Week #2: U-M to Begin Home Slate vs. No. 2 Stanford Saturday

Jan. 23, 2013

Notes Packet Get Acrobat Reader | Syque Caesar Interview
• Coach Golder: WTKA Wednesday | Thursday

Saturday, Jan. 26 -- vs. No. 2 Stanford (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Tickets | Live Stats | Twitter Updates | Maize Star Event/Giveaways

The No. 3-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (5-0), coming off a team victory at the Windy City Invitational (Jan. 19), opens up the 2013 home portion of its schedule Saturday (Jan. 26), as U-M welcomes the No. 2-ranked Stanford Cardinal (1-0) to Cliff Keen Arena for a 7 p.m. start.


Scouting Stanford
Stanford enters the meet ranked as the No. 2 team in the country, coming off a team score of 438.250 at the team's quad meet on Jan. 19 to finish ahead of No. 4 Oklahoma (433.450), No. 6 Cal (425.900) and No. 5 Nebraska (421.900) and scoring the highest team score on all six events in the meet.

Senior All-American Eddie Penev recorded his second consecutive all-around individual title of the season with a score of 87.200. The defending NCAA floor and vault champion earned second-place finishes on floor and parallel bars. Penev scored 15.60 on floor and 14.70 on parallel bars. His all-around score of 87.200 is the second highest in the NCAA this season behind Adrian de los Angeles.

Penev is currently ranked second in the NCAA on floor and third in the all-around with average scores of 15.650 and 86.200, respectively.

Last Year against the Cardinal
Last season, U-M was defeated by the Cardinal, 351.050-341.700, in Palo Alto, Calif. Sam Mikulak led the Wolverine effort with runner-up finishes on vault and parallel bars, while the 341.700 was a season-best road score for the Maize and Blue. Adrian de los Angeles scored a 87.10 on the all-around to lead U-M in the all-around competition.

The meet will serve as U-M's 'Maize Star' event, where all fans in Michigan gear will receive a Maize pom pom. Additionally, posters and schedule cards will be given away, and the entire U-M squad will be signing autographs following the meet.

Wolverines Capture 2013 Windy City Invitational Team Title
The No. 2-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team captured its first Windy City Invitational title since 2009 with a team score of 431.300 Saturday (Jan. 19) at UIC's Physical Education Building, defeating No. 1 Illinois and No. 4 Ohio State, each of which tallied a 427.750 to tie for second. U-M also outpaced Minnesota (425.750), Iowa (422.350), and UIC 401.600.

De Los Angeles Garners National/Big Ten Gymnast of the Week
Sophomore Adrian de los Angeles has beennamed College Gymnastics Association and NCAA National Gymnast of the Week as well asBig Ten Gymnast of the Week for his season-opening all-around title as the 2013 Windy City Invitational on Saturday (Jan. 19). He won his second all-around competition of his career at the Windy City with a score of 88.40 and set career highs on pommels, parallel bars and all-around. He went on to lead the Wolverines on three events, placing second on floor with a 15.25 and third on parallel bars (14.90) and high bar (14.50).

Highlighting the Windy City
Freshman Stacey Ervin won the vault competition at the Windy City with a 15.40, while sophomore Adrian de los Angeles (88.40) and senior Rohan Sebastian (86.75) took second in the all-around competition. Junior Matt Freeman had career highs on pommel horse (15.00) and still rings (14.75).

Ervin's score on vault leads the country, while de los Angeles and Sebastian rank No. 1-2 in the country in the all-around scoring.

Overview of the Wolverines Squad: Sophomore and Junior Heavy
After consecutive years of welcoming double-digit recruiting classes in 2011 and 2012, the Wolverines now have 20 of 24 members of this season's squad being either a sophomore or a junior.

The Wolverines will add four newcomers this season; they include freshmen Konner Ackerman, Adam Dean, Nolan Novak and sophomore Colin Mahar.

