April 11, 2014
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Event: NCAA Championships (Team & All-Around Finals)
U-M Team Standing: 1st of 6 Teams (445.050)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 12 -- at NCAA Championships - Individual Event Finals (Crisler Center), 7 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's gymnastics team captured its sixth NCAA title in front of the home crowd on Friday (April 11) at Crisler Center, becoming the first U-M program to win back-to-back national championships in 44 years. The Wolverines scored 445.050 to win the meet, spearheaded by another all-around national crown from senior Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif./Corona del Mar), who tallied 91.10 to claim the win for the second consecutive year and for the third time in his career.
Entering the team competition as the top seed, Michigan started on pommel horse in the first rotation, scoring a 75.10, its highest score of the season. Mikulak recorded a career-high score of 15.60 to lead the team, which tied for first place in the event. U-M also received strong performances by junior Nick Hunter (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) and senior Matt Freeman (Canton, Mich./Plymouth), who both notched 14.95 scores, earning them each a spot in the individual event finals, which will be held Saturday night (April 12, 7 p.m.).
For the second rotation, the Maize and Blue moved to the still rings, where they garnered at 73.20. Junior Paul Rizkalla Jr. (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) led off with a solid 14.70, while senior Alex Bubnov (Fanwood, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) and Mikulak each recorded scores of 14.75 as four Wolverines placed in the top 15 on the apparatus.
Mikulak, who has only had two scores below 15.00 on the vault all season, scored the highest overall mark in vault with a 15.30 in rotation three. Freshman Tristian Perez-Rivera (Caguas, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame) also turned in a top-10 performance for Michigan with a 15.05, which paced the Wolverines to a 74.20 total for the event.
Michigan moved to parallel bars to start the second half of the meet, where U-M once again flexed its muscles en route to receiving a meet-high 75.95 on the apparatus. U-M's fourth and fifth participants in the event aided the effort as graduate student Syque Caesar (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Lincoln Park Academy) scored a 15.20 to earn a place in the individual event finals. Closing out the rotation, Mikulak contributed a massive 16.05 to record one of his four top event scores on the night as U-M headed into the fifth rotation with a 298.450-294.000 lead over Oklahoma.
In the fifth rotation, U-M relied on the grit of Caesar, who contributed a top-five finish, scored a 14.85 to help give the Wolverines a 70.55 on the high bar. Despite starting his routine off with a fall, Mikulak recovered by executing an E-difficulty dismount to remain in the all-around lead by a little more than one tenth over Stanford's Akash Modi entering the final rotation.
In the final event, Michigan continued a season trend by turning in a dominant performance of 76.05 on floor exercise. In the fourth position, junior Stacey Ervin (Taylor, Mich./Truman) hit his routine to tie for seventh overall in the event with a 15.30. Mikulak once again anchored the event, recording a 16.05, the top individual score of the night on floor to help seal an all-around title, as well as the team victory for the Wolverines.
Mikulak, Freeman, Hunter, Caesar, Perez-Rivera and Ervin advance to the NCAA Individual Event Finals for placing in the top 10 in their respective events. The final day of competition begins Saturday (April 12) at 7 p.m. inside Crisler Center. Tickets are still available.
FLOOR EXERCISE (76.05) Hub Humphrey 15.15 Tristian Perez-Rivera 14.85 Syque Caesar 14.70 Stacey Ervin 15.30 (7t) Sam Mikulak 15.95 (1) POMMEL HORSE (75.10) Nolan Novak 14.85 Matt Freeman 14.95 (10t) Nick Hunter 14.95 (10t) Dylan James 14.75 Sam Mikulak 15.60 (1t) STILL RINGS (73.20) Paul Rizkalla Jr. 14.70 Matt Freeman 14.35 Jordan Gaarenstroom 14.65 Alex Bubnov 14.75 Sam Mikulak 14.75 VAULT (74.20) Syque Caesar 15.00 Paul Rizkalla Jr. 14.10 Tristian Perez-Rivera 15.05 (9) Konner Ackerman 14.75 Sam Mikulak 15.30 (1) PARALLEL BARS (75.95) Jordan Gaarenstroom 14.80 Stacey Ervin 14.85 Nick Hunter 15.05 Syque Caesar 15.20 (6t) Sam Mikulak 16.05 (1) HIGH BAR (70.85) Konner Ackerman 14.30 Stacey Ervin 14.25 Nick Hunter 13.80 Syque Caesar 14.85 (5) Sam Mikulak 13.35