he grew a beard
For those who don't want to read the whole post, it's good news, starting with the spoiler that Sam Mikulak, who successfully defended his NCAA Championship in Ann Arbor this spring, defended his U.S. Men's Championship. But this time it was with more drama. (Good news about the new kids is below. Spoiler: One is a former junior champ, the other just became one.*)
At one point Sam was in 24th place on the first night of competition after a couple of slip-ups on two of his best events. The Twitterverse is now calling him the Comeback Kid. With his usual aw-shucks smile (even when he surprised himself by ending up on his tusch in the middle of an otherwise-excellent floor routine), he pulled himself back to third by the end of the first night, and it wasn't until the last event in the finals that his 1st place was assured. He had a huge gap to close in this field of Oympians and national team members. Fellow Olympians John Orozco, the 2012 US Champion from the Bronx, and Jake Dalton, former NCAA champ who used to compete for Oklahoma, came in 2nd & 3rd in the tight final. They'll all be competing for the U.S. Team in China this October at Worlds.
You'll notice Sam's not wearing his M gear this time, having used up his eligibility, but he's sticking around Ann Arbor as an assistant coach so he can continue training while finishing his degree. But there was plenty of maize & blue with Coach Kurt Golder and his gang always on camera, and senior Nick Hunter, competing in only three events in what I think is his first national meet, always by Sam's side on the bench. There's something to be said for highlighter yellow when you want it to be seen in the shadows.
As for Michigan's continued success, the future was also on display in the Junior Men's competition with two of M's incoming freshmen: Dmitri Belanovski, a former junior champion, finished 8th in the 17-18 year-old junior division. Marty Strech finished first in the 15-16 year-old category with a final score higher than any in the older junior division. [*In what I think is a new quirk, the top two of each junior category after Day 1 had to compete with the senior men in the finals. The idea is to give the top juniors experience competing against the best, to better prepare them for future international competition. The commentators for the stream said their scores would still be used for their final placing in juniors, but as of now, Strech is not listed as champion except for being on top of the final scoring sheet,including all the juniors, and the current photos have the guys who were top three in each of tonight's junior competition categories on their respective podium. Seems unfair to move them off the podium because they're too good or because they already went home. If I learn more I'll edit.]
Speaking of the incoming class, the third announced all-star commit is apparently no longer part of the class. He was not mentioned in the M press release about the competition, and he's not listed on the new roster. No point speculating, but I'm hoping it's only that having already made the national team earlier this year he decided to forego the college route and train full-time at the U.S. training center. And no point worrying that we only have one former and one current junior champion joining the gang.
What are you guys drinking to celebrate the end of ot season? Maybe even Voltron is Handsome will upvote it!
I currently have a few bottles of Little Sumpin' Extra I was able to find today! I have heard it's awesome, so I'm excited to give it a shot.
Edited - I am turning this into a posbang too. UPVOTES FOR EVERYONE!
I promised a follow up on the skydive challenge my daughter put me up to so here it is under the deadline wire. Im sure you can have a few laughs on this No Ragrats. Not even a letter.
Big Ten Champs 2014
We have 24 hours to get out the rest of the OT threads for 2014, so lets get it out of our system.
But most importantly:
Also important: Please do not talk about this Tigers game... Like ever. Never again.
I'm sure a lot of us are in a fantasy league, so let's have some fun.
I drafted first overall in a 12-team snake draft.
QB: Tom Brady - NE
RB: LeSean McCoy - Phi
RB: Alfred Morris - Wsh
WR: Antonio Brown - Pit
WR: Percy Harvin - Sea
TE: Kyle Rudolph - Min
FLEX: Marques Colston - NO WR
D/ST: Denver Broncos
K: Robbie Gould - Chi (I thought about taking Nate Freese from the Lions for homer reasons, but this is less of a risk)
Nick Foles - Phi QB
Lamar Miller - Mia RB
DeAndre Hopkins - Hou WR
Steve Smith - Bal WR
Devonta Freeman - Atl RB
Jake Locker - Ten QB (I figured "why not?" that late in the draft, and if he does well enough I can try to trade him)
Travis Kelce - KC TE (I thought about taking Tyler Eifert from the Bengals, but I can't have TWO Notre Dame tight ends)
What do you guys got?
In news relating to everyone's favorite non-revenue sport (well, my favorite anyhow), the outlines of the 2015 schedule have been released. I say outlines because the tournaments we'll be playing in have been announced, but not the specific opponents/dates/times yet in terms of most of the non-conference slate. As usual, though, Michigan will be taking some challenging road trips including visits to FSU, Alabama, ASU, the Judi Garman Classic, and the lidlfter at USF.
Getting those challenging experiences in during the non-conference schedule will be, if anything, even more crucial than usual, as the Big Ten slate Michigan has been dealt is just dreadful. Michigan will only face one of the four possible opponents who made the NCAA tournament last year (the defending B10 Tournament champions, Minnesota, on the road) and only one other team that even cracked the top half of last year's B10, Ohio State, who turned in an uninspiring 30-25 (13-10) record last year.
After that, things get really ugly, as Michigan faces three sub-.500 teams from last year's B10 in Iowa, Indiana, and PSU. Michigan also draws both newcomers, making road trips to Maryland and Rutgers. Maryland turned in a horrendous 11-35 (7-16, 9th in the ACC) campaign littered with embarassing losses. Rutgers fared better, going 34-17 in the AAC, but their record was stained by a number of bad losses as well, and they missed the NCAA tournament.
All in all, things set up very well for a battle-tested Michigan team to make a run at yet another Big Ten title, on the strength of Romero's bat & three experienced pitchers. There's a lot to replace on offense, but a ton of talent as always!