Maize & Blue to Entertain No. 10 Nebraska Saturday Night
MGOBLUE Dylan James
MGOBLUE
Dylan James
MGOBLUE

Feb. 5, 2014

Notes Packet | Sixth-Year Stories: Nebraska Weekend
Syque Caesar on WTKA Insider audio

THIS WEEK
Saturday, Feb. 8 -- vs. No. 10 Nebraska (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Tickets | Live Scoring | Twitter Updates

The No. 2-ranked University of Michigan Wolverine men's gymnastics team (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) -- the defending NCAA and Big Ten champion -- will host No. 10 Nebraska on Saturday night (Feb. 8) at 7 p.m. from Cliff Keen Arena. The Cornhuskers are coming off a pair of defeats after a 420.700, falling to Minnesota (435.000) and Illinois (432.700) in a tri-meet in Minneapolis on Feb. 1.

Michigan is off to a 9-0 start for the second straight season.

Last Time Against the Cornhuskers
The meeting will be the first dual meet between the two schools in program history and the first regular-season meeting since 2002, as the Wolverines competed against both the Cornhuskers and Oklahoma Sooners on Feb. 2, 2002. In the meet that was held in Norman, Okla., U-M defeated Nebraska and fell to Oklahoma with a team score of 208.450.

About Nebraska
The Cornhuskers enter the meet with a season-average team score of 421.683 and are No. 7 in the country on two events, pommel horse (69.400) and still rings (72.767). Individually, Robbie Kocks is the lone gymnast ranked in the top 10 on any event, as he is No. 7 on still rings with a three-event score of 15.217.

U-M Knocks off No. 4 Ohio State
U-M scored a season-best 444.75 and set season event highs on pommel horse (74.75), still rings (75.10) and high bar (72.75) in a defeat of the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (440.80) on Feb. 1 inside Cliff Keen Arena. The meet also served as the NCAA championship banner event, as captains Syque Caesar and Matt Freeman unveiled the national-title banner prior to the rivalry meet.

Sam Mikulak captured a pair of event titles (floor, pommel horse), while de los Angeles won the all-around competition with a season-high 88.20. U-M has now defeated the Buckeyes seven straight years in dual meets.

Stanford Open Champs
No. 2 Michigan captured the team title at the Stanford Open with a team tally of 433.050 on Jan. 25. The U-M effort was strong enough to knock off No. 6 Cal, which took second with a 430.300, while No. 4 Stanford took third with a 429.00. Washington, a club team, came in fourth with a 363.65.

On the meet, U-M collected a pair of event titles, as Tristian Perez-Rivera (15.55) won floor, and de los Angeles took vault (15.30).

U-M Opens Season with Windy City Title
U-M began the 2014 regular season with a comeback victory, trailing by .70 heading into the sixth rotation -- and scored a 74.95 on rings to capture the 44th Windy City Invite title Saturday (Jan. 18) at UIC with a team score of 437.500, besting Illinois and Ohio State, as well as Minnesota, Iowa and UIC. De los Angeles won parallel bars with a 15.15 and also placed third on floor exercise with a 14.80 to lead the Wolverine effort. U-M competed without Mikulak, who was training with the United States National Team in Beijng, China.

Nick Hunter set a pair of career highs in the meet, besting his previous parallel bar score with a 15.10, and his high bar score with a 14.75. Stacey Ervin also set a new high score on high bar (14.55), while Alex Bubnov got off to a hot start with a career best on still rings (15.40).

New Team Captains
The 2014 squad will be headed up by co-captains in graduate season Syque Caesar and senior Matt Freeman. Caesar will captain the squad for the third consecutive season, while the honor is the first of Freeman's career.

Overview of the Wolverines Squad: Loads of Firepower, Upper Class Heavy
After consecutive years of welcoming double-digit recruiting classes in 2011 and 2012, the Wolverines now have 18 of 25 members of this season's squad being either a junior or senior. Three freshmen and three sophomores comprise the underclassmen, while the squad features 11 juniors, seven seniors and one graduate student.

With junior Michael Strathern redshirting and the graduation of lineup mainstay Rohan Sebastian for a year ago, U-M returns 26-of-30 (in a six-up, six-count format) routines in terms of lineup regulars from the powerhouse 2013 squad.

Wolverines Ranked No. 2 in Gym Info Poll, Unanimous Preseason No. 1
Michigan entered the 2014 season as the unanimous choice for the top spot in the 2014 Preseason GymInfo Poll. Michigan earned all 11 first-place votes to mark the first time in the history of the poll (since 2002) that a team has been tabbed a unanimous No. 1.

