Chalk Talk #5: Seven Wolverines Compete for a U.S. National Team Berth

Feb. 2, 2010

Thursday, Feb. 4 -- at Winter Cup Invitational (Las Vegas, Nev.), 1 p.m. PST
Saturday, Feb. 6 -- at Winter Cup Invitational (Las Vegas, Nev.), 7 p.m. PST
Live Results

The No. 1-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (6-1, 5-1 Big Ten) is sending seven competitors to the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup Invitational, including current U.S. senior national team member, junior Chris Cameron (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region), and 2009 Big Ten All-Around champion, junior Thomas Kelley (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville). In addition to Cameron and Kelley, seniors Phillip Goldberg (Dalton, Ga./McCallie), Kent Caldwell (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin), Mel Anton Santander (Southborough, Mass./Algonquin Regional) and Ryan McCarthy (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) and junior Ian Makowske (Redding, Conn./Joel Barlow) will be on hand in Las Vegas, hoping to earn the opportunity to represent the U.S. in international competition.

Wolverines Crush No. 9 Iowa
The Wolverines traveled to No. 9 Iowa last Saturday (Jan. 30) where they scored a 352.450-340.000 victory over the Hawkeyes. The Wolverines were led by event wins from Thomas Kelley (high bar, all-around), Chris Cameron (floor, pommel horse, rings), Kent Caldwell (vault), and junior/sophomore Devan Cote (Hollis, N.H./Hollis-Brookline), who used a career-best score (14.75) to earn his first parallel bars title of the season.

Steady Climb
The Wolverines, who started the season ranked No. 4, have improved their ranking one spot after all three weeks of competition so far this season. The Wolverines' 355.650 total against Penn State on Jan. 24, an NCAA season high, helped move them into second behind only 2009 Big Ten co-champion Illinois. Then, U-M's 352.450 in Iowa City on Saturday (Jan. 30) catapulted Michigan to the No. 1 national ranking.

Cameron Chosen as Big Ten Gymnast of the Week
Junior Chris Cameron earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Monday (Feb. 1). The award, his first this season and fourth in his career at Michigan, comes after leading the Wolverines to victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes last Saturday (Jan. 30) with event wins on the floor, pommel horse and rings along with a top-five finish on the parallel bars. Cameron, a member of the United States senior national team, is currently ranked in the top 10 nationally on three events (floor, pommel horse, and rings) as well as No. 5 in the all-around with an average score of 86.925.

Kelley Named Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week
Junior Thomas Kelley of the University of Michigan men's gymnastics team was named Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week following his performance against Penn State on Jan. 24. Kelley, who shares the honor with Minnesota's Aaron Fortunato, claimed the still rings crown, with a career-best 15.200, and the high bar title, along with top-five finishes on the floor exercise and parallel bars. Despite being the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the 2009 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, the award is Kelley's first career weekly honor.

Big Stage. Big Ten. Big Vault.
On Jan 24, senior Kent Caldwell debuted a Yurchenko half on vault with a one-and-a-half twist. The vault, the second-most difficult vault being performed by a Wolverine, is the only one currently being performed by any gymnast in the Big Ten conference and carries a 16.4 degree of difficulty.

Goldberg and Chan Re-elected Team Captains
For the second year in a row, seniors David Chan (Singapore/Hale School) and Phillip Goldberg (Dalton, Ga./McCallie) will captain the Wolverines. Chan and Goldberg were elected by the vote of their teammates after captaining the 2008-09 team to a share of the Big Ten title and a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Santander Earns National Gymnast of the Week Honors
The College Gymnastics Association announced that University of Michigan men's senior gymnast Mel Anton Santander (Southborough, Mass/Algonquin Regional) was named the NCAA Division I Gymnast of the Week after a national poll of gymnastics coaches. Santander won the all-around and pommel horse at the Maize and Blue Intrasquad on Dec. 12, 2009.

The Accidental All-American
Senior co-captain David Chan is currently featured on in an article about the unique circumstances that lead him to become a two-time All-America honoree and team captain for the Wolverines. [ Read the story! ]

Strong Finish
After the host Wolverines claimed a share of the team title and juniors Thomas Kelley and Chris Cameron finished 1-2 in the all-around at the 2009 Big Ten Championships, the team set season highs two days in a row to finish in second place at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. The Wolverines NCAA haul also included five All-America honorees in Cameron, Joe Catrambone, Phillip Goldberg, Adam Hamers, and Kelley.

Meet the Wolverines!
Each week, presents a video feature on a different Wolverine gymnast, allowing fans to learn more about both the athlete and the sport more broadly. [ Check out the M-Zone for all the latest features! ]

International Wolverines
Two Wolverines have competed internationally this fall, freshman Rohan Sebastian (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness Catholic) and Chris Cameron. Sebastian represented Ireland at the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships in London, England, finishing in 54th place in the all-around competition with a total score of 76.800.

While Cameron finished in seventh place on the pommel horse with a 14.200 representing the U.S. national team in the finals of the DTB Grand Prix event. Competing in a field that included the top three from the 2009 World Championships, Cameron held his own, using his trademark Thomas flairs and clean execution. [ Watch the video of Cameron's DTB performance ]

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