Weekly #11: U-M Bound for NCAA Championships in Norman

April 17, 2012

Rohan Sebastian (YouTube) | Coach Golder Interview | Event Notes

Thu-Sat., April 19-21 -- at NCAA Championships (Norman, Okla.), 1 p.m. CDT
Live Results/Championships Central | Webcast: NCAA.com | Twitter Updates

The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan men's gymnastics team travels to the 2012 NCAA Championships Thursday-Saturday (April 19-21) in Norman, Okla., looking to improve on its fifth-place finish from last season. The event, hosted by the University of Oklahoma, will be held at the Lloyd Noble Center. The NCAA will broadcast the events live via NCAA.com, beginning on Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT. A Wolverine has won the past two NCAA all-around titles (Sam Mikulak, 2011; Chris Cameron, 2010).

Michigan begins its quest for its fifth NCAA title on Thursday (April 19), taking part in the NCAA team qualifier event at 1 p.m. CDT. The Wolverines will be grouped with Penn State, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa. Qualifier No. 2 will include the host institution Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Cal, Temple and Air Force.

The field is broken down into two sessions of seven rotations, six teams plus one rotation of individual event and all-around qualifiers. Michigan will be competing in session one at 1 p.m. CDT.

The top three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams will advance from each qualifying session to the team and all-around finals, to be held on Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. CDT. In addition, the top three individuals from each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor will also advance.

The top 10 individuals on each apparatus from Friday's team finals competition qualify into the event finals on Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. CDT. The top eight finishers in each event win All-America honors.

NCAA Champions in Michigan History

From a Historical Standpoint
Last year's NCAA Championships were highlighted by a team score of 356.200 to secure fifth place, while Sam Mikulak won the all-around competition with a 90.75 and tied for first on vault with a 16.35, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to win the national all-around crown and the third Wolverine to win it in program history. Guy Larose won the award in 1963, while Chris Cameron took the crown in 2010. Additionally, senior and current administrative assistant Ian Makowske tied for the high bar title with a 15.40, while Adam Hamers earned All-America status on pommel horse.

Michigan's last NCAA championship came in 2010 in West Point, N.Y., as the Wolverines won the national title, besting the Stanford Cardinal by just seven tenths of a point. Cameron won the all-around title, as 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.

Mikulak Becomes First Two-Time Big Ten Champion Since 2000
Mikulak took both the parallel bar (15.45) and high bar (15.55) titles to become the first since Michigan gymnast and assistant coach Scott Vetere in 2000 to win multiple titles (still rings, vault) at a Big Ten event. Mikulak also tied for third on floor with a 15.20, while sophomore Michael Myler tied for third on pommel horse with a 14.15 and freshman Stacey Ervin took third on vault with a 15.25. Both Mikulak and freshman Adrian de los Angeles earned All-Big Ten first team honors for their placing in all-around competition.

Mikulak's win on p-bars makes it two seasons in a row that a Wolverine has won the event, as Syque Caesar won the event in 2011. The win makes Mikulak the 22nd event champion on the apparatus in program history. Additionally, the sophomore's win on high bar marks the third championship in the past four years for the Maize and Blue, and second straight, as Ian Makowske won the event a year ago. Joe Catrambone won the title for Michigan in 2009.

Michigan Takes Second at Big Ten Championships
The Wolverines placed a pair of athletes in the top four of the all-around competition as sophomore Sam Mikulak took second (88.90) and freshman Adrian de los Angeles (86.35) took fourth to aid in the Wolverines securing a season-high team score of 351.850. The second-place finish behind Illinois marked the third straight year that U-M placed in the top two at the event. Additionally, the Wolverines, who entered the competition ranked No. 8 nationally, defeated No. 1 Penn State, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 5 Minnesota.

Mikulak won both the parallel bar competition (15.45) and high bar (14.85), while freshman Stacey Ervin took second on vault with a 15.20 and third on floor (15.20) in team competition.

Mikulak, de los Angeles, Ervin, sophomore Dylan James, sophomore Michael Myler and freshman Michael Strathern all earned spots in the individual event finals.

Back to Norman
The Wolverines return to Norman for the second time this season, as Michigan was defeated by the Sooners on March 10 by a 355.500-348.950 margin inside the Lloyd Noble Center. The highlight of the event for U-M came in the all-around competition, as Mikulak finished ahead of then-top all-arounder in the country and fellow United States National Team member Jake Dalton, 90.30-90.00, while as a team U-M set a season best on high bar (57.40).

The dress rehearsal for the NCAA Championships also marked the career debut for Michael Strathern, who scored a 14.55 on high bar and a 13.90 on parallel bars.

De los Angeles Selected to Compete at 2012 Osijek World Cup
Adrian de los Angeles was selected to compete at the 2012 Osijek World Cup April 26-30 in Osijek, Croatia. The competition is part of the International Gymnastics Federation's World Cup series and features individual event competition. The assignment was selected by the USA Gymnastics' Men's Program Committee.

Joining de los Angeles will be assistant coach Geoff Corrigan, as well as Cal head coach Tim McNeil.

Sebastian Returns to Home State
Junior Rohan Sebastian will return to his home state of Oklahoma for the NCAA Championships. Sebastian will be taking part in his third NCAAs and was a 2009 graduate of Bishop McGuinness High School. He trained locally at Bart Connor Gymnastics.

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

8. Adrian de los Angeles, 15.112

6. Sam Mikulak, 15.087
10. Adrian de los Angeles, 15.012

Parallel Bars
2. Sam Mikulak, 15.270

High Bar
4. Sam Mikulak, 14.712

5. Sam Mikulak, 87.050
7. Adrian de los Angeles, 85.725

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, 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 Sixth in GymInfo Rankings
Michigan is ranked No. 6 nationally after a three-event score of 343.637. Michigan is ranked No. 3 in the country on floor, No. 5 on vault, and No. 6 on parallel bars and high bar. Additionally, U-M is eighth on rings and ninth on pommel horse.

1. Oklahoma
2. Penn State
3. Stanford
4. Illinois
5. Minnesota
7. Ohio State
8. California
9. Temple
10. Nebraska
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.