Wolverines Hold On to Take Down No. 24 Minnesota
Katie Zurales

Jan. 21, 2012

Complete Results | Sachi Sugiyama Interview (Facebook)

Site: Minneapolis, Minn. (Sports Pavilion)
Score: #11 Michigan 193.150, #24 Minnesota 193.000
Records: U-M (2-0, 2-0 Big Ten), Minnesota (0-3, 0-3 Big Ten)
Attendance: 1,559
Next U-M Event: Friday, Jan. 27 -- vs. Illinois (Crisler Center), 6 p.m.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) won the all-around and the No. 11-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team held on in the final rotation to defeat No. 24 Minnesota, 193.150-193.000, on Saturday (Jan. 21) inside the Sports Pavilion. Sugiyama, who was competing as an all-arounder for the first time in her collegiate career, tied for first on vault and bars, claiming the all-around title with a score of 39.050.

The Wolverines started the meet on uneven bars by virtue of being the visiting team. Despite U-M recording two falls, junior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) and Sugiyama tied for first with consecutive 9.800 scores, while junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) tied for third (9.750). Sophomore Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) was sixth with a 9.650 score.

Michigan responded on vault, overtaking Minnesota with a 49.075 team score. Sugiyama and sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland), the final two performers in the rotation, tied for first with 9.850 scores, while Zurales tied for third (9.825) and Beilstein tied for fifth (9.800). Each Michigan gymnast recorded at least a 9.725 score, and when coupled with three falls by the Golden Gophers on bars, U-M led at the halfway point, 97.325-96.525.

The meet tightened as the Wolverines moved to floor, where they scored a 47.350. Sampson and Sugiyama once again led the way for Michigan with consecutive 9.800 scores, while sophomore Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) scored a 9.750. Michigan recorded three slip-ups on floor, including one from Beilstien, who did not finish her routine after appearing to suffer an injury during her first pass. After three rotations, Michigan led 144.675-144.075.

Michigan needed every point to hold on to its lead heading into the final rotation. Zurales, the team's final competitor, won the beam title for the second week in a row, sealing the victory with a 9.825. She was followed by Sampson, who tied for second with a 9.750, and Zakharia, who was fourth with a 9.700. Minnesota scored a 48.925 on floor during the fourth rotation, but Michigan did just enough on beam to seal the victory.

The Wolverines now begin a stretch in which three of their next four meets are at Crisler Center, beginning with Illinois next Friday (Jan. 27) at 6 p.m.

Team StandingsVaultBarsBeamFloorTotal

Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores

Brittnee Martinez              9.725
Stephanie Colbert              9.750
Katie Zurales                  9.825 (t3)
Natalie Beilstein              9.800 (t5)
Sachi Sugiyama                 9.850 (t1)
Joanna Sampson                 9.850 (t1)
Uneven Bars
Shelby Gies                    9.650
Sachi Sugiyama                 9.800 (t1)
Joanna Sampson                 9.250
Brittnee Martinez              9.175
Katie Zurales                  9.750 (t3)
Natalie Beilstein              9.800 (t1)
Balance Beam
Shelby Gies                    9.200
Reema Zakharia                 9.700 (4)
Brittnee Martinez              9.600
Sachi Sugiyama                 9.600
Joanna Sampson                 9.800 (t2)
Katie Zurales                  9.825 (1)
Floor Exercise 
Joanna Sampson                 9.800 (t2)
Katie Zurales                  9.175
Sachi Sugiyama                 9.800 (t2)
Stephanie Colbert              8.825
Reema Zakharia                 9.750
Natalie Beilstein              1.000 (DNF)
Joanna Sampson                38.650
Sachi Sugiyama                39.050
Katie Zurales                 38.575


• This was the fourth dual meet between the two schools in the last five seasons. The Wolverines previously won all three meetings: 196.875-192.850 (Feb. 16, 2008 in Ann Arbor), 194.850-194.425 (Jan. 24, 2009 in Minneapolis), and 195.050-189.475 (Feb. 13, 2010 in Ann Arbor).

• Michigan's last loss to Minnesota came at the 2006 Big Ten Championships in East Lansing, Mich. (March 25).

• It was the second meet in which Michigan recorded a score of 49.000 or higher on vault. It scored 49.300 last Friday (Jan. 13) against Ohio State.


Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the meet ... "It was a very disappointing day for a lot of reasons. We got off to a shaky start on bars. I thought we came back and did well on vault, but then disaster struck on floor. I would gladly give Minnesota the win if we were able to get Natalie Beilstein back from injury. We are small, and we don't have a lot of depth, so it's an injury we couldn't afford to have happen. But we'll pick ourselves up and move on, and stay strong from here on out."

On Sachi Sugiyama's performance ... "I'm very proud of Sachi. As a freshman on her first road trip, she handled herself extremely well with a lot of maturity. Winning the all-around is fabulous accomplishment. I'm very happy for her. She had an excellent meet."

On balance beam ... "Balance beam is a tough event to end on. We had struggles there last week, so confidence was already a big shaky, so after the floor, I went over and got the kids together and said that we had to do this for us. This was for the block M. We had to end on a strong note. We didn't count a fall, which I was very pleased with, so I'm proud of the team for coming back. It's difficult to see a teammate go down like that and come back and focus enough to compete on an event like balance beam. That's an attribute to this team that will help us be a strong team down the road."

On Katie Zurales' beam performance ... "It's an early start, but I'm thrilled to see Katie with the start to the season that she's had. It takes a lot of confidence and mental toughness, and that's what this was. It was a lot of mental toughness and strength."

U-M Junior Katie Zurales
On her beam routine ... "I just knew I had to hit for my team, and for Michigan. We needed to end the meet with pride, and just had to go out and nail it."

On how the team responded after floor ... "I think we're all so close that we really came together and pulled it through; it wasn't easy, but we knew we had a job to do. The best way to help out Natalie and Teresa (Arthur) was to hit the beam set. I think everybody was pumped to do it for them, or at least motivated."

On how the team did in its first road meet ... "It was tough. I mean, obviously, we were a bit shaky. As the season progresses, we'll get more used to being away, and being in the hotel and everything. The first one of the season is done and over. We're moving on from here."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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