Weekly #12: U-M Looking to Defend National Crown This Weekend

April 12, 2011

Thu-Sat., April 14-16 -- at NCAA Championships (Columbus, Ohio), 7 p.m.
Live Results: Thursday | Friday | Saturday

The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team (12-5, 9-3 Big Ten) competes at the NCAA Championships this week, Thursday through Saturday (April 14-16), hosted by Ohio State in St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The top 12 teams in the nation were selected to compete in the NCAA Qualifier on Thursday (April 14). Divided into two sessions, the top three teams from each session qualify into the team and all-around Finals on Friday (April 15) at 7 p.m. Michigan will compete in the second session at 7 p.m. and be joined by No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 California, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 10 Nebraska, and No. 11 Iowa.

The top 10 individuals on each apparatus from the team and all-around finals session will qualify into event finals on Saturday (April 16) at 7 p.m.

ESPN2 will be filming the team and all-around finals and will be broadcasting the competition on tape delay Thursday, April 21, at 1:30 p.m.

Last year in West Point, N.Y. the Wolverines won the national title in an extremely close and exciting championship, besting the Stanford Cardinal by just seven tenths of a point. Chris Cameron won the all-around title, only the second Wolverine to do so in school history, joining 1963's Gil Larose in the record books. Michigan qualified seven individuals into event finals and claimed a program-record 13 All-America honors, including a 1-2-3 podium sweep on high bar, led by champion Ryan McCarthy.

Quick Hits
• U-M won the parallel bars in six out of seven dual-meet competition, and added another victory when Syque Caesar captured the Big Ten crown.

• The Wolverines won 29 out of a possible 43 events in dual-meet competition this season, including winning all six in the process of putting up a season-high score in victory at ASU on March 2 and five out of seven against Ohio State in the season finale.

Sam Mikulak has eight event wins in the past five meets, including winning the Big Ten all-around title.

Kelley Showing Senior Skill
Thomas Kelley has nine wins in 2011 and has a victory in four out of seven events -- all-around, high bar, parallel bars and still rings. Most recently, Kelley won the still rings against Ohio State.

Big Ten Runner-Up Again
Michigan placed runner-up to Illinois for the second consecutive year at the 2011 Big Ten Championships held Friday, April 1, in George Huff Hall at the University of Illinois. Sitting in fifth place for most of the competition after rough parallel bars and high bar rotations, the Wolverines came back strong in the final three rotations (PH, SR, and VT) and managed to move into second place. Despite the rough spots and tough runner-up finish, freshman Sam Mikulak won the all-around and seven Wolverines qualified into 12 event final slots.

Mikulak Crowned Big Ten All-Around Champion
Freshman Sam Mikulak won the 2011 Big Ten all-around title, the first freshman to do so since Ohio State's Drew Durbin in 1994. As far as records show, he is only the fourth freshman to complete this feat, the others being Minnesota's John Roethlisberger in 1990 and Michigan's Harley Danner in 1975. Mikulak was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year at the conclusion of the Championships.

Michigan Cleans Up in Big Ten Event Finals
Seven Wolverines qualified into 12 event finals slots: Rohan Sebastian (FX, VT); Sam Mikulak (PH, VT, PB, HB); Adam Hamers (PH); Andrew Vance (SR); Thomas Kelley (SR, PB); Syque Caesar (PB); Ian Makowske (HB). Wolverines made nine podium appearances (top-six finish); Caesar was the parallel bars champion, posting a 15.25, and Makowske was the high bar champion, posting a career-high 15.50. Five Michigan athletes, more than any other school, were named to the first-team All-Big Ten (top six in all-around and event winners): Kelley, Sebastian, Caesar, Mikulak, and Makowske

Smart Flippers
On Monday, March 28, 16 members of the men's gymnastics team were honored among 335 Michigan student-athletes at the annual Academic Awards Banquet. The award was given to individuals with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, or two consecutive terms of at least a 3.0 GPA. Furthermore, two gymnasts achieved perfect 4.0 GPA marks last semester.

2011 Season Captains
Caesar and Kelley were voted co-team captains by fellow teammates at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Social Media
Be sure to check out the men's gymnastics YouTube page [ YouTube page (UMGym) ] and [ Facebook page ] for competition footage and video highlights. Also follow us on Twitter [Michigan_MGym].

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