive competitor. She's very hard on herself, very much a perfectionist. That's a blessing and a curse. We had to get her loosened up a little bit through the fall and early part of the season to be a little bit easier on herself. She's a kid who I would judge a 9.95 in practice and she would want to know why I took the .05 off. Every-   OLYMPIC SPORTS UPDATE More Michigan Olympic Sports Are Ready To Make National Noise Junior Jacob Moore tied for second in the floor exercise at the NCAA Finals in 2018 as a freshman and placed third in the event last year. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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