Both Ackerman and Novak made their NCAA debuts at the Windy City Invitational, Ackerman competed on floor and high bar, while Novak saw action on pommel horse.

U-M Tops Big Ten Preseason Poll; Ervin, de los Angeles named Gymnasts to Watch
Michigan was picked to finish first in the Big Ten in the preseason coaches' poll. A pair of sophomores in Adrian de los Angeles and Stacey Ervin graced the list as conference Gymnasts to Watch. De los Angeles' freshman season was highlighted by making the United States National team following the 2012 Winter Cup, while Ervin was an NCAA All-American on floor as well as vault in his initial campaign in Ann Arbor.

The last time the Wolverines were selected as the top team in the conference by the coaches was in 2010, when then-sophomore Syque Caesar was on the Preseason Watch List.

1. Michigan
2. Illinois
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
5. Minnesota
6. Nebraska
7. Iowa

Wolverines Ranked Third in GymInfo Poll
Michigan will enter week two of the 2013 season ranked No. 3 in the GymInfo national poll. In individual events, U-M ranks in the top five in four events in being No. 1 on floor, No. 2 on vault, and No. 4 on both rings and parallel bars.

U-M National Ranks (Average)
Floor, 1st -- 74.350
Vault, 2nd -- 74.050
Rings, 4th -- 72.550
Parallel Bars, 4th -- 71.450
Pommel Horse, 6th -- 70.750
High Bar, 11th -- 68.150

2013 GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll 
1. Penn State
2. Stanford
3. Michigan
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. Illinois
7. Minnesota
8. Iowa
9. Nebraska
10. California
11. Air Force
12. William & Mary
13. Temple
14. Army
15. Navy

Big Ten teams in italics
First-place votes in parentheses


Matt Freeman
Canton, Mich.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?

A: I am looking forward to the team being able to show what we are capable of. Our team is one of the most talented teams in the NCAA. Last season, we were a very young team and had a disappointing finish. The experience our team gained from last season and the hunger we have after having a disappointing finish will help us as we make a run for the Big Ten and NCAA titles.

Q: How will winning the Windy City prepare the team for a Big Ten, NCAA run?

A: Windy City started out rough for us on our first two events, high bar and floor. We were able to recover as a team and have a strong finish on the last four events. Being able to recover from our slow start showed some of the people new to the competition floor that falling on one routine or having a bad event does not mean we are out of the running to win. The competition does not end until the last person completes the last routine of the meet. Anything can happen in this sport, and Windy City has given us the confidence as a team to keep fighting until the very end.

Q: Talk about your individual performance and securing two career highs at Windy City...

A: It was great to be able to have a start to the season with two career highs. What helped me the most was that our assistant coach Geoff Corrigan told us during the week to not try to do anything special, just go out there and do what you have practiced. I tried to put as little pressure on myself as I could, have as much fun as I could, and stay loose the whole meet. This was the key to my success at Windy City. I was actually complimented after the meet by my parents' friends for the dancing we were doing in between rotations which helped keep the team be relaxed and having fun.

Q: Did you have new skills added in this year on your events? What are they?

A: Yes, I added new skills to high bar, rings and pommel horse. On high bar, I added a new release move called a Layout Jager. On rings, I added a back-uprise maltese and an azarian cross. I added a Tung Fe to my pommel routine.

Q: Who is the funniest gymnast on the team?

I would have to say Stacey (Ervin) is the funniest guy on the team. He is always dancing and has different voices that always makes everyone laugh, even the coaches sometimes. Having someone like Stacey on the team who can make people laugh helps out the team because he keeps everyone loose and having fun, which is important at competitions.

Michigan Men's Gymnasts in the 2012 London Olympics
Sam Mikulak represented Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, where he took part in the Olympic Team finals, competing on four events for the fifth-place Team USA squad, which notched a team total of 269.952.

