Jan. 13, 2012
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: #10 Michigan 195.500, #18 Ohio State 195.175
Records: U-M (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten), OSU (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 21 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), 6 p.m. CST
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Fueled by a 49.225 team score on floor during the fourth rotation, the No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team rallied to defeat archrival Ohio State, winning 195.500-195.175, on Friday night (Jan. 13) in the season opener inside Crisler Center. Four different Michigan gymnasts won individual titles during the meet, including junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South), who posted a 39.300 as an all-around competitor for the first time in her collegiate career.
The Wolverines started off the meet hot on vault, scoring a 49.300 as every competitor scored above a 9.80. Sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) led the way with a 9.90, followed by a pair of 9.85 scores from freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) and junior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch). The remaining three Michigan gymnasts in the rotation -- junior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty), sophomore Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and Zurales -- each scored 9.80.
Michigan held its lead through the second rotation, championed by Martinez, who scored a 9.85. Like on vault, a trio of Wolverines scored consecutive 9.80 scores, including sophomore Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central), Sugiyama and Beilstein. Michigan scored a 49.025 on bars, leading Ohio State, 98.325-97.650, after two rotations.
Ohio State held a slim 146.500-146.275 lead following the third rotation, which saw Michigan record two falls on the balance beam. Gies recorded a 9.700, while Martinez scored a 9.750, but it was Zurales who was the savior, as she posted a 9.875 as the team's final competitor.
Feeding off Zurales' beam performance, the Wolverines took the top three spots on the awards stand on floor. Beilstein, the team's final competitor in the lineup, put an exclamation point on the meet after tying a career high with a 9.925 to win the event. She was followed by sophomore Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High), who scored a 9.875, and Sampson and Zurales, who kicked off floor with consecutive 9.825 scores.
The Wolverines hit the road for the first time next Saturday (Jan. 21), as they take on Minnesota, currently ranked No. 22, in Minneapolis. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. CST at the Minnesota Sports Pavilion.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Brittnee Martinez 9.750 Stephanie Colbert 9.825 Katie Zurales 9.850 (t4) Natalie Beilstein 9.850 Sachi Sugiyama 9.875 (t2) Joanna Sampson 9.900 (1) Uneven Bars Shelby Gies 9.775 Sachi Sugiyama 9.800 (t2) Joanna Sampson 9.800 (t2) Brittnee Martinez 9.850 (1) Katie Zurales 9.750 Natalie Beilstein 9.800 (t2) Balance Beam Shelby Gies 9.700 Brittnee Martinez 9.750 Joanna Sampson 9.125 Annette Miele 9.450 Reema Zakharia 9.175 Katie Zurales 9.875 (1) Floor Exercise Joanna Sampson 9.825 (t3) Katie Zurales 9.825 (t3) Sachi Sugiyama 9.650 Stephanie Colbert 9.775 Reema Zakharia 9.875 (2) Natalie Beilstein 9.925 (1) All-Around Katie Zurales 39.300 (1) Joanna Sampson 38.650 (3)
N O T E S
Michigan recorded its highest total on floor in a season-opening meet since 2003. The Wolverines scored a 49.350 on floor against Ohio State on Jan. 11, 2003. They scored a 49.225 against the Buckeyes on Friday night. In addition, the team's vault score of 49.300 is the highest in a season-opening meet in at least a decade.
Natalie Beilstein recorded a new career high on bars (9.800; previous best was 9.750).
Joanna Sampson tied a career high on vault (9.900) and competed on bars for the first time in her collegiate career.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On feelings going into OSU meet ... "I have felt very confident about our preparation for the start of the season. We have been doing really well in practice. We have had a lot of mock intrasquads in the gym and the kids have done really, really well. Overall, I am very happy and I think that we did great on three events for the first meet. I am excited to have this first meet behind us."
On the team's performance on balance beam ... "Actually, I was a little bit surprised that we didn't do as well as we had been doing in practice on beam, but on the other hand we are a very young team and I didn't really know what we were going to get until we got into a real life competition and beam is definitely the most high-pressure event. I think that if we had stayed on beam we would be sitting with one of the highest opening scores in the country."
On the team's best event ... "Well, I think vault scored the highest in this meet, but on any given day, we are a very good team on all four events. We don't have one event that is head and shoulders above any other. We did outstanding on vault, we did outstanding on bars, we had some miscues on beam, and then on floor, we had a couple of tumbling passes where we tucked instead of doing a layout at the end of a tumbling pass. I was just happy that we didn't have any falls. I think they performed their routines well, so this really excites me a lot and I think the team is excited about what we can do this year."
On how the team's dynamic has changed since last year ... "I think this team is very determined because there has been all this conversation about how we graduated five kids, we have no seniors, and we lost all of our leadership and in reality, I think we do have some underclassmen on this team that are becoming good leaders. They have really banded together and are ready to go out and prove to the world that they can still be good without Kylee Botterman and some of the seniors. We are very talented. We just don't have a lot of depth so we have to stay healthy."
On Sachi Sugiyama's contributions to the team this year ... "She is going to add a lot to the team. I thought she had a pretty solid meet tonight. I think she placed on vaulting. She exhibition beamed for us and we have to clean up a little bit of execution with her there. I thought she had a really good meet and she is only going to continue to keep getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on."
U-M Freshman Sachi Sugiyama
On personal performance tonight ... "I was definitely excited coming into this meet. On vault, I feel like I did pretty well and I was really proud of it, but I need to work on my form on beam and I need to clean up little things like my knees and my feet."
On what it's like performing at the college level for gymnastics ... "It is a whole different experience. It is a lot more exciting but not as nerve-racking because you are not just working for yourself, you are working for the team and it's a lot more comforting knowing that you have your whole team behind you to push you through the hard times. It really pumps up the energy."
On the team dynamic and leadership ... "I think without the seniors, we don't have as much of a division between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen, which makes us closer this year. For leadership we have our captains, one is a junior and two are sophomores, and I think that really changes the togetherness of the team and it really brings us closer."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423