Feb. 7, 2014
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Huff Hall)
Score: #6 Michigan 195.800, #14 Illinois 195.575
Records: U-M (8-0, 3-0 Big Ten), Illinois (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 14 -- at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 6 p.m. CST
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team traversed through some tightly scored routines to keep its perfect dual-meet record intact, defeating No. 14 Illinois, 195.800-195.575, on Friday (Feb. 7) inside Huff Hall.
Senior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) won the all-around for the fifth time in as many meets this season, scoring 39.300. She also took top honors on floor exercise (9.925). Senior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) won a pair of events, taking first on balance beam (9.850) while tying for first on uneven bars (9.825) with freshman Nicole Artz (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa). The other event winner was junior Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller), who won the vault (9.900).
The Wolverines started on uneven bars due to being the visiting team in a road dual meet. Gies and Artz each tied for the team's high score at 9.825 thanks to clean release moves and stuck landings. The team had to navigate around some small errors in routines that dragged the overall score down below the season average, as Michigan scored 48.725.
Michigan righted the ship on vault, scoring 49.150 as a team. Sugiyama had the best vault of the night, getting great height and distance off the horse with only a tiny step on the landing to secure a 9.900. Sampson had a gorgeous Yurchenko full, absorbing the landing on the mat to score a 9.850. Freshman Talia Chiarelli (Boston, Mass./Lexington) also had a nice Yurchenko full, but her chest was a little low on the landing, giving her a 9.825, just a shade below Sampson. At the halfway point, U-M led Illinois, but it was close, at 97.850-97.725.
Sampson led the way on floor exercise, scoring a 9.925 thanks to her trademark double layout on the first pass. Artz continued her stretch of solid floor exercise routines to score a 9.875, hitting clean tumbling passes to go along with some fantastic choreography. Junior Brooke Parker (Lorton, Va./South County Secondary) made her first appearance in the official lineup, energizing her teammates to the tune of a 9.775. Senior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) also had a solid routine, scoring a 9.800. The Wolverines had a three-tenth lead heading into the last rotation, up 146.950-146.675.
The Wolverines did what they needed to do to close out the win on balance beam, but for the second week in a row, it was not without some nerves. After three hits to start the rotation, including steady routines from both Gies in the third spot (9.850) and Artz in her now-typical leadoff spot (9.775), a fall in the fourth spot by Zakharia put the pressure on the final two competitors. Sampson hit her routine with a step or two on the landing, scoring a 9.775, leaving it to sophomore Briley Casanova (Dallas, Texas/Spring Creek Academy), who, for the second week in a row, overcame the pressures of the situation to hit a routine (9.750) and secure the win for Michigan.
The Wolverines head to Lincoln, Neb., next Friday (Feb. 14) to take on two-time defending Big Ten champion Nebraska in what could be the determining meet for the Big Ten regular-season championship. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. CST and be televised on tape-delay by the Big Ten Network.
Event Winners/U-M Finishers
Vault Brooke Parker 9.750 Reema Zakharia 9.725 Talia Chiarelli 9.825 (t4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.900 (1) Joanna Sampson 9.850 (t2) Austin Sheppard 9.800 Uneven Bars Lindsay Williams 9.750 (t5) Sachi Sugiyama 9.575 Nicole Artz 9.825 (t1) Shelby Gies 9.825 (t1) Austin Sheppard 9.550 Joanna Sampson 9.750 (t5) Balance Beam Nicole Artz 9.775 (t4) Talia Chiarelli 9.700 Shelby Gies 9.850 (1) Reema Zakharia 9.125 Joanna Sampson 9.775 (t4) Briley Casanova 9.750 Floor Exercise Talia Chiarelli 9.725 Sachi Sugiyama 9.600 Brooke Parker 9.775 Nicole Artz 9.875 (2) Reema Zakharia 9.800 (4) Joanna Sampson 9.925 (1) All-Around Joanna Sampson 39.300 (1)
Contact: Brad Rudner (firstname.lastname@example.org)