Mikulak's top event was vault, where he took 10th overall and earned a 15.966. He began Olympic competition on floor exercise, where he collected a 14.600 to take 19th, and then tallied a team-leading 14.500 on pommel horse -- good for 16th. In his final event of the competition, Mikulak scored a 15.266 to take 12th on the event.

Additionally, as member of Team USA, Mikulak advanced to the event finals on vault with a 16.300 to qualify fourth. He added two other top-15 finishes -- on floor (12th, 15.366) and parallel bars (13th, 15.316).

He also added a 20th-place finish on pommel horse with a 14.333 and notched a 14.033 on high bar to take 43rd.

During the individual-event final of vault, Mikulak took fifth place. Mikulak, the lone American in the contest, earned a combined score of 16.050.

His first vault scored a 16.100 after a slight step to his left of his initial landing. On vault number two, he tallied a 16.000, after he stuck his landing cold. Initially, the score was enough to put him in third place, but he was eventually overtaken and finished fifth.

Syque Caesar was selected to represent Bangladesh in artistic gymnastics at the 2012 Olympic Games as he was selected by the Bangladesh Olympic Association. The invitation came after Caesar made history on Dec. 31, 2011, at the fourth Central South Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championships, where he earned the first gold medal in Bangladesh international history.

During that New Year's Eve competition, Caesar won the parallel bars competition with a score of 14.60 and was joined on the podium by Uzbekistan's Ruslan Irgashev, who took the silver medal (13.85), and India's Devesh Kumar, who won bronze (13.725). The Wolverine senior also took silver in the vault competition with a score of 14.25 and earned bronze in the floor exercise with a 13.525. His overall efforts on the meet resulted in a bronze medal in the all-around competition as well.

At the 2012 Olympics, Caesar, representing Bangladesh, scored a 13.70 on parallel bars to take 27th, and he was 29th on floor (14.666) and 50th on high bar (13.70).

Mikulak Has Skill Added to Code of Points
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) approved naming a pommel horse skill after 2012 United States Olympic team member Sam Mikulak, who became first gymnast to complete the skill at an official FIG competition. He performed what is now known as the "Mikulak" during the men's qualification round at 2012 Olympic Games in London. The skill was included in the FIG's 2013-16 "Code of Points" for Men's Artistic Gymnastics, published on Sept. 14.

The "Mikulak" is a double scissor with a hop from one end of the horse to the other. The skill begins with forward leg swings and half turn of the body but ends with backward leg swings. A typical scissor on the pommel horse is a skill where the gymnast performs a pendulum swing with both legs individually, changing sides of the horse at its peak.

The skill is valued as a D skill on a scale from A to F, with F being the most difficult. The 2013-16 "Code of Points" has three scissor skills for pommel horse bearing individual gymnast's names, all with a D value, and it does not have any other single leg scissor skills that have greater than a D value.

He is the second U-M gymnast in program history to have a skill with their namesake, as Wayne Miller (1966-68) had a skill named after him on trampoline, which is a double back somersault with one and a half twists in the first and one and a half twists in the second.

Michigan to Host 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced Thursday, Nov. 1, that the University of Michigan's Crisler Center has been selected as the site of the 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships. The three-day competition will be held at the newly renovated Crisler Center in April 2014.

This will be the third time the University of Michigan will play host to an NCAA men's gymnastics national championship. Michigan hosted the event in 1951 and 1971, with the latter being held at Crisler Arena.

Michigan has finished in the top six at the national meet in 13 of the past 14 seasons under Kurt Golder, including national championships in 1999 and 2010 and runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2009.

Ways to Follow U-M Gymnastics
For fans not able to attend meets this season, there are several ways to follow the Wolverines action this year. Your primary source for all things Michigan is MGoBlue.com, where recaps, features, schedules, and statistics can be found. Live stats will be provided for all home meets, as well as select away meets. Additionally, follow @umichgym for live updates at meets, and 'like' Michigan men's gymnastics on Facebook, where special content can be found throughout the season.

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