The 2016 University of Michigan men's gymnastics wrapped up its season by finishing seventh at the Big Ten Championships, as well as ninth overall at the NCAA Championships. Anthony McCallum proved to be a season standout, earning a Big Ten & NCAA vault title as the Wolverines. In total, three Wolverines totaled four NCAA All-America honors, raising U-M's all-time total to 207. In addition to McCallum's vault title which proved to be the third vault title and 30th NCAA individual championship in school history, Dmitri Belanovski earned his second and third NCAA All-America citations on floor and in the all-around competition while, Colin Mahar finished his collegiate career as a first time All-American on still rings.
Six Wolverines made their Big Ten Championships debuts including Marty Strech, Emyre Cole, Samuel Su, Alec Krystek, Adam Dean, and McCallum. McCallum became the 14th Big Ten vault champion in program history and the first in 10 years, scoring a 15.675 on the table en route to a new school record. Anthony Stefanelli secured a second-place finish on floor. Senior Nolan Novak closed out his Michigan Big Ten career with a 14.775 to take sixth on pommel horse along with fellow senior Colin Mahar earning fourth on still rings. McCallum and Cole were named to the All-Big Ten First Team, while Stefanelli was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.
The regular season began at the Windy City Invite, where U-M tallied a fifth-place finish. The Wolverines had a challenging start with meets against No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 2 Stanford and No. 8 Cal, but rebounded on their trip to Puerto Rico, tallying team event titles on floor, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. Michigan ended the regular season on a high note with two victories at home against No. 8 Penn State, posting a season-best score of 431.650, and No. 19 UIC on senior night as Cole’s 15.50 vault set a then-school record, garnering him Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors. Michigan not only excelled in the gym but also the classroom with Jonathan Chin, Adam Dean, Alec Krystec, Colin Mahar, and Nolan Novak earning Academic All-Big Ten honors.
At the helm for his 21st-year as head coach, Kurt Golder will guide a young, up-and-coming team with only five upperclassmen and nearly 20 student-athletes with freshman and sophomore eligibility. U-M, ranked No. 10 in the CGA Preseason Coaches Poll, returns a trio of past NCAA All-Americans in Dmitri Belanovski (floor and all-around, 2016) and Anthony McCallum (vault, 2016). Tristian Perez-Rivera (vault, 2014), returns as a team captain after recovering from a knee injury and representing Puerto Rico in the 2015 Pan-American games.
Additionally, 2015 and 2016 All-Big Ten Second Team member and senior Anthony Stefanelli provides consistency on floor and vault, while senior co-captain Adam Dean will offer veteran leadership.
The sophomore class will be led by redshirt sophomore Marty Strech and sophomores Anthony McCallum and Emyre Cole. Strech and Cole possess dependable capabilities in the all-around competition, while McCallum could find his way into to the all-around mix by championship season.
Between McCallum, Stefanelli, and Cole, the Wolverines boast arguably the top vault lineup in the entire country.
In addition to established and up and coming all-around threats, Uche Eke has the potential to contribute in the all-around as a sophomore with his strengths on floor and vault. Newcomer Mitchell Brown will also bring to the table his all-around success as a junior gymnast, and will lead the freshman class as a whole. Freshman Mack Lasker is expected to bolster U-M’s pommel horse efforts after being crowned pommel champion at Junior Olympics. Other freshmen Socrates Gavallas (high bar and pommel horse), Parker Chiapuzio (parallel bars), Justin Murphy (pommel horse and vault), and Thomas Paul (high bar) aim to fill voids in a lineup that returns only six upperclassmen.
NOTE: Something important to note for this upcoming season is a change in the code of points which will result in lower scoring. There will be four element groups instead of five, resulting in scores being .5 lower on each event compared to last year. For example, a 15.0 in 2016 will be a 14.5 this year. The only event that will differ is vault where a majority of the vaults performed will be .4 lower than last year.
Gymnasts To Watch
Only a sophomore, McCallum has proven that he is a major impact not only in the Big Ten but nationally as well. With vault as his signature event, he will be looked upon to contribute on multiple events as a sophomore after earning seven event titles on rings, vault, parallel bars, and all-around competition. As the season progresses, he could be a six-event contributor. He also looks to defend both his NCAA and Big Ten titles where his 15.675 Tsukahara double pike set new school record.