U-M Goes 70-Plus on All Six Events to Win NCAA Qualifier
Rohan Sebastian

April 19, 2013

Photo Gallery  | Coach Golder & Sam Mikulak video icon (YouTube)

Site: State College, Pa. (Recreation Hall)
Event: NCAA Qualifier (Session 1)
U-M Team Result: 1st Place of 6 Teams (443.850)
Record: U-M (22-2)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 20 -- at NCAA Championships - Team and All-Around Finals (State College, Pa.), 7 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The No. 3-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team won the first session of the NCAA Qualifier on Friday afternoon (April 19) with a session-best 443.850. The team tally is the second-highest of the season for the Wolverines, who advance to the NCAA Team & All-Around finals on Saturday (April 20) at 7 p.m. in Penn State's Recreation Hall. Today's individual scores do not count toward Sunday's (April 21) individual event finals.

Following a bye in the first rotation, the Wolverines took to pommel horse, an event where U-M hit five routines and scored a 71.70 as a team. The Wolverines were led by junior Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif./ Corona del Mar), who notched a 14.85. He was followed by sophomore Adrian de los Angeles (Long Beach, Calif./ Millikan) with a 14.65 and junior Matt Freeman (Canton, Mich./ Plymouth), who anchored the U-M rotation with a 14.55.

In the third rotation on still rings, U-M notched a 75.30, its third-highest score on the event this season. Junior Alex Bubnov (Fanwood, N.J./ Scotch Plains-Fanwood) led off with a bang, notching a career-high 15.20. He was followed by junior Jordan Gaarenstroom (Laguna Hills, Calif./ Halstrom), who collected a 15.30. Both de los Angeles and senior Rohan Sebastian (Oklahoma City, Okla./ Bishop McGuinness Catholic) tallied 14.85s, while Freeman anchored with a 15.10.

In the No. 2 position on vault, sophomore Michael Strathern (Bartlett, Ill./ Bartlett) nailed his double-front for a 15.15 and was followed by Mikulak, who hit his Kasamatsu one and a half with a small step on the end for a 14.90. Sophomore Stacey Ervin (Troy, Mich./ Truman) provided another electric vault, hitting his double-front for a 14.95 as U-M collected a 74.00.

U-M's parallel bar performance on the afternoon stole the show, as the team set a new season best of 75.90. The Wolverines were paced by three competitors who broke the 15-barrier, as Caesar led the charge with a 15.60. Mikulak followed in the anchor position with a 15.50, while de los Angeles collected a 15.35 in the No. 4 spot.

Following a team 71.90 effort on high bar that was highlighted by a 75.05 from Mikulak, U-M closed out the afternoon on floor with a stellar 75.05. Three athletes in de los Angeles (15.50), Caesar (15.25), and Mikulak (15.10) all broke the 15-mark, while Sebastian chipped in with a 14.70.

De los Angeles, who entered the meet as the top all-arounder in the country, scored an 89.650, which was just .05 off his career best.

The nation's top 12 teams participated in the qualification round of the NCAA Championships. Six teams along with individual event and all-around qualifiers competed in each session. The teams competing with Michigan in session I were Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, and Air Force. The top three teams from tonight's qualifier also advance to the team and all-around finals.

Along with U-M, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 7 Illinois qualified for tomorrow's team finals. The final three teams will be determined after tonight's session II qualifier, which will be held at 7 p.m.

Team StandingsFXPHSRVTPBHBFinal
Air Force70.95067.05071.55071.45069.15067.750417.900

Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores

Nolan Novak            13.45
Dylan James            14.20
Adrian de los Angeles  14.65
Sam Mikulak            14.85
Matt Freeman           14.55
Alex Bubnov            15.20
Jordan Gaarenstroom    15.30
Rohan Sebastian        14.85
Adrian de los Angeles  14.85
Matt Freeman           15.10
Konner Ackerman        14.50
Michael Strathern      15.15
Adrian de los Angeles  14.50
Sam Mikulak            14.90
Stacey Ervin           14.95
Stacey Ervin           14.85
Nick Hunter            14.60
Syque Caesar           15.60
Adrian de los Angeles  15.35
Sam Mikulak            15.50
Michael Strathern      14.05
Nick Hunter            13.75
Syque Caesar           13.75
Adrian de los Angeles  14.80
Sam Mikulak            15.50
Rohan Sebastian        14.70
Syque Caesar           15.25
Adrian de los Angeles  15.50
Sam Mikulak            15.10
Stacey Ervin           14.50
Adrian de los Angeles  89.650


