Dec. 5, 2012
Friday, Dec. 7 -- host Maize & Blue Intrasquad (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
The University of Michigan men's gymnastics team will begin the 2013 season with the annual Maize & Blue Invitational on Friday (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m. in Cliff Keen Arena.
The Maize squad will feature fifth-year senior Syque Caesar (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Lincoln Park Academy), who competed for Bangladesh in the 2012 Olympics, as well as sophomore Adrian de los Angeles (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan), who was a member of the 2012 All-Big Ten first team.
The Blue team is highlighted by 2012 United States Olympian and the defending NCAA high bar champion in junior Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif./Carona del Mar), who also tied for runner-up in the all-around competition at the 2012 NCAA Championships and was an All-American in the parallel bars. He is joined by sophomore Stacey Ervin (Taylor, Mich./Truman), who was an All-American on the floor exercise and vault last season.
Admission to the event is free for all spectators and an autograph session will be held following the meet.
New Team Captains
The 2013 Wolverine squad will be headed up by co-captains: seniors Rohan Sebastian (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness Catholic), and Syque Caesar. Caesar served as a co-captain two years ago and a tri-captain last season, while the captaincy honor is the first of Sebastian's career.
Overview of the Wolverines Squad: Sophomore and Junior Heavy
After consecutive years of welcoming double-digit recruiting classes in 2011 and 2012, the Wolverines now have 19 of 27 members of this season's squad being either a sophomore or a junior.
The Wolverines will add four newcomers this season, they include: Konner Ackerman (Des Moines, Wash./Mount Rainier), Adam Dean (Rochester, Mich./Rochester), Matt Lee (Johnson City, Tenn./University School) and Nolan Novak (Albuquerque, N.M./Valley).
Wolverines Ranked Second in GymInfo Poll
Michigan will enter the 2013 season ranked No. 2 in the GymInfo national poll. The Wolverines earned a pair of first-place votes. Illinois tops the poll at with six first-place votes, while perennial powerhouse Oklahoma ranks third with two first-place votes.
Penn State debuts in the poll ranked No. 4 and received a trio of first-place votes to round out the top four spots. The poll sported a strong Big Ten flavor, as conference members Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa rank No. 7-10, respectively.
The Wolverines will host No. 5 Stanford in their first home meet of the season on Saturday, Jan. 26, and then welcome No. 8 California on Saturday, Feb. 2. A meet against No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday, March 9, will cap off the home season against top-10 ranked opponents. All three events will be held in Cliff Keen Arena.
2013 GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Illinois (6)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Oklahoma (2)
4. Penn State (3)
5. Stanford (2)
8. Ohio State
11. Air Force
14. William & Mary
Big Ten teams in italics
First-place votes in parentheses
Michigan Men's Gymnasts in the 2012 London Olympics
Sam Mikulak represented Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, where he took part in the Olympic Team finals, competing on four events for the fifth-place Team USA squad, which notched a team total of 269.952.
Mikulak's top event was vault, where he took 10th overall and earned a 15.966. His began Olympic competition on floor exercise, where he collected a 14.600 to take 19th, and then tallied a team-leading 14.500 on pommel horse, which was good for 16th. In his final event of the competition, Mikulak scored a 15.266 to take 12th on the event.
Additionally, as member of Team USA, Mikulak advanced to the event finals on vault with a 16.300 to qualify fourth. He added two other top-15 finishes -- on floor (12th, 15.366) and parallel bars (13th, 15.316). He also added a 20th-place finish on pommel horse with a 14.333 and notched a 14.033 on high bar to take 43rd.
During the individual-event final of vault, Mikulak took fifth place finals. Mikulak, the lone American in the contest, earned a combined score of 16.050.
His first vault scored a 16.100 after a slight step to his left of his initial landing. On vault number two, he tallied a 16.000, after he stuck his landing cold. Initially, the score was enough to put him in third place, but he was eventually overtaken and finished fifth.
Syque Caesar was selected to represent Bangladesh in artistic gymnastics at the 2012 Olympic Games as he was selected by the Bangladesh Olympic Association. The invitation came after Caesar made history on Dec. 31, 2011, at the fourth Central South Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championships, where he earned the first gold medal in Bangladesh international history.
During that New Year's Eve competition, Caesar won the parallel bars competition with a score of 14.60 and was joined on the podium by Uzbekistan's Ruslan Irgashev, who took the silver medal (13.85), and India's Devesh Kumar, who won bronze (13.725). The Wolverine senior also took silver in the vault competition with a score of 14.25 and earned bronze in the floor exercise with a 13.525. His overall efforts on the meet resulted in a bronze medal in the all-around competition as well.
At the 2012 Olympics, Caesar, representing Bangladesh, scored a 13.70 on parallel bars to take 27th, and he was 29th on floor (14.666) and 50th on high bar (13.70).
Mikulak Has Skill Added to Code of Points
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) approved naming a pommel horse skill after 2012 United States Olympic team member Sam Mikulak, who became first gymnast to complete the skill at an official FIG competition. He performed what is now known as the "Mikulak" during the men's qualification round at 2012 Olympic Games in London. The skill was included in the FIG's 2013-16 "Code of Points" for Men's Artistic Gymnastics, published on Sept. 14.
The "Mikulak" is a double scissor with a hop from one end of the horse to the other. The skill begins with forward leg swings and half turn of the body but ends with backward leg swings. A typical scissor on the pommel horse is a skill where the gymnast performs a pendulum swing with both legs individually, changing sides of the horse at its peak.
The skill is valued as a D skill on a scale from A to F, with F being the most difficult. The 2013-16 "Code of Points" has three scissor skills for pommel horse bearing individual gymnast's names, all with a D value, and it does not have any other single leg scissor skills that have greater than a D value.
He is the second U-M gymnast in program history to have a skill with their namesake, as Wayne Miller (1966-68) had a skill named after him on trampoline, which is a double back somersault with one and a half twists in the first and one and a half twists in the second.
Michigan to Host 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced Thursday, Nov. 1, that the University of Michigan's Crisler Center has been selected as the site of the 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships. The three-day competition will be held at the newly renovated Crisler Center in April 2014.
This will be the third time the University of Michigan will play host to an NCAA men's gymnastics national championship. Michigan hosted the event in 1951 and 1971, with the latter being held at Crisler Arena.
Michigan has finished in the top six at the national meet in 13 of the past 14 seasons under Kurt Golder, including national championships in 1999 and 2010 and runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2009.
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.