Weekly #7: U-M to Hit the West Coast to Go Up against No. 4 Stanford

Feb. 21, 2012

Sam Mikulak Interview | Coach Golder on WTKA

Sunday, Feb. 26 -- at No. 4 Stanford (Palo Alto, Calif.), 2 p.m. PT

The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (6-4, 2-1 Big Ten) returns to competition by heading west to take on the No. 4-ranked Stanford Cardinal on Sunday (Feb. 26) at Burnham Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif.

This dual will serve as the second time this season that the Wolverines have squad off solely against a single team, as U-M is 1-0 in meets of the sort after defeating then No. 1 Penn State 340.300-338.450 on Jan. 21. It is also the fourth time Michigan will face a top-five team (No. 1 PSU, No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Illinois).

About the Cardinal
Stanford enters the meet as the No. 4 team nationally with a 345.767 three-meet average and boasts a season-high score of 348.400. The Cardinal rank in the top four on pommel horse, still rings and high bar while manning down the top spot in the country on vault with a 59.183 score average. Individually, Eddie Penev ranks as the No. 2 all-arounder in the nation with an 87.717 average and is the top vaulter with a 15.40 and the No. 2 floor exercise performer with a 15.567 average, while Brian Knott is the No. 9 all-arounder in the country with an 83.100 average.

Mikulak Takes Second Straight Gymnast of the Week Accolade
Sam Mikulak collected his second straight Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award for his efforts against Ohio State, taking first on high bar (15.40), parallel bars (15.30), vault (15.30), rings (15.10) and floor (14.90), and winning the all-around title with a score of 90.00. The win on rings served as the first of his career and established a new career high on the apparatus. Additionally, he earned a third-place finish on pommel horse with a 14.00 in his second all-around performance of the season, and the all-around score marks the third time in his career he has eclipsed the 90.00 plateau.

Wolverines Knock off Ohio State, SUNY-Brockport with Season-High Score
Michigan used a season-high 345.700 to deal the Ohio State Buckeyes their first loss of the season and sweep all-six events on the night. Mikulak won five-of-six events, while sophomore Michael Myler won his first title on pommel horse with a 14.90 as the squad improved to 1-1 on the season against the Buckeyes.

Mikulak, de los Angeles earn Big Ten Honors
For their efforts at the Winter Cup, Sam Mikulak collected Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week for the first time of his career on Feb. 6; Thomas Kelley was the last Wolverine to collect the honor last season. Adrian de los Angeles was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the first time in his career; Mikulak was the last Wolverine to take the honor after earning the plaudit on four occasions last year.

Mikulak, de los Angeles Named to U.S. National Team
Michigan had a pair of gymnasts earn spots on the United States National Team after their performances at the Winter Cup Challenge, held Feb. 3-5 in Las Vegas. Mikulak earned his spot on the squad after placing in the top 10 in three of his four events, as he scored a 15.10 on parallel bars for a second-place finish. Additionally, he tied for seventh on rings (14.70) and marked a 13.95 on high bar for a seventh-place finish. Working his way back from injuries, he sat out floor and vault, two of his top events.

De los Angeles finished 10th in all-around competition with a finals score of 85.05. The freshman placed fifth on vault with a 15.75 and eighth on pommel horse (14.40) en route to earning one of three wild-card selections to the squad. Lastly, he placed 11th on parallel bars with a 14.35 tally.

Another freshman, Stacey Ervin, led all Michigan competitors with a 14.55 on floor, which tied him for sixth place on the exercise. He followed up with a 15.45 on vault, which tied him for 13th place.

Additionally, current administrative assistant Ian Makowse (2008-11) took part in the floor exercise (13.30, 27th) and the high bar, where he earned a 13.75 for a 13th-place finish.

From a Historical Standpoint
Last season on the very same date, Feb. 26, the Wolverines were defeated at home by then No.5 Stanford, 351.250-346.200 at Cliff Keen Arena. Mikulak led the way on high bar, winning the event with a 14.65, while Syque Caesar (13.95) took second on parallel bars in the defeat. The strongest team event of the night came on vault, as U-M counted five scores of 15-plus en route to totaling a 62.10 on the event, placed by Mikulak's third-place 15.85.