• Prior to today's competition, the U-M coaching staff was honored as the CGA Central Region Coaches of the Year.

• U-M's previous season best of p-bars was 75.60 and was set in a victory over California (Feb. 2).

• The meet served as the fourth time that U-M has scored 70-plus on all six events.

• This is the second straight season the Wolverines have won the first session of the NCAA Qualifier.


Michigan Head Coach Kurt Golder
On his team's consistency today in the qualifier ... "Consistent is not a word that we have. We haven't been consistent all year, but this is consistent with what did in the Big Ten Championships. This National Qualifier is definitely our highest percentage this year."

On the way he approached the five-up, five-count team lineup ... "It made [our team] more competitive, that's for sure. Making the lineup made the coach's decisions a little bit tougher when you have a deep team and you have your sixth, seventh, or eighth guys that are just as good as your fifth guy, getting everyone in is really hard to do. We did take a little bit more of a conservative approach. The goal is still to have everyone compete at their potential but sometimes you have to hold back just a little bit. If we weren't counting all of the scores, maybe we would have rolled the dice a bit."

On if he likes the five-up, five-count format better ... "I like that everything counts, so I like that part better. The guy who works really hard maybe could be an All-American but because their team is so good, they don't get an opportunity to compete, and they get to say for the rest of their lives that I didn't get to compete rather than I was an All-American. The five-up, five-count denies opportunities and I don't like that."

On lineup decisions entering the national team finals ... "We only had 13 compete [at the National Qualifier]. Again, they are fighting for spots in the lineup. Sam [Mikulak] on the still rings has a minor shoulder issue. He will probably go in tomorrow and someone else will come out at the end. We'll most definitely change the lineup."

On his team's use of ice packs post meet ... "Well, [icing is something we do] pretty much all year. You know, you get done with workout, you get done with competition, so it's just preventative. You drink your chocolate milk and get your ice bags on. Some will take some polar plunges; Sam, are you going to do one?

On how important Sam Mikulak has been late in the season ... "Well in the middle of the season, we had about three or four injuries where we were holding guys up, Syque [Caeser] was out a little bit, we had someone out with a broken toe, we held Sam out, we held Adrian (de los Angeles] out. Our scores took a little dip and then we made the final push and now were at the competition for [the NCAA Championship]. We have a stronger lineup and the guys are healthier than in the middle of the season."

On Adrian del los Angeles' performance and transformation throughout the year ... "He competed really well today. I think that last year he was just a little bit nervous, a little shell shocked, being a rookie and all. I think that he got a little underscored at a couple events at the Big Ten Championships a couple of weeks ago."

U-M Junior Sam Mikulak
On if their national qualifier performance was a typical performance for the team ... "I think as we have gone through the season, we been more confident and I think now our consistency is a little bit better."

On his consistency during the national qualifier ... "I think that the [first rotation] bye prepared us well for the pommel horse, which is a very nerve-racking event. From there, our mindset for the whole team was to be calm, not get too rowdy and to make sure that we are saving ourselves for tomorrow. Everybody's going to go into the gym tomorrow thinking that it's a practice day and we just have to do what we do in the gym."

On the team's attitude and how the team will get hyped up for tomorrow ... "The big hype, it's the national championship day. It's the day when we want everyone to feel like we have got the team on our back and knowing everyone's routines and just making sure that the energy is going to our benefit. We all have the same goal; we want a championship and we are going to do everything that we can [to win the National Championship]. With each other, we are just going to push and with our routines we hope to have no mistakes so that we can come back even stronger."

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