I think it is very rude and selfish of the Men's Gymnastics team to put US (spectators) through so much stress and nervousness!!! Only kidding...this was an amazing championship to watch!
Thursday we watched the University of Michigan, in addition to several other schools, compete as teams to qualify for the team final meet on Friday evening. The top 3 teams from thursday's two sessions (afternoon and evening) qualify. 3 teams in the afternoon session qualify and 3 teams in the evening qualify. My brother did well on his two events, High Bar and Rings, but individual rankings weren't that important on Thursday because the stress was on the team (as a whole) to do well in order to qualify for Friday evening. Individual finals take place tonight (SAT) and the athletes participating in individuals was determined based on the top 10 athletes from Friday evening. Confused yet?
University of Michigan had a great meet on Thursday but unfortunantly, the chance to qualify for Friday evening was left to Andrew Elkind on Parallel Bars, as the last athlete of the meet to try to score a 9.0. Can you believe it...he had to get a certain score in order for Michigan to beat Ohio State. Could you imagine the silence in the building as Andrew was about to start his routine...and then the excitement as he finished? Check out the write-up for the event (better than my blog!) http://www.mgoblue.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=24432
Michigan barely squeezed in 3rd place with a team total score of 215.350 and beat Ohio state who had a score of 215.250!!!
Friday evening was very exciting as well because my brother was trying to qualify for individual finals. Unfortunantly, my brother's best event (on which he won Big Ten's) is High Bar and Michigan was up on High Bar as their first event. If you don't know anything about gymnastics, gymnastics judging is very subjective and scores tend to go up as the meet goes on. Therefore, with High Bar as Michigan's first event, my brother earned a 9.050. Athletes who had as much difficulty as my brother (which is very difficult) were earning 9.3 and up, and it took a 9.3 to make it back as top 10. When he got to Rings, which were 3 apparatus's later, all he needed to do to make it back was to stick his landing. My brother has a lot of difficulty in his rings routine so it all came down to the landing. I must admit, being his very last meet, he had a lot of emotions going through his body, but my brother is very well-composed and just enjoyed the moment and loved every minute of representing University of Michigan. He took a step :( No worries though. He still did great (of course in the eye's of his sister, I always think he does great!) and Michigan was still in the running to place in the top 4 for NCAA's and earn themselves a plaque. And once again, it all came down to Parallel Bars. Andrew was up as the last competitor. With a great routine to qualify him into individual finals, Michigan bumped Illionois out of the running and Michigan placed 4th. Although they were really happy with a podium finish, Michigan's team total was 218.400 and Standford squeezed in third place with 218.450! Bummer. Read more at http://www.mgoblue.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=24447
Tonight is the individual finals which Michigan will have four athletes competing. While I wish that I could watch my brother compete just one more time, I'm looking forward to sitting with Aaron as we watch the meet and checking out some of the gymnasts that my brother has been competiting with since he was 6 yrs old! With a retirement from Gymnastics on April 13th, 2007, my brother has dedicated the last 16 years to gymastics. As a 2003 NCAA All-American on Pommel Horse, a 2007 High Bar Big Ten Champion, a 4-year Academic All-American and much accomplishment in between, I know Aaron is leaving on a high note. As he moves forward in the business world working at PPG in Pitt, I know Aaron will always have a special place in his life for memories of his gymnastics career. Well done Aaron. Well Done!