Weekly #10: U-M to Compete for Program's 16th Big Ten Title

April 3, 2012

Event Notes | Coach Golder on WTKA Insider

Fri-Sat., April 6-7 -- at Big Ten Championships (Carver-Hawkeye Arena), 7 p.m. CDT
Live Results | Championships Central

The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (7-6) returns to action to take on the rest of the conference at the 2012 Big Ten Championships Friday-Saturday (April 6-7) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Wolverines will look to improve on their second-place finish from a year ago at the event that will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. Michigan will play the role as hunter, as fifth-highest ranked team in the Big Ten, against No. 1 Penn State, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Minnesota, and No. 6 Ohio State.

From a Historical Standpoint
Michigan has won 15 Big Ten team titles, most recently coming in 2009 (share), and has captured three under head coach Kurt Golder -- in 1999, 2000 and 2009. U-M has never finished lower than fifth under Golder's guidance. The Wolverines have finished in the top two three years running and earned their highest team score in their championship history in 2010 when the squad notched a 358.150. In 2011, Sam Mikulak won the all-around competition as a freshman, while Syque Caesar won parallel bars and Ian Makowske won high bar. Additionally, Thomas Kelley and Rohan Sebastian earned first team All-Big Ten accolades.

Mikulak and Caesar are the only past Big Ten champs on the current roster.

U-M vs. Big Ten in 2012
• Defeated No. 1 Penn State (1/21) 340.300-338.450
• Lost to No. 2 Illinois (1/28) 349.800-339.100
• Defeated Ohio State (2/18) 345.700-334.200

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

9. Adrian de los Angeles, 14.661

6. Sam Mikulak, 15.060
10. Adrian de los Angeles, 14.750

Parallel Bars
2. Sam Mikulak, 15.133

High Bar
5. Sam Mikulak, 14.267

6. Sam Mikulak, 79.633
7. Adrian de los Angeles, 84.562

Ervin Claims Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week
On March 19, freshman Stacey Ervin was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week for the first time in his career and shared the award with Illinois' C.J. Maestas. He earned his first two career titles with career-high performances on floor (15.25) and vault (15.20). He rounded out his effort with a fourth-place finish on parallel bars with a 14.35 as the Wolverines downed the Flames (342.80-325.45) in the squad's final home meet of the season.

This is the first Big Ten award of his career and marks the second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor for the Wolverines, as classmate Adrian de los Angeles took the award on Feb. 6.

Wolverines Down Flames in 2012 Home Finals
On March 17 against UIC, freshman Stacey Ervin won the floor and vault competition with career highs, while junior Rohan Sebastian won the all-around with an 84.05. Sophomore Alex Bubnov took home the rings crown, while freshman Michael Strathern won the high bar competition.

Leading 287.050-270.850 heading into the final rotation, Michigan closed out the victory on high bar, where U-M claimed the top four spots in the event, as Strathern won the event with a 14.25 as the Wolverines notched a 55.75. The Wolverines competed without Sam Mikulak, who was competing at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships, and improved to 3-0 in meets when competing without Mikulak, including victories over SUNY-Brockport and Ohio State.

Mikulak Nabs Second Straight National Gymnast of the Week Award
On March 21, Sam Mikulak earned National Gymnast of the Week for the second straight week and the third time overall this season for his performance at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships. The honor is the fourth honor of his career.

Mikulak Leads Team USA to Gold at Pacific Rim Meet
Sam Mikulak won five individual medals and helped Team USA take home the team gold at the 2012 Kellogg's Pacific Rim Championships March 17-18.

The sophomore won a silver medal in the all-around competition on day one with a score of 88.65, just 0.05 behind teammate Chris Brooks (88.700). In the individual competition on day two, he medaled in all four events in which he competed, with two silvers and two bronzes.

Mikulak was the top American finisher on vault, taking second place with a 15.562 after landing his Kasamatu double and a front handspring double front. He earned another silver medal on high bar with a 15.175, executing his Kolman release move with a double twisting double layout to place second behind teammate Chris Brooks (15.450).

In addition, Mikulak added bronze medals on pommel horse (14.375) and parallel bars (14.625).

Seven Wolverines Named to Winter Academic All-Big Ten Squad
The Big Ten Conference office announced the 2012 winter Academic All-Big Ten team on Wednesday, March 28. Sixty University of Michigan student-athletes representing seven varsity teams were named to the academic squad. To be eligible for the distinction, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Seven gymnasts were named to the list.

Syque Caesar, Sr., communications, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Kevin Fraser, So., cellular and molecular biology, Austin, Texas
Matt Freeman, So., undecided/Literature, Science and the Arts, Canton, Mich.
Dylan James, So., movement science, Valencia, Calif.
Michael Myler, So., undecided/Literature, Science and the Arts, North Orem, Utah
A.J. Schottstaedt, So., cellular and molecular biology, Petaluma, Calif.
Rohan Sebastian, Jr., movement science, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mikulak Takes Home Third Big Ten Gymnast of the Week Honor
Sam 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 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./Glenbard 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.

Wolverines Ranked Eighth in GymInfo Rankings
Michigan enters the Big Ten Championships ranked No. 8 nationally after a three-event score of 343.400. Michigan is ranked No. 3 in the country on floor, No. 6 on vault, and No. 7 on parallel bars. Additionally, U-M is seventh on rings and seventh on sixth.

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

Fri-Sat., April 19-21
-- at NCAA Championships (Norman, Okla.)