Following week one of competition, U-M sits at No. 2 in the recent edition of the poll behind Oklahoma, while this week's opponent Nebraska comes in at No. 10.

2014 GymInfo Coaches' Poll
1. Oklahoma
2. MICHIGAN
3. Ohio State
4. Illinois
5. Stanford
6. Minnesota
7. California
8. Penn State
9. Air Force Academy
10. Nebraska
11. Army
12. Navy
13. Temple
14. Springfield
15. Washington

Event Rankings
2. Team (438.367)
2. Floor (74.350)
2. Pommel Horse (72.933)
1. Still Rings (74.633)
1. Vault (73.917)
2. Parallel Bars (73.033)
6. High Bar (69.500)

Individual Rankings
Three-event averages

Floor Exercise
7. Tristian Perez-Rivera (15.017)
8. Adrian de los Angeles (14.967)

Pommel Horse
9. Matt Freeman (14.717)

Still Rings
6. Alex Bubnov (15.250)
9. Jordan Gaarenstroom (15.117)

Vault
2. Adrian de los Angeles (15.133)
4. Syque Caesar (15.050)

Parallel Bars
1. Syque Caesar (15.183)

High Bar
6. Nick Hunter (14.550)

Wolverines Top Big Ten Poll; James, de los Angeles Named Gymnasts to Watch
The No. 1-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team was unanimously selected to finish first in the Big Ten, the conference announced Thursday (Dec. 12) with the release of the preseason coaches' poll. U-M earned two on the Gymnast to Watch list in senior Dylan James, a 2013 NCAA All-American on pommel horse, and junior Adrian de los Angeles, 2013 NCAA All-Around runner-up.

James, who earned his first career All-America citation after taking sixth on pommel horse, looks to lead a unit that finished last season ranked as the No. 4 pommel horse team in the country. De los Angeles, a member of the most dynamic all-around combination in the country along with two-time NCAA all-around champion Sam Mikulak, is coming off a season where he earned three CGA National Gymnast of the Week honors and All-Big Ten first team honors in addition to his All-America citation in the all-around competition.

This is the second straight season that the Wolverines have earned top billing in the conference poll.

2013 PRESEASON COACHES POLL RANKINGS
1. MICHIGAN
2. Ohio State
3. Illinois
4. Penn State
5. Minnesota
6. Iowa
7. Nebraska

Mikulak Entered in American Cup
Sam Mikulak has accepted an invitation to represent the United States at the 2014 AT&T American Cup, scheduled for Saturday, March 1, 2014, at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Complex.

Mikulak finished sixth in the all-around and fourth on the horizontal bar at the 2013 World Championships. He enjoyed an incredible 2013, winning the all-around crown at the Big Ten Championships, NCAA National Championships and the P&G Championships. He also claimed the parallel bars and high bar titles at both the NCAA Nationals and P&G Championships. Mikulak was a member of the U.S. Men's Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, where he competed in the vault finals.

Invitations to compete in the AT&T American Cup are based on performances at the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships. The international field is expected to be announced in early 2014. The American Cup became a FIG World Cup event in 2011 and is part of the FIG's all-around World Cup series.

Standout Trio Signs with Michigan for 2014-15 Season
A trio standout student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday (Nov. 20) for the 2014-15 season.

The class, hailed as the top class in the country by StickItMedia.com, features 2013 United States junior P&G All-Around champion Dmitri Belanovski (Milwaukee, Wis./Nathan Hale), 2013 Junior Olympic All-Around champion Marvin Kimble(Milwaukee, Wis./Hamilton) and 2013 United States junior P&G floor exercise champion Marty Strech (Fountain Valley, Calif./Communications Academy).

Marvin Kimble
Prep ... First-place finishes include, 2013 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships (AA, FX, PH, SR, PB, HB), 2012 Visa Championships (AA, FX, SR, PB, HB), 2012 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships (AA, PB, HB), 2011 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships (SR) ... Selected to the first team at the 2012 Kellogg's Pacific Rim Championships and the 2012 USA vs. Canada Junior Team Competition ... Took second on high bar at the 2013 Kyle Shewfelt Festival, as well as third on pommels and fourth in the all-around competition.

Personal ... Born Oct. 27, 1995 ... Attends Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy with fellow signee Dmitri Belanovski ... Also coached by Belanovski's father, Alexander ... Favorite event is high bar.

