Jan. 4, 2013
Site: Cancun, Mexico (Iberostar Beach and Golf Resort)
Event: Cancun Classic
U-M Team Result: 1st of 3 Teams (196.575)
Records: U-M (2-0), Oregon State (0-2), BYU (1-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 12 -- vs. Nebraska (Crisler Center), 4 p.m.
CANCUN, Mexico -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team opened the 2013 season scoring 196.575 to win the Cancun Classic over BYU (194.475) and No. 9 Oregon State (193.600) on Friday (Jan. 4) at the Iberostar Beach and Golf Resort. It was the highest score ever received by the Wolverines in a season-opening meet in program history.
Michigan went 1-2-3 in the all-around, led by junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland), who recorded a career-best score of 39.425. Sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) was second (39.300) and senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) was right behind in third (39.275).
On the opening rotation, the Wolverines scored 49.075 on uneven bars, led by a pair of 9.850 scores from Sampson and Sugiyama. Senior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) contributed a score of 9.825, while Zurales and junior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) each scored 9.775.
Michigan moved to the balance beam and grabbed a meet-high score of 49.275 behind five counted scores of 9.800 or higher. Sophomore Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) opened the rotation at 9.800. The other four scores that counted increased sequentially. Gies scored 9.825 in the third spot, followed by Martinez (9.850), Sampson (9.875) and Zurales (9.925). The team's score on balance beam surpassed its 2012 season high of 49.150, set back on March 16 vs. Michigan State.
The team followed with a 49.250 on floor, led by Sugiyamaat 9.900. A pair of juniors, Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High), each scored 9.850, while Sampson, Zurales and senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) each recorded 9.825.
The Wolverines closed out the meet on vault, notching a 48.975. Sampson recorded 9.875 to lead the team, while Sugiyama posted the team's second-best score at 9.800. Freshmen Briley Casanova (Dallas, Texas/Spring Creek Academy) and Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East) both contributed scores to the team in their first collegiate competition, with Casanova scoring 9.775 (tying Colbert) and Sheppard getting 9.750 (tying Zurales).
Michigan opens up its home slate next Saturday (Jan. 12) at 4 p.m., facing defending Big Ten champion Nebraska inside Crisler Center.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Stephanie Colbert 9.775 (T-5) Briley Casanova 9.775 (T-5) Katie Zurales 9.750 Austin Sheppard 9.750 Joanna Sampson 9.875 (1) Sachi Sugiyama 9.800 (T-3) Uneven Bars Katie Zurales 9.775 Lindsay Williams 9.700 Shelby Gies 9.775 Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (T-1) Brittnee Martinez 9.825 (4) Joanna Sampson 9.850 (T-1) Balance Beam Annette Miele 9.800 Sachi Sugiyama 9.750 Shelby Gies 9.825 (T-5) Brittnee Martinez 9.850 (4) Joanna Sampson 9.875 (T-2) Katie Zurales 9.925 (1) Floor Exercise Natalie Beilstein 9.825 Stephanie Colbert 9.850 (T-3) Katie Zurales 9.825 Reema Zakharia 9.850 (T-3) Sachi Sugiyama 9.900 (1) Joanna Sampson 9.825 All-Around Joanna Sampson 39.425 (1) Sachi Sugiyama 39.300 (2) Katie Zurales 39.275 (3)
N O T E S
Michigan improves to 6-7 all-time against Oregon State. The two teams met last year at the NCAA Auburn Regional, with Oregon State beating Michigan, 196.450-196.325, to advance to the NCAA Championships. The Wolverines are also 8-1 all-time against BYU.
The Wolverines won their season opener for the fourth straight season.
The only other time Michigan competed at the Cancun Classic was in 2009, when it finished third (192.700).
It is Michigan's highest recorded team score since the 2011 NCAA Semifinals (196.700, April 15, 2011). Additionally, it is Michigan's highest score in a January meet since Jan. 26, 2008 (196.750, Michigan State).
The Wolverines received a post-196.000 score only three times in 2012. The first one came in their seventh meet (196.300, Feb. 24 at Oklahoma).
Vault was Michigan's best event in 2012, scoring better than 49.000 in 10 meets. The Wolverines just missed that mark on Friday, scoring 48.975.
Natalie Beilstein competed in her first collegiate meet since suffering a season-ending Achilles injury last January. She competed on floor (9.825).
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the team's performance ... "We hit 27 for 27 routines, which was all of our six up plus exhibitions. There weren't many misses on the whole. I am really excited. I have known we had a really good fall of training. I felt like we were prepared coming in. It was nice to come into this competition and see them compete the same way I see them compete in practice. With this being a competition, the pressure didn't change their performance at all, which I was really pleased about."
On balance beam ... "I was very pleased. We are training really well there. We had two falls out of eight at our Crisler exhibition last month, which was a fluky thing. They performed today like they practiced. We try to amp things up since it's a competition. Sometimes that gets you in trouble, but today, they did what they do and were great."
On what the team can work on ahead of next week's home opener vs. Nebraska ... "There are still little things that need to be cleaned up. When you look at our freshmen, we had three of them do one event each. Morgan (Smith) isn't even in the lineup yet. I think Joanna (Sampson) was the only one who stuck a vault, so that's one area where we can improve. We've still got people we need to get into the lineup more often."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423