Feb. 11, 2012
Site: Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
Event: Masters Classic
U-M Team Finish: 2nd of 4 Teams (195.825)
Records: U-M (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten), Nebraska (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten), Washington (3-5), Southern Utah (2-7)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 17 -- vs. Utah (Crisler Center), 6 p.m.
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The No. 22-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team posted a season-high score of 195.825, finishing second at the four-team Masters Classic on Saturday (Feb. 11) inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center. No. 8 Nebraska won the meet (196.550), with Washington finishing third (194.150) and Southern Utah in fourth (191.900).
The Wolverines began on floor as two rookies, Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) and Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area), posted 9.775s. Sophomores Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) and Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) closed out the rotation with matching 9.850s to give Michigan a 48.800 team score.
Michigan upped its score on vault during the next rotation. Sampson led the way with a 9.875, followed by Zurales (9.850) and Sugiyama (9.800). Sophomore Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) posted a 9.775, followed by junior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty), who grabbed a 9.750. Zakharia was the Wolverines' sixth competitor, being placed into the lineup for the first time in her collegiate career, scoring a 9.725. As a team, the Wolverines scored a 49.050 on vault, putting their team score at 97.850 after two rotations.
A trio of Wolverines put up scores of 9.800 or above on bars, led by Martinez, who scored the highest with a 9.875. Miele and Sugiyama each recorded 9.825 scores, which ties a career high for Miele and sets a new one for Sugiyama. The Wolverines' other two counted scores were Sampson at 9.775 and Sugiyama at 9.725. Nebraska held a slim lead heading into the final rotation at 147.175, but the Wolverines were behind in second at 146.850.
Michigan closed the meet out with its best group of beam routines of the year, recording a season-high score of 48.975, led by Zurales, who won the event title with a 9.900 score. Sophomore Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) set the tone with a 9.800, which ties a career high. Martinez and Sampson each received 9.775 scores, while Zakharia assured the team of a solid score by landing her routine in the sixth spot, finishing with a 9.725 score.
In the all-around, Sampson finished fourth with a score of 39.275 and Zurales was ninth with a 38.500.
Michigan returns to the gym next Friday (Feb. 17) at 6 p.m. when it welcomes Utah to Crisler Center.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Brittnee Martinez 9.750 Stephanie Colbert 9.775 Katie Zurales 9.850 Joanna Sampson 9.875 (t4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.800 Reema Zakharia 9.725 Uneven Bars Shelby Gies 9.700 Annette Miele 9.825 Sachi Sugiyama 9.825 Katie Zurales 9.200 Joanna Sampson 9.775 Brittnee Martinez 9.875 (3) Balance Beam Shelby Gies 9.800 (t4) Brittnee Martinez 9.775 Joanna Sampson 9.775 Katie Zurales 9.900 (1) Annette Miele 8.925 Reema Zakharia 9.725 Floor Exercise Sachi Sugiyama 9.775 Stephanie Colbert 9.150 Annette Miele 9.775 Katie Zurales 9.550 Joanna Sampson 9.850 (t4) Reema Zakharia 9.850 (t4) All-Around Joanna Sampson 39.275 (4) Katie Zurales 38.500
N O T E S
Michigan improves to 2-0 all-time against Washington but falls to 17-20-1 all-time against Nebraska.
With a second-place finish, Michigan's record now stands at 6-1 (3-1 Big Ten).
Michigan has scored above a 49.000 on vault in every meet this season.
Katie Zurales was back as an all-arounder this meet after only competing on two events last Friday against West Virginia.
Saturday's meet at the Masters Classic began a stretch of three of the next four meets away from Ann Arbor. The Wolverines' lone home meet during that stretch is next Friday (Feb. 17) against Utah before traveling to Oklahoma on Feb. 24 and Penn State on March 2.
This was the third Michigan varsity sports team to compete at Nebraska this week, following men's basketball on Wednesday and women's basketball on Thursday.
The meet was Nebraska's Pink Meet for breast cancer awareness.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the meet ... "I am very pleased with our progress. People are stepping up, and getting better, but more importantly, they are getting better under pressure. Those are great signs. I hope more of that is to come."
On the beam performances ... "I thought we did an excellent job. We switched up the order this week so we could have our more consistent athletes go first in order to get a flow going. We had some really good routines. One miss, but Reema (Zakharia) came back in a real clutch situation and hit her routine, so we didn't have to count a fall. Sachi hit a routine as an exhibition, as well. We're capable of being very good there. It's just the mental that we have to continue to improve upon."
On the performances by her freshmen ... "Sachi (Sugiyama) has been doing a good job all year long and has been getting steadily better. Annette (Miele) is coming onto the scene, as well, and she's only going to continue to get better. We're getting more productivity from both of them and that is going to help us be more consistent."
On the atmosphere of the meet ... "I actually love quad meets. They go so much faster since there aren't any byes, so we're able to focus more on ourselves and block out the rest of it. Normal meets go slower, so girls might sometimes want to turn and watch the person from the other team go. Here, when one person is done, the other goes right up next."
On what the team can take from the meet going forward ... "This is a confidence builder, no doubt. We need to become more aggressive. We were more aggressive tonight, but we need to get better at that still."
U-M Sophomore Reema Zakharia
On her beam routine ... "I definitely felt a little more pressure. My teammate fell before me, so they had to count my routine. I didn't let it affect me. I just tried to be as calm and collected as I could and take one element at a time."
On her vault ... "I think I just tried too hard the first time and got a little ahead of myself. The second time was better. It felt good to be back. It's only going up from here."
On what she thinks the team can take from this meet ... "We're finally putting the puzzle pieces together and getting the swing of things. We're starting to transfer things from practice to meets. We've become more bonded than we've ever been before, and we're going to use that energy going forward."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423