Dmitri Belanovski
Prep ... Took first place in the all-around competition at the 2013 P&G Championships, as well as second on still rings and parallel bars ... Also placed first on the still rings at the 2013 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships, as well as second in the all-around, floor exercise and high bar.

Personal ... Born April 19, 1995 ... Father, Alexander, serves as personal coach ... Club gym is Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy ... From Minsk, Belarus ... Attained U.S. Citizenship on April 19, 2013 ... Attended Nathan Hale High School ... Sister, Polina, is also a gymnast.

Marty Strech
Prep ... Placed first on the floor exercise in the 2013 P&G Championships ... Took fourth place on vault in the 2013 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships ... First place on the pommel horse at the 2012 Visa Championships ... Placed first in the all-around at the 2011 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships ... Placed first on the high bar at the 2010 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships ... Took first in the all-around competition and on vault at the 2013 Kyle Shewfelt Festival, as well as second on floor and high bar ... Placed fifth on floor at the 2013 International Junior Gymnastics Competition.

Personal ... Born April 18, 1997 ... Coached by Eduard Azarian of Azarian U.S. Gymnastics Training Center ... Dad, Martin, was a wrestler.

Mikulak Earns World Finalist Distinction in Antwerp
Sam Mikulak took sixth in the all-around competition at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, scoring an 88.548. His top score on the night came on floor with a 15.366 while also nailing a 15.200 on parallel bars. Due to his nearly flawless performance on high bar during day one of qualifying (15.366), he earned a berth on high bar event finals on the final day in Antwerp, where he took fourth overall after scoring a 15.566.

Mikulak Striving for Best Ever
With 13 All-America citations and five NCAA individual championships to his name heading into his senior season, Sam Mikulak is prepared to stake his claim for the best NCAA gymnast ever. The senior trails Illinois great Joe Giallombrado (seven) as well as Ohio State's Blaine Wilson, Oklahoma's Jonathan Horton and Steve Legendre (six) for the most NCAA titles in a single career. He trails Horton (16) in terms of All-America citations, while Giallombardo owns 14 All-America citations.

U-M to Host 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Championships
Tickets for the 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, hosted by the University of Michigan, went on sale to the general public Nov. 13. The nation's top collegiate gymnasts will travel to Ann Arbor to compete for individual and team glory Thursday through Saturday, April 10-12, at Crisler Center. The host Wolverines will look to defend their 2013 NCAA crown in front of their home fans.

All-session tickets are $28 for adults and $20 for youth (age 18 and younger) and seniors (age 55 and older). Single-session passes are $10 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors.

Groups of 10 or more of any age will be eligible for a discounted single-session rate of $5 per ticket.

Tickets may be purchased online at MGoBlue.com/tickets, over the phone (734-764-0247 or toll-free 866-296-MTIX), or in person at the Michigan Athletics Ticket Office, located in the Marie Hartwig Building at 1100 South State Street in Ann Arbor.

The NCAA Championships will begin on Thursday with two qualifying sessions, scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m. The team finals and all-around competition will be held on Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday's individual event finals will get underway at 7 p.m.

This will be the third time U-M has hosted a men's gymnastics national championship. Michigan also hosted the event in 1951 and 1971, with the latter held at Crisler. Overall, the last time U-M hosted and won an NCAA championship was in 1958, as men's swimming took home the NCAA title.

2013 In Review
The 2013 Michigan men's gymnastics team captured the fifth NCAA championship in program history and 16th Big Ten title en route to a 27-2 overall record on the season. The NCAA title is the third for Michigan head coach Kurt Golder, who was in his 17th season at the helm of the Wolverine program.

Led by 2012 United States Olympian Sam Mikulak, who compiled six NCAA All-America citations and a trio of NCAA titles (all-around, high bar, parallel bars), U-M earned a total of 13 team All-America citations to tie the most in program history. Along with Mikulak, Rohan Sebastian, Syque Caesar (3), Dylan James, Adrian de los Angeles (2) took home citations.

The six citations are the most in a single championship for any Wolverine ever, highlighted by the third-highest high bar score in NCAA history in the event finals (16.10). He also became the first Wolverine in program history to win both parallel bars and high bar in the same season. The margin of victory of 443.200-440.100 over second-place Oklahoma is the largest victory margin in 29 years.

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 results 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. New to the 2014 season is the teams Instagram account, @umichgym.

NEXT UP
Thu-Sat., Feb. 20-22 -- at Winter Cup Challenge (Las Vegas, Nev.), 6:30 p.m./7:15 p.m. MST

Contact: Scott Kemps (skemps@umich.edu)

   

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