The Wolverine

May 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  big ten/NCAA championships: Men's gymnastics team award. This whole team went out there and did some amazing things." The confident bunch enjoyed a rousing celebration while the customary championship hats and shirts were distributed amongst the Wolverines crowding the first-place podium. "I am on cloud nine right now," Mikulak said. "It has all been building to this moment. Our team has put in so much work and battled through so many injuries and we finally came out here with our strongest lineup possible. "We had the highest energy we've had. We went out and had fun, and it turned out well for us." Mikulak, who has won three consecutive conference high bar crowns, earned NCAA Men's Gymnast of the Week honors from the College Gymnastics Association and was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for the second time in his career. In all, eight different Wolverines advanced to the Big Ten Individual final held the following day, and occupied 18 total spots — the most of any squad in the event. U-M, 17-2 overall and 7-1 in conference action, produced three individual champions on the second day of competition. Mikulak led the pack in the high bar (15.700 points) and finished second in the vault (15.225 points), senior Syque Caeser grasped his second career parallel bar championship with a 15.025 score, and sophomore Stacey Ervin triumphed in the floor exercise for the first time in his collegiate career with a 15.800 performance. "I am so pumped," said Caesar, who competed in the 2012 London Games as a representative of Bangladesh. "Last year I was in really great shape, but then got injured, so I wasn't able to compete at Big Tens. This year, I came back and, in the back of my mind, I've always wanted to get back the parallel bars title but, obviously, the team always comes first. "The guy that hits is the guy that wins, and luckily that was me. I'm really happy that I was able to come away with the title again." The Maize and Blue look to upgrade their Big Ten-title memorabilia to celebratory national championship garb for the first time since 2010 at the 2013 NCAA Championships, which commence April 19 and are hosted by the Nittany Lions. The Wolverines were defeated by PSU 437.300-433.400 in a dual-meet clash in Happy Valley March 16, but have found their form and are now healthy following injury issues throughout the season. "We had a lot of struggles through the season," Caesar said. "We started on a really high note at the beginning, dipped down a little bit, and then we started rising back up. This is what we have been training for, this is what we have been peaking for and it's coming together. We had a really good meet at Big Tens, but there is a lot more work to do." — Kevin Minor

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