Jan. 25, 2014
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: #5 Michigan 197.325, #23 Ohio State 195.200
Records: U-M (6-0, 1-0 Big Ten), Ohio State (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Jan. 31 -- vs. Michigan State - Autism Awareness Meet (Crisler Center), 7 p.m. [ Tickets ]
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Fueled by its highest balance beam score in 17 meets, the No. 5-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team pummeled rival Ohio State, 197.325-195.200, in front of 2,764 fans in the team's home opener on Saturday (Jan. 25) inside Crisler Center.
Senior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) won the all-around for the third consecutive week -- also her seventh in a row in qualifying regular-season meets, dating back to last season -- while also taking first on floor exercise (9.950) and tying for first one uneven bars (9.875). Meanwhile, senior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) tied for first on balance beam (9.900), finishing second on floor exercise (9.925) and taking fourth on vault (9.850).
The Wolverines started the meet off with a 49.300 on vault, with all five counted scores at or above 9.800. Senior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) stuck her vault in the second position, while junior Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) had a huge Yurchenko 1.5 and took a small step on the landing but still scored 9.875, second best on the team. Sampson scored the same with only a slight hop on her vault, while sophomore Austin Sheppard (Murphy, Texas/Plano East) cleaned up with a 9.900.
The scoring and routines were consistent throughout the uneven bars, as Sugiyama, senior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) and Sheppard all received 9.825s, while freshman Nicole Artz (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa), Sampson and fifth-year senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) each got 9.875s. Artz and Sugiyama each stuck their landings to propel the team at the start, while Beilstein closed the rotation with a Geinger for her release. At the halfway point, Michigan led Ohio State, 98.575-98.025.
Though it was U-M's lowest-scoring event of the evening, balance beam was the highlight. After Artz kicked off the rotation with a 9.800 in her traditional leadoff spot, she was followed by another freshman -- Talia Chiarelli (Boston, Mass./Lexington), who navigated her routine to score a 9.875, finished off by a beautiful double tuck dismount. Senior co-captains Gies and Zakharia were both up next, each scoring 9.900s. Zakharia, in particular, was jubilant about her performance, successfully hitting her front toss, back tuck connection after failing to stay on the beam during the same series last week at N.C. State. Sampson scored a 9.775, getting deducted for a balance check during her flight series in the fifth spot, giving Michigan a rotation score of 49.250. Coupled with a 48.775 floor exercise rotation for Ohio State, the Wolverines held a commanding lead heading into the final rotation.
Michigan added to its lead during the final rotation on floor exercise, as all five counted scores were at or above 9.850. Chiarelli began the rotation with a hit, scoring 9.800, followed by Sugiyama (9.875) and Beilstein (9.850). The last three gymnasts -- Artz, Zakharia and Sampson -- all had at least a 9.900. Sampson closed down the meet in traditional superb fashion, nailing all three of her tumbling passes. The Wolverines scored 49.500, a score they reached three times last season.
The Wolverines will look to make it two-for-two against rivals in their home arena on Friday (Jan. 31), as they welcome Michigan State to Crisler Center. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. and will serve as the team's first annual Autism Awareness Meet. [ Tickets ]
Event Winners/U-M Finishers
Vault Talia Chiarelli 9.775 Reema Zakharia 9.850 (4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.875 (t2) Natalie Beilstein 9.800 Joanna Sampson 9.875 (t2) Austin Sheppard 9.900 (1) Uneven Bars Sachi Sugiyama 9.825 Nicole Artz 9.875 (t1) Shelby Gies 9.825 Austin Sheppard 9.825 Joanna Sampson 9.875 (t1) Natalie Beilstein 9.875 (t1) Balance Beam Nicole Artz 9.800 Talia Chiarelli 9.875 (3) Shelby Gies 9.900 (t1) Reema Zakharia 9.900 (t1) Joanna Sampson 9.775 Lindsay Williams 9.275 Floor Exercise Talia Chiarelli 9.800 Sachi Sugiyama 9.875 (4) Natalie Beilstein 9.850 (5) Nicole Artz 9.900 (3) Reema Zakharia 9.925 (2) Joanna Sampson 9.950 (1) All-Around Joanna Sampson 39.475 (1)
Contact: Brad Rudner (firstname.lastname@example.org)