Two for Blue! Mikulak Captures NCAA All-Around Crown

April 15, 2011

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Site: Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
Event: NCAA Team & All-Around Finals
U-M Team Result: 5th of 6 Teams (356.200)
Records: U-M (16-11)
Next U-M Meet: Saturday, April 16 -- at NCAA Championships - Event Finals (Columbus, Ohio), 7 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Freshman Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif./Carona del Mar) captured the 2011 NCAA all-around title on Friday night (April 15) as the No. 6-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team placed fifth at the NCAA Team and All-Around Finals at St. John Arena. Stanford took home the team title with 363.450 points as 2010 champion Michigan was unable to defend, finishing with 356.200.

Mikulak is the second straight Michigan winner of the all-around crown, after Chris Cameron (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) won the all-around national title last season. Mikulak is also the first U-M freshman to ever top the national field in the all-around, and third-ever Wolverine to win the honor (Cameron, 2010; Gil Larose, 1963). It is also believed to be the first time in NCAA history a freshman has won the all-around crown. Additionally, with women's gymnast Kylee Botterman winning the NCAA all-around tonight, Michigan becomes the first school to win both the men's and women's titles in the same season.

Six teams, including No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 California, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Penn State and No. 6 Michigan, as well as six individual event qualifiers on each event and six all-around competitors qualified into tonight's team and all-around finals. The top 10 individuals on each event from tonight qualify into event finals tomorrow evening (Saturday, April 16) at 7 p.m.

Michigan began competition on pommel horse and after a clean leadoff, second-up Mikulak hit a strong set, scoring 14.40. Following two missed routines, fifth-up freshman Michael Myler (North Orem, Utah/Timpanogos) hit his routine with a shaky dismount to score 13.50. Last up, redshirt junior Adam Hamers hit a nearly flawless routine with good extension on his circles, posting the highest score for the team with a 14.95.

The Wolverines moved to the rings for the second rotation. Second up, freshman Alex Bubnov (Fanwood, N.J./ Scotch Plains-Fanwood) followed a good leadoff routine and hit a strength-packed set, sticking his dismount in a perfect power stance to tie his career high (14.65). Next up, Mikulak hit his best routine of the season, showing off his dynamic swinging ability to post a career-high 14.90. The next two athletes cleaned up the event with a pair of 15.00 scores from Cameron and redshirt junior Andrew Vance (Plymouth, Mich./ Catholic Central).

Moving to the vault for the third rotation, the team stood up six vaults. Senior Steve Crabtree (Perrineville, N.J./ Notre Dame Prep) stuck his double twisting vault to score a career-high 15.85 and last-up Mikulak nailed his 7.0 difficulty triple full vault, taking a medium step back and scoring an impressive 16.35. After three rotations, Michigan was seated in fourth place with a 179.300, while Illinois was leading the way with a 183.300.

Next, the team went to the parallel bars for the fourth rotation. First up, senior Devan Cote (Hollis, N.H./ Hollis-Brookline) hit a solid routine to score a season-high 14.30. The next two routines struggled with minor errors and then fourth-up Cameron hit a high amplitude set for the second night in a row, scoring a 14.80. Last up, Mikulak bobbled his dismount, landing after a strong routine to post the high score for the team, 15.00. After four rotations, the all-around race was extremely tight with Mikulak seated in fourth, back 1.35 from first, but the top four all-arounders still had to compete on pommel horse.

In the fifth rotation, the Wolverines took to the high bar. After a clean first set, the next three athletes struggled until fifth-up Mikulak hit his routine, scoring a 14.45. Last up, senior Ian Makowske (Redding, Conn./ Joel Barlow) nailed his routine, including his trademarked skill that he invented and finished with a stuck dismount to score a team-high 15.40.

The Wolverines came to the floor exercise for the final event of the night. First up, senior Ben Baldus-Strauss (Wheaton, Ill./ Wheaton Warrenville South), in his final routine for the block 'M,' made it through his set with slight trouble on his second pass but managed to score a season-high 14.75 as he raised his hand in salute to the Michigan cheer section. Third up, sophomore Rohan Sebastian (Oklahoma City, Okla./ Bishop McGuinness Catholic) posted a 14.85. Fifth up, Makowske nailed his routine with clean execution to score a 15.30. Last up, Mikulak, only needing a 15.05 to overtake Illinois' Mizoguchi for the all-around title, hit one of his top floor performances of the season to secure the all-around title with a 15.65.

Three Wolverines qualified into tomorrow's event finals competition: Mikulak on floor, vault, and parallel bars; Hamers on pommel horse; and Makowske on high bar.

Team StandingsFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
Penn State59.35056.40061.70062.15057.90058.200355.700

Event-By-Event U-M Individual Scores

Ben Baldus-Strauss  14.75
Chris Cameron       14.60
Rohan Sebastian     14.85
Thomas Kelley       13.90
Ian Makowske        15.30
Sam Mikulak         15.65 (5)
Alex Bubnov         13.25
Sam Mikulak         14.40
Chris Cameron       12.65
Devan Cote          13.20
Michael Myler       13.50
Adam Hamers         14.95 (3)
Thomas Kelley *     12.30
Rohan Sebastian     14.45
Alex Bubnov         14.65
Sam Mikulak         14.90
Chris Cameron       15.00
Andrew Vance        15.00
Thomas Kelley       14.80
Alex Bubnov         15.55
Thomas Kelley       15.30
Steve Crabtree      15.85
Rohan Sebastian     14.95
Ben Baldus-Strauss  15.75
Sam Mikulak         16.35 (t1)
Chris Cameron *     14.05
Devan Cote          14.30
Steve Crabtree      13.25
Thomas Kelley       13.65
Chris Cameron       14.80
Syque Caesar        14.40
Sam Mikulak         15.00 (9)
Devan Cote          14.00
Ben Baldus-Strauss  13.50
Chris Cameron       14.00
Thomas Kelley       13.75
Sam Mikulak         14.45
Ian Makowske        15.40 (t1)
Sam Mikulak         90.75 (1)
Chris Cameron       85.10
Thomas Kelley       83.70
* Denotes All-Around Exhibition
() Top 10 make event finals

• Previous Results: NCAA Qualifier (April 14)