U-M Utilizes Season-High High Bar to Down Penn State
Konner Ackerman

March 14, 2014

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #3 Michigan 439.20, No. 8 Penn State 432.30
Records: U-M (18-0, 11-0 B1G), PSU (13-2, 2-1 B1G)
Next U-M Meet: Saturday, March 22 -- vs. UIC (Crisler Center), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 3-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team collected a wire-to-wire win over the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions Friday (March 14) inside Cliff Keen Arena with a team score of 439.20 to Penn State's 432.30. Four different Wolverines secured individual-event titles, while U-M tallied a new season high on high bar with a 73.45 as the Wolverines remain undefeated on the season.

In the first rotation, the reigning Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, junior Stacey Ervin (Taylor, Mich./Truman), brought home U-M's first event win on the day with a 15.55. The junior nailed his double Arabian layout on his final pass to aid in the Wolverines scoring a 74.60 on the event.

In rotation two, senior Sam Mikulak (Corona del mar, Calif./Corona del mar) scored a new career high on pommel horse with a 15.50 for his first event title in his career on the apparatus in his final competition in Cliff Keen Arena. Classmate and captain Matt Freeman (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) took fourth on the event with a 14.85 as the Wolverines scored a 73.85 and led 148.80-135.60 after two rotations.

After a 74.25 on rings that featured a 15.30 from senior Jordan Gaarenstroom (Laguna Hills, Calif./Halstrom), the Maize and Blue moved to vault, where sophomore Konner Ackerman (Des Moines, Wash./Mount Rainier) earned the second vault title of his career with a Kasamatsu 2 1/2 for a 15.15, his highest score of the season. Mikulak followed with a 15.05 on the event to take fourth, as U-M scored a 72.85 and led by 6.85 points.

The Wolverines earned an event sweep on parallel bars, led by junior Nick Hunter (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) and his event-winning 14.90, but scored only a 70.20 on the event to open the door for PSU, which countered with a 73.30 on high bar to cut the U-M advantage to 3.75 heading into the final rotation.

However, the Wolverines answered the call in the final rotation on high bar with the season-best 73.45. Hunter led the charge once again for U-M with a 15.00 to take third, while Ackerman (14.90) took fourth to seal the win.

U-M finishes up regular-season competition Saturday (March 22) in with Senior Night inside the site of the 2014 NCAA Championships, Crisler Center, as the Wolverines play host to the UIC Flames. Meet time is slated for 7 p.m.

Team Standings FX PH SR VT PB HB Final
Michigan 74.60 73.85 74.25 72.85 70.20 73.45 439.20
Penn State 72.10 68.55 73.75 74.30 70.00 73.60 432.30

Event Winners/U-M Finishers

Anthony Stefanelli     14.85 (3)
Tristian Perez-Rivera  14.75
Hub Humphrey           14.80
Stacey Ervin           15.55 (1)
Sam Mikulak            14.65
Nick Hunter            14.75
Matt Freeman           14.85
Nolan Novak            14.40
Dylan James            14.35
Sam Mikulak            15.50 (1)
STILL RINGS (74.25) 
Matt Freeman           14.50
Jordan Gaarenstroom    15.30 (3)
Alex Bubnov            15.25
Colin Mahar            14.25
Sam Mikulak            14.95
VAULT (72.85) 
Anthony Stefanelli     14.60
Konner Ackerman        15.15 (1)
Paul Rizkalla Jr.      14.85
Tristian Perez-Rivera  13.20
Sam Mikulak            15.05
Mark Panhorst          13.15
Jordan Gaarenstroom    14.85 (2)
Tristian Perez-Rivera  12.70
Nick Hunter            14.90 (1)
Sam Mikulak            14.60 (3)
HIGH BAR (73.45)
Matt Freeman           14.10
Konner Ackerman        14.90
Stacey Ervin           14.75
Nick Hunter            15.00 (3)
Sam Mikulak            14.70
Sam Mikulak           89.450 (1)


• Michigan competed without senior co-captain Syque Caesar (rest).

• Four gymnasts set new career highs on the day: Mikulak on pommels, Gaarenstroom on parallel bars and Ervin as well as Hunter on high bar.

Sam Mikulak won the Newt Loken Award for his performance on pommel horse.

»  Beginning with the 2017 season, entry to regular-season home events will be free of charge.