April 20, 2013
Site: State College, Pa. (Recreation Hall)
Event: NCAA Championships (Team & All-Around Finals)
U-M Team Result: 1st Place of 6 Teams (443.200)
Records: U-M (27-2)
Next U-M Meet: Saturday, April 21 -- at NCAA Championships - Event Finals (State College, Pa.), 2 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The University of Michigan men's gymnastics team captured its fifth NCAA title in program history Saturday (April 20) at Penn State's Recreation Hall. The Wolverines earned a 443.200 team score behind a 1-2 all-around finish from first-place winner Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif./Corona del Mar) and second-place winner Adrian de los Angeles (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan), who tallied a 91.150 and a 88.350, respectively.
U-M began its quest for championship No. 5 with a fantastic start on pommel horse in the first rotation, scoring a 72.25, its third-highest score of the season. U-M was led by Mikulak, who notched a 14.85, and junior Dylan James (Valencia, Calif./William S. Hart), who scored a 14.70. Mikulak's finish was good for fourth, while James took seventh to earn the pair a berth in the individual-event finals.
The Wolverines then busted out an outstanding second rotation, hitting all five routines on still rings. Junior Alex Bubnov (Fanwood, N.J./Scotch Plains) led off with a career-best 15.25, while classmate Jordan Gaarenstroom (Laguna Hills, Calif./Halstrom) followed with career best of his own (15.60) to advance to the individual-event finals as the second overall seed. Junior Mikulak sprinkled in a 15.25 to aid in U-M collecting a 75.80.
On vault in the third rotation, U-M was led by sophomore de los Angeles, who hit is Kasamatsu 1.5 for a 14.80, and classmate Stacey Ervin (Taylor, Mich./Truman), who completed his double-front with a slight step for a 15.05 and a berth in the event finals in the No. 5 position, as U-M tallied a 73.05 to head into the fourth rotation with a 221.100-220.650 lead over Oklahoma.
On parallel bars, U-M once again flexed its muscles with a 73.80 on the apparatus, senior Syque Caesar (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Lincoln Park Academy) scored a 14.90 to take fourth in the third position, while de los Angeles followed with a 14.80 to take eighth. Mikulak anchored the event with a stellar 15.40, as U-M led, 294.90-294.75, heading into the fifth rotation.
Following a 73.05 high bar set that saw Mikulak, the 2012 NCAA high bar champion score an event-best 15.65, and Caesar notch a 14.55 to tie for eighth, U-M carried a .50 lead into the final rotation, putting the Wolverines on floor, where they were ranked No. 1 in the nation, and Oklahoma on high bar.
Much like the entire season, the Wolverines excelled on the exercise, as four competitors qualified for individual-event finals. Senior Rohan Sebastian (Oklahoma City, Okla./ Bishop McGuinness Catholic) led off and scored a 15.20 to take sixth, while Caesar followed with a 15.25 to take fourth. De los Angeles manned the No. 3 spot and collected a 15.30 and took third, while Mikulak scored a 15.15 to take eight. Ervin anchored the event and provided a tense moment with two falls on his exercise, but the world-class difficulty resulted in a 14.35 to seal the team victory for U-M.
Mikulak, de los Angeles, Caesar, Sebastian, Ervin, Bubnov, Gaarenstroom and James advance to the NCAA Event Finals for placing in the top 10 in their respective events. The final day of competition begins Sunday (April 21) at 2 p.m.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
POMMEL HORSE Nolan Novak 14.05 Dylan James 14.70 (7) Adrian de los Angeles 14.35 Sam Mikulak 14.85 (4) Matt Freeman 14.30 STILL RINGS Alex Bubnov 15.25 (10) Jordan Gaarenstroom 15.60 (2) Rohan Sebastian 14.70 Sam Mikulak 15.25 Matt Freeman 15.00 Adrian de los Angeles 14.60* VAULT Konner Ackerman 14.40 Michael Strathern 13.90 Sam Mikulak 14.90 Adrian de los Angeles 14.80 Stacey Ervin 15.05 (5) PARALLEL BARS Stacey Ervin 14.70 Nick Hunter 14.05 Syque Caesar 14.90 (4t) Adrian de los Angeles 14.80 (8t) Sam Mikulak 15.40 (2) HIGH BAR Michael Strathern 14.40 Nick Hunter 14.25 Syque Caesar 14.55 (8t) Adrian de los Angeles 14.50 Sam Mikulak 15.65 (1) FLOOR EXERCISE Rohan Sebastian 15.20 (6) Syque Caesar 15.25 (4t) Adrian de los Angeles 15.30 (3) Sam Mikulak 15.15 (8) Stacey Ervin 14.35 ALL-AROUND Sam Mikulak 91.150 (1) Adrian de los Angeles 88.350 (2) * counts only toward all-around score
N O T E S
The national title is the fifth in program history (1963, 1970, 1999, 2010) and the third under head coach Kurt Golder (1999, 2010, 2012). Overall, it is the 55th in Michigan Athletics history, most recently the 2013 men's swimming and diving team.
