U-M Puts Up Season-High Score, Sampson Wins All-Around at No. 2 OU
Joanna Sampson

Feb. 24, 2012

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Site: Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)
U-M Team Result: 2nd Place of 3 Teams (196.300)
Records: U-M (7-3), Oklahoma (15-2), Texas Woman's University (6-6)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 2 -- at Penn State, with North Carolina and Centenary (State College, Pa.), 7 p.m.

NORMAN, Okla. -- Sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) won her second all-around crown in as many weeks as the No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team put up its best score of the season (196.300) to finish second at the Oklahoma tri-meet on Friday evening (Feb. 24) at the Lloyd Noble Center. The second-ranked Sooners won the meet (197.225), with Texas Woman's University finishing in third (194.650).

Due to the tri-meet format, Michigan started on uneven bars. Freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) led the way with a 9.825, followed by a trio of Wolverines -- freshman Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area), sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) and junior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) -- who were awarded 9.800 scores. Sophomore Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) scored a 9.750, and junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) got a 9.700 to round out the team's competitors.

The solid scoring followed Michigan to the balance beam, where it scored 48.750 as a team, and did not count a fall in the process. Martinez and Zurales each scored 9.800, followed by Sampson with a 9.775 and Gies with a 9.700, to round out the first four competitors. The Wolverines needed to stick one of its final two routines to count a good score on the apparatus, and got one from Sugiyama, who scored a 9.675 as the fifth competitor. Oklahoma led after two rotations (98.550), followed by Michigan in second (97.725) and TWU in third (96.900).

The Wolverines had their second-best rotation on floor all year, scoring 49.175 as a team, and scoring five routines of 9.800 or higher. After not competing on floor last week against Utah, sophomore Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) led the way for the Maize and Blue with a 9.875, followed by Sugiyama and Sampson with matching 9.850 scores. Sophomore Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) stepped up to put forth her best score of the season, scoring a 9.800, same as Sugiyama.

Michigan saved its best for last, and on its best event, going 49.400 on vault as a team to cap its best meet of the season. Three individuals scored 9.900s or higher, championed by Sampson at 9.950, a new career high. Sugiyama and Zurales each received 9.900s, tying for third place, with Martinez and Colbert putting up 9.825s.

After winning the all-around against then-No. 1 Utah last week, Sampson won the all-around title again, this time against the nation's No. 2 team, putting up a career-best 39.375. Sugiyama finished in second, scoring a 39.250, shattering her previous career high. Miele (38.675) and Zurales (38.500) were the other U-M all-arounders.

The Wolverines return to action next Friday (March 3), as they travel to State College, Pa., for a quad-meet with Penn State, North Carolina and Centenary. The meet will begin at 7 p.m.

Team StandingsVaultBarsBeamFloorTotal
Michigan 49.40048.97548.75049.175196.300
Texas Woman's University 48.97548.82548.42548.425194.650

Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores

Brittnee Martinez           9.825
Stephanie Colbert           9.825
Katie Zurales               9.900 (t3)
Joanna Sampson              9.950 (t1)
Sachi Sugiyama              9.900 (t3)
Annette Miele               9.625
Uneven Bars
Shelby Gies                 9.750
Annette Miele               9.800
Sachi Sugiyama              9.825
Katie Zurales               9.700
Joanna Sampson              9.800
Brittnee Martinez           9.800
Balance Beam
Shelby Gies                 9.700
Brittnee Martinez           9.800 (t4)
Joanna Sampson              9.775
Katie Zurales               9.800 (t4)
Sachi Sugiyama              9.675
Annette Miele               9.450
Floor Exercise
Sachi Sugiyama              9.850 (t4)
Stephanie Colbert           9.800
Annette Miele               9.800
Katie Zurales               9.100
Joanna Sampson              9.850 (t4)
Reema Zakharia              9.875 (t2)
Annette Miele               38.675 (5)
Joanna Sampson              39.375 (1)
Sachi Sugiyama              39.250 (2)
Katie Zurales               38.500


• U-M drops to 6-6 all-time against Oklahoma.

• Michigan has scored above a 49.000 on vault in every meet this season. Its previous season best on vault was 49.300, which came back on Jan. 13 against Ohio State.

• This was the first meet this season in which Michigan had four all-around competitors (Miele, Sampson, Sugiyama, Zurales). The most it had in a prior meet all year was three.

• The Wolverines' score of 48.750 on balance beam was its second-highest score of the season. They scored 48.975 at the Masters Classic two weeks ago. The team's best two beam scores of the season have come away from Ann Arbor.

• Sophomore Reema Zakharia was back in the floor lineup in Friday's meet. She did not compete on floor last Friday against Utah.

• Freshman Annette Miele competed as an all-arounder for the first time in her collegiate career.

Stephanie Colbert's previous season best on floor was 9.775, which she scored in the Wolverines' season-opening meet on Jan. 13 against Ohio State.

• Junior Katie Zurales tied her career-high score on vault.

• With Friday's score, Michigan is now able to calculate its RQS (regional qualifying score). Beginning on Monday (Feb. 27), the Troester/GymInfo Top 25 will be ranked according to RQS. Qualification for regional competition is based on a team's and an all-around competitor's six best regular-season-meet scores, of which three must be away. To obtain the regional qualifying score (RQS), the high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged.


Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the team's performance ... "We did what we needed to do. We hit all of our routines, and didn't count any falls in the competition. What I was most pleased about was how we got better as the meet went on, and how we finished. The thing that is most encouraging is that we scored a 196.300, but we had a lot of deductions -- wobbles on beam, misplaced handstands, dismounts. We do those things every day. When we hit a meet, we can be in the mid 196.000s, and if we hit all four events like we are capable of, we can go 197.000 or higher."

On how the team started the meet ... "We did well on bars, but we're a great bar team, so we need to be great on bars. We didn't break a 49.000 on bars tonight. It's just because of miscast handstands and dismounts we didn't stick. The difficulty and the routines are there. We just have to stick the little things."

On vault ... "I'm very pleased. Stephanie Colbert, in particular, really stepped up in this meet. She struggled in the first half of the season, but was much improved tonight. She's getting better. We're getting confidence on vault that we can stick our landings, and that's what we need to continue to do."

On how the team has its two best scores of the season come on the road ... "It is unusual. I don't know how to answer that question. I'm glad it is this way and not the reverse, because we have to compete on the road at Big Tens, Regionals and Nationals. So if we can continue to do well on the road, I will be happy."

U-M Freshman Sachi Sugiyