Weekly #9: U-M to Host No. 13 UIC Saturday in Regular-Season Finale
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MGOBLUE Adrian de los Angeles
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Adrian de los Angeles
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March 13, 2012

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THIS WEEK
Saturday, March 17 -- vs. No. 13 UIC (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
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The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (6-6) returns to home competition on Saturday night (March 17, 7 p.m.) to host the No. 13-ranked UIC Flames (2-12) in the squad's final home meet of the season inside Cliff Keen Arena. The competition will also serve as the final tuneup prior to the 2012 Big Ten Championship, which will take place April 6-7 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Rare but Successful at Keen in 2012
The Wolverines have only competed in two events at Cliff Keen Arena but hold a 3-0 mark at home after trouncing top-ranked Penn State, 340.300-338.450, on Jan. 21 and prevailing over Ohio State and SUNY Brockport on Feb. 18.

About the Flames
UIC is led individually by Dan Zerbel, who ranks No. 4 nationally on the floor exercise with a 15.133 average. Additionally, Lukasz Adamczyk is tied for ninth on pommel horse (14.078) and Joseph Hodges ranks 17th in the all-around with a 79.929 average to round out UIC's top-20 gymnasts in the national rankings.

As a team, the Flames are ninth on pommel horse (54.10), as well as 11th on floor (56.611), 12th on still rings (55.70), 13th on vault (57.167) and 14th on parallel bar (53.967) in the national event-by-event rankings.

From a Historical Standpoint
The Wolverines and Flames faced off once this year already, as UIC hosted the yearly Windy City Invitational on Jan. 14. The Wolverines collected a 338.70 team score at the meet to UIC's 327.20, defeating the Flames in every event with the exception of pommel horse, where UIC bested the Maize and Blue 53.90-51.90. UIC visited Ann Arbor on Feb. 19 of last season, with the Wolverines defeating the Flames 341.00-322.70. Current Wolverine Rohan Sebastian won the vault competition with a 15.75 to highlight the U-M effort.

Mikulak Taking Part in Pacific Rim Championships
The Wolverines will be competing at home for the second time this season without 2011 NCAA all-around champion Sam Mikulak, who will be taking part in the 2012 Kellog's Pacific Rim Championships Friday-Sunday (March 16-18) in Everett, Wash., as he will be representing the United States National Team in the international competition.

U-M previously competed without Mikulak at home against Penn State on Jan. 21 when the Wolverines knocked off the then-No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions, 340.30-338.45, in Keen Arena.

Last Time Out: Wolverines Fall on Road to Stanford
Sam Mikulak won three individual titles as well as the all-around competition in Michigan's 355.50-348.95 road defeat against No. 1 Oklahoma on March 10. Additionally, the Wolverines were paced on high bar by Mikulak (15.25) and Rohan Sebastian (12.70), who aided in U-M scoring a season-high 57.40 on the event.

Mikulak Takes Home Third Big Ten Gymnast of the Week Honor
Mikulak took home his third Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor for his efforts against No. 1 Oklahoma on March 12. The night saw the sophomore capture first in three events as well as the all-around in a 355.50-348.95 defeat against the Sooners.

His individual wins came on parallel bars (15.90), high bar (15.25) and pommel horse (14.60), and marked a season best in the all-around with a 90.30, defeating the nation's top all-arounder and fellow United States National team member Jake Dalton, who scored a 90.00.

Additionally, he took third on still rings (14.95) and floor exercise with a 15.20, as well as fourth on vault with a 15.60.

Facing No. 1
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. March 10 marked the third time on the season the Wolverines took on a No. 1 squad for the first time in program history, as the squad fell to Oklahoma 355.50-348.95.

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.

Rookie 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.

Ten Wolverines Make Collegiate Debut
At the Oklahoma dual, freshman freshman Michael Strathern (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) became the tenth Wolverine to make his collegiate debut this season. 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. Additionally, junior Garrett Hamers (Salem, Ore./South Salem) made his collegiate debut still rings on Feb. 25 against Stanford.

Top 10 Individually
Below is a list of Wolverines in the top 10 nationally based on three-score average:

Vault
7. Sam Mikulak, 15.060
9. Adrian de los Angeles, 14.750

Parallel Bars
2. Sam Mikulak, 15.133

High Bar
4. Sam Mikulak, 14.267

All-Around
3. Sam Mikulak, 79.633
7. Adrian de los Angeles, 84.643

Wolverines Ranked Seventh in GymInfo Rankings
Michigan enters week three of the regular season ranked No. 7 nationally after a three-event score of 345.450. Michigan is ranked No. 3 in the country on floor and No. 7 on parallel bars. Additionally, U-M is seventh on rings and seventh on sixth.

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

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.

NEXT TIME OUT
Fri-Sat., April 6-7
-- at Big Ten Championships (Iowa City, Iowa), 7 p.m. CDT

   

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