May 2, 2017
The University of Michigan men's gymnastics team, led primarily by underclassmen in 2017, took a step towards returning to NCAA prominence in the upcoming 2018 season. A pair of Michigan sophomores earned NCAA All-America honors on vault, highlighted by Anthony McCallum's 15.10 to capture his second straight NCAA vault title, while Emyre Cole scored a 14.90 (3rd).
The Wolverines lose three seniors to graduation but return the vast majority of their lineup next season to go along with the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.
At the Big Ten Championships, U-M took seventh as a team and had three Wolverines qualify for the event finals. During NCAA qualifiers, the squad finished fifth of six teams, with a team score of 409.650, and qualified seven gymnasts on eight routines for the event finals.
U-M had two key upsets on the year as then-ranked No. 10 Michigan crushed No. 8 California (402.100-386.800) on Feb. 25 and the then-ranked No. 11 Wolverines defeated No. 3 Illinois (407.300-404.000) on March 11.
Following a sweep of all six event titles over UIC in the final home meet of the season, U-M's regular season wrapped up with new highs for the team score (414.950), pommel horse (68.500), vault (72.350) and floor exercise (71.400).
The preseason Road to National standings listed U-M at the nine spot, while the CGA Coaches Poll ranked the Wolverines No. 10. The Maize and Blue finished its season ranked ninth in both the CGA Coaches Poll and the Road to Nationals standings. Throughout the entire season, Michigan ranked in the top-10 in the NCAA on three events, highlighted by vault, floor exercise and pommel horse. The squad shown the most progress on parallel bars, increasing its team mark by nearly six points and moving up the rankings seven spots to No. 10 from the start of the season.
For the second straight year, sophomore Anthony McCallum repeated for back-to-back NCAA vault titles, while classmate Emyre Cole took third on vault as both earned NCAA All-America honors. McCallum's 15.10 Tsukahara double pike helped him become the first back-to-back NCAA vault winner in school history and the sixth ever U-M gymnast to ever win back-to-back on any event. Cole placed third on vault with a 14.90 to earn the first All-America honor of his career. The last time an NCAA program had two All-American vaulters finish in the top three at NCAAs was Stanford in 2010.
At the Big Ten Championships, three Wolverines qualified for the event finals as sophomore Emyre Cole, who competed on parallel bars, floor and vault, was named to the All-Big Ten first team for the second straight season.
The sophomore class owned the highest scores on each event this season as Emyre Cole scored U-M's highest score of the season on floor (14.90), Cole and Anthony McCallum tied for the top score on vault (15.10), and Cole and Uche Eke shared the top mark for parallel bars (14.20). Eke owned the top score on pommel horse (14.15), Ryan Dunning secured the top rings score (14.50) and Justin Hopgood captured the top high bar score (14.40). Additionally, the sophomore class earned 19 of the 20 event titles won this season: Cole (8), McCallum (6, 1 tied), Dunning (two), Eke (one), Marty Strech (one) and Jonathan Chin (one tie).
Two of U-M's top gymnasts in senior captain Tristian Perez-Rivera and junior Dmitri Belanovski were out for the majority of the season. Perez-Rivera sustained a season-ending injury after only two meets, while Belanovski missed the latter third of the season, returning to compete in only one event (high bar) at NCAAs.
Freshmen Mack Lasker, Thomas Paul, Justin Murphy and Mitchell Brown made career debuts during January's Windy City Invitational. Sophomores Justin Hopgood, Corey Aurentz and Matthew Whitaker also made their career debuts this season.
Honors and Awards
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