Michigan Knocks Off No. 1 Penn State
On Jan. 21, U-M claimed three event titles and the all-around -- senior Syque Caesar (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Lincoln Park Academy) in the parallel bars, sophomore Dylan James (Valencia, Calif./William S. Hart) in the pommel horse, and freshman Adrian de los Angeles (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) in the vault and his first career all-around title (83.700) -- en route to knocking off No. 1 Penn State, 340.30-338.45, in the home-opening dual meet of the season. The event titles marked the first event titles in the careers of James and de los Angeles, while the parallel bar win was the fourth in Caesar's career.

Facing No. 1 in Back-to-Back Weeks
The win over Penn State on Jan. 21 marked the first time since 2005 that the Wolverines squared off against a No. 1 ranked opponent in the regular season, and there was no let-up for U-M, as the squad will took on new No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Illinois the following week.

Eight Wolverines Make Collegiate Debut
At the Illinois Tri-Meet, freshman Reid Swanger(Austin, Texas/St. Andrew's Episcopal) became the eighth U-M freshman to debut in Maize and Blue, as he competed on vault. At the home-opening dual against No. 1 Penn State, freshman Paul Rizkalla(Westfield, N.J./Westfield) and freshman Taylor Harrower(Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman). At the Windy City, five Wolverines made their collegiate debuts. Adrian de los Angeles (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) appeared in the all-around, while Stacey Ervin (Troy, Mich./Truman) took part in the meet on floor, vault, and parallel bars. Mark Panhorst (Hanover Park, Ill./Glenbord North), took part in the pommel horse and parallel bars, while Nick Hunter (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) participated in parallel bars and high bar. Hub Humphrey (Kalamazoo, Mich./Kalamazoo) took part in the floor exercise, where he notched a 13.90.

Maize & Blue in the Golden State
The last time U-M competed in California was Feb. 27, 2010, a 361.400-352.150 loss to Stanford. Michigan competed at least once in the state in each season from 2006-2010.

Top 10 Individually
A list of Wolverines in the Top 10 nationally based on three score average

5. Sam Mikulak, 15.100
6. Adrian de los Angeles, 15.033

Parallel Bars
1. Sam Mikulak, 15.217

High Bar
4. Sam Mikulak, 14.717

6. Adrian de los Angeles, 84.417

Wolverines Ranked Seventh in GymInfo Rankings
Michigan enters week three of the regular season ranked No. 8 nationally after a three-event score of 341.700. Michigan is ranked No. 3 in the country on floor and No. 4 on parallel bars. Additionally, U-M is eighth on rings and seventh on vault.

1. Oklahoma
2. Penn State
3. Illinois
4. Stanford
5. California
6. Minnesota
7. Ohio  State
9. Nebraska
10. Temple
11. Air Force Academy
12. Iowa
13. UIC
14. Navy
15. Army

Caesar Earns Quartet of Medals at South Asian Championships
Syque Caesar made history for his native Bangladesh Dec. 31 at the fourth Central South Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championships, earning the first gold medal in Bangladesh international history.
Caesar won the parallel bars competition with a mark of 14.60, and took silver in the vault with a 14.25. He followed up his silver performance with a 13.525 on floor to collectively earn a bronze in the all-around competition.

New Team Captains
The squad will be headed up by tri-captains: sophomore Alex Bubnov (Fanwood, N.J./ Scotch Plains-Fanwood), sophomore Kevin Fraser (Austin, Tex./ Cedar Park) and Syque Caesar. Caesar served as a co-captain a year ago, while the captaincy honor is the first of Bubnov and Fraser's careers.

National, International Scene Popular Over Summer
Sam Mikulak was invited to compete in the Puerto Rico Cup, along with freshman Adrian de los Angeles. However, Mikulak suffered a pair of ankle injuries but still competed in the floor exercise, pommel horse and high bar. Despite the injury, he was still selected to be a member of the United States Senior National Team and enters the 2012 season 100 percent in terms of health.

A pair of incoming Wolverine freshmen were in action at the Visa Championships, as de los Angeles won the 16-18 age division, while Stacey Ervin finished second on the floor routine in the Junior 16-18 division.

Rohan Sebastian, a 2011 All-Big Ten selection, was accompanied by assistant coach Xiao Yuan and represented Ireland at the 2011 World Championships. Senior co-captain and 2011 Big Ten parallel bars champion Syque Caesar was accompanied by assistant coach Geoff Corrigan at the World Championships, where Caesar represented Bangladesh. It marked the third straight year a Michigan gymnast has competed at the World Championships (Sebastian, 2009; Chris Cameron, 2010).

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.

Saturday, March 10
-- at Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.), 7 p.m. CST