U-M Rides School-Best Floor Exercise to Victory over Penn State

Feb. 16, 2013

Complete Results | Photo Gallery  | Highlights

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #3 Michigan 197.375, Penn State 196.700
Records: U-M (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten), Penn State (7-5, 2-3 Big Ten)
Attendance: 1,830 (sellout)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 24 -- at West Virginia, vs. Towson, vs. New Hampshire (Morgantown, W.Va.), 2 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Behind a school-record score on floor exercise (49.625) and an all-around victory (39.600) from junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland), the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team rolled Penn State, 197.375-196.700, in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday (Feb. 16) at Cliff Keen Arena.

The Wolverines held a close lead the entire afternoon, culminating with the fourth and final rotation, which Michigan entered leading by just one tenth of a point (147.750-147.650), and they responded with a score of 49.625, complete with five scores of 9.900 or higher. That score ties the previous school record, set March 9, 2002, in a tri-meet vs. Denver and Washington.

Sampson had the best routine of the evening in the anchor spot, getting a 10.0 from Level 10 judge Richard Seibel to finish win the event with a career-best 9.975. A trio of gymnasts recorded 9.900s to tie for third place, including senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) and junior Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) to start the rotation. Senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) scored a 9.950 in the third spot to finish second -- also a new career high -- before another 9.900 came from junior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High). Freshman Briley Casanova (Dallas, Texas/Spring Creek Academy) scored 9.875 in her first official action in that event.

The Wolverines scored 49.325 as a squad on vault to open the meet, getting three scores of 9.875 and three scores of 9.850. Colbert led the team off, sticking her landing to earn a season-best score of 9.875. Beilstein and sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) also received the same score. All three tied for second on the event. Coming in at 9.850 was Zurales, Sampson and freshman Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East).

The Wolverines moved to uneven bars during the second rotation and encountered some adversity, as Beilstein missed the high bar during her release, resulting in a fall in the first spot. With the remaining five gymnasts needing to hit, Zurales got the team back on track, recording a score of 9.750. After junior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) put up a score of 9.850 in the third spot, the final three gymnasts in the lineup each scored above 9.900 to give Michigan a 49.375. Sugiyama received a 9.900 in the fourth spot to finish third, followed by a gorgeous, career-best performance from senior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty), who won the event with a 9.950. Sampson closed the rotation with a 9.925 to finish second, and after two rotations, Michigan led Penn State, 98.700-98.400.

The third rotation saw Michigan on balance beam, where it received a 49.050 as a team. Martinez championed the event with her 9.900 score, followed by the two U-M captains, Sampson and Zurales, who each tied for third at 9.850. The other two counted scores came from sophomore Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) at 9.750 and Casanova at 9.700.

Sampson won the all-around for the fourth time in seven meets this season, tying her career high of 39.600 that was set Feb. 2 vs. Iowa. Zurales finished third (39.400).

The Wolverines are on the road for their next three meets, starting next Sunday (Feb. 24) at West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. The quad meet, which will also feature New Hampshire and Towson, will begin at 2 p.m.

Team StandingsVaultBarsBeamFloorTotal
Penn State49.27549.12549.05049.250196.700
Stephanie Colbert             9.875 (t2)
Katie Zurales                 9.850
Sachi Sugiyama                9.875 (t2)
Joanna Sampson                9.850
Natalie Beilstein             9.875 (t2)
Austin Sheppard               9.850
Uneven Bars
Natalie Beilstein             8.750
Katie Zurales                 9.750
Shelby Gies                   9.850
Sachi Sugiyama                9.900 (t3)
Brittnee Martinez             9.950 (1)
Joanna Sampson                9.925 (2)
Balance Beam
Annette Miele                 9.750
Briley Casanova               9.700
Joanna Sampson                9.850 (t3)
Brittnee Martinez             9.900 (1)
Shelby Gies                   9.600
Katie Zurales                 9.850 (t3)
Floor Exercise
Natalie Beilstein             9.900 (t3)
Stephanie Colbert             9.900 (t3)
Katie Zurales                 9.950 (2)
Reema Zakharia                9.900 (t3)
Briley Casanova               9.875
Joanna Sampson                9.975 (1)
Joanna Sampson               39.600 (1)
Katie Zurales                39.400 (3)


• Saturday's meet was held in Cliff Keen Arena, the team's home venue from 1990-2003. Crisler Center was unavailable due to a women's basketball game at noon earlier in the day, which was conducted as part of the facility's rededication weekend.

• Michigan improves to 38-8 all-time vs. Penn State.

• The Wolverines' total team score of 197.375 is a season high. Their previous season-best team score was 197.350, set Jan. 19 vs. Illinois.

• Michigan has not scored above 197.000 in two home meets in the same season since 2008. It scored 197.125 on Feb. 22, 2008, vs. North Carolina State and 197.600 on March 7, 2008, vs. Georgia.

Joanna Sampson scored 39.600 in the all-around for the second time this season, tying her previous career-high score from Feb. 2 against Iowa. The last U-M gymnast to have two or more all-around scores of 39.600 or higher in the same season was Elise Ray in 2004 (39.800 at 2004 Big Ten Championships, 39.750 at West Virginia/Maryland, 39.700 at NCAA Regional Championships). Sampson also set new career highs on uneven bars (9.925) and floor exercise (9.975).

• The Wolverines scored above their season averages in total score (197.375 over 196.867), vault (49.325 over 49.188), uneven bars (49.375 over 49.242) and floor exercise (49.625 over 49.300). With the win, Michigan also bumped up its season scoring average from 196.867 to 196.939 and its RQS from 196.770 to 196.905.

• The Wolverines have scored above 49.000 in every rotation in six consecutive meets (27 of 28 rotations in 2013).

• Michigan's performance on vault ties a season high. It also scored 49.325 at Minnesota on Jan. 26.

Stephanie Colbert was in the vault lineup for the first time since Jan. 19 vs. Illinois. It was her fourth vault performance this season. She also recorded a new career high on floor exercise (9.900).

Brittnee Martinez set new career-high scores on uneven bars and balance beam. Her previous best on uneven bars was 9.900, set Feb. 3, 2012, vs. West Virginia (9.950 on Saturday), while her previous best on balance beam was 9.875, set March 7, 2010, at Penn State (9.900 on Saturday).

Sachi Sugiyama (uneven bars) and Katie Zurales (floor exercise) also tied career highs.

• With the win over Penn State, Bev Plocki has 596 career victories.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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