Michigan wins NCAA men’s gymnastics title
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Next week Chris Cameron of Michigan and Steven Legendre of Oklahoma will be gymnastics teammates for Team USA. For one weekend, though, the friendship has to be put on hold.
Cameron unveiled a new vault which made the difference at the NCAA men’s gymnastics championships on Friday night. Cameron scored a 15.450 on the vault, which gave him enough points to capture the all-around title for the first time.
Cameron’s finish helped propel Michigan to its first team title in 11 seasons. The Wolverines beat Stanford by 0.7 points, reversing the finish from the 2009 NCAA finals.
“I’ve been weak on vault my entire life,” Cameron said. “Just recently, through hard training and a lot of work on air awareness, I’ve been able to pop myself in the air and do a double twist up to a more reputable (degree of difficulty). With that vault, that put me over the top.”
Cameron won the all-around title with 90.500 points. He posted a 15.600 on the floor, a 15.450 on rings and vaulting, a 15.150 on parallel bars, a 15.050 on pommel horse and a 13.800 on the horizontal bar.
Cameron, the Big Ten gymnast of the year, is a member of the U.S. Senior National team, and he will be competing at the Pan Pacific championships in Melbourne, Australia, from April 23-May 2.
“Chris is a talented individual,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “He has a drive that is pretty hard to match.”
Legendre, the defending NCAA all-around champion, finished second with 88.950 points. Mel Anton Santander of Michigan placed third.
The team title was Michigan’s fourth outright. The Wolverines won previously in 1963, 1970 and 1999.
“It’s very satisfying,” Golder said. “We’ve been chasing this for 11 years now. We felt we could have won a couple others, we didn’t so it feels great to win it.”
“We’ve been so ready for this,” Cameron said. “We were ready for a national title at the beginning of the year. We were ready last summer. We were ready when we got second last year. This was easy. We had this from the beginning. This is what we do every day in the gym.”
Michigan was the third-ranked team headed into the meet. The Wolverines lost a narrow decision to top-seeded Illinois at the Big Ten meet.
“We made about the same amount of errors but in this case we spread them out,” Golder said. “In the Big Ten championships we put them all in one event so that changed the team title.”
The meet was delayed by 30 minutes when one of the still rings broke during a competitor’s routine. The ring could not be replaced so a new rings apparatus had to be brought in. Six competitors fell off the new set of rings and were allowed a second routine at the close of the meet. The second attempts allowed Illinois to pass California for fourth place.
The individual event finals will be held Saturday evening. The top 10 finishers on Friday advanced to the finals.
The team and all-around finals will be televised by ESPN2 on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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