Michigan has now had a gymnast win the all-around at NCAAs in three of the last four years (Chris Cameron 2010, Mikulak 2011).
The 1-2 finish by Mikulak and de los Angeles is believed to the first time teammates have finished 1-2 in the competition since the 1980s.
The all-around score of 91.15 is a new career best for Mikulak and the first time he has ever broke the 91.00-plateau.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Kurt Golder
Opening statement ... "Just great, great protector for Michigan. It's great to get two, swimming just got one a couple of weeks ago; this is just going to help us in the Directors Cup; this one is for Michigan and all our alumni."
On choosing to start on pommel horse ... "Yes we did, and we did that because I did it back in '99, and it worked. Also, it's the most difficult. So if you do have trouble, you've got five events to dig yourself out of the hole you just dug, but we didn't have trouble, so it was clear sailing. We had talked about it a little bit before, you know the night before, and that's what we did at the Big Ten Championships, and we won. That's what we did at prelims, and we won, so it wasn't much a need to change."
On what the gymnasts thought at the end ... "Well, we knew we were going off floor, and that's a very strong event for us, and you know high bar -- a lot of risks with the releases. It's not generally a very high scoring event for Oklahoma, so we had a team huddle before and said 'Hey, hit your sets, do what we do in the gym, and we'll come out on top.'"
On how the team is looking for next year as far as lost routines ... "Well, we're losing ring routine and floor routine by Rohan Sebastian, but we'll be real good. The main nucleus is coming back."
On the new rules and if it was discussed to still put up six ... "It will be again this year, it was discussed last year, and the reason we didn't go with six is we felt that some of the weaker teams will widen the gap, so it would kind of hurt some of the weaker programs, and we were trying to bring them up rather than push them down. So that was the main reason the rules committee decided to go with five."
On if the beginning of the year with the team injuries if that was ever a concern in the back of his mind ... "Definitely, definitely. That's why we rested a lot of guys and both these guys and a few others in the middle of the season. I did that so that we can get a little prey, get healed up a little bit and have a nice strong push at the end."
U-M Junior Sam Mikulak
On if he was watching scores during the last rotation ... "I wasn't, I was just focused on cheering on our team."
On what was going through their heads when Stacey missed ... "He's got start value, and I mean if anyone could mess up its him, he's done so much for our team throughout the whole season, and we had a good enough margin to still come off with the victory. As much as we would've liked to end on a very big exclamation point, which Stacey could've done, but sometimes it just happens, and we're so proud of him."
On how much special this second all-around title is ... "I mean, I haven't been counting it. It wasn't any type of goal I was trying to set, I just knew if I was hitting my sets, Adrian as well, hopefully -- we wanted that one-two finish -- and that's what we got."
On if he has enjoyed the last 12 months ... "Oh yeah, I mean it's definitely been a roller coaster, but I think for our team, everyone started peaking towards the end of the season, and that's exactly what we needed to do."
On how it feels compared to competing in the Olympics ... "Well, there's a lot more pride because with this team of brothers that I've been working with so hard every day in the gym. As much as going to the Olympics was an amazing experience with the senior national team, this is something that I haven't accomplished I guess, and this is the final accolade that I really was striving to get for my college career. From here on out it's just having fun, making sure everyone can push for that national championship next year as well. I mean this our goal, this is what we work for, and we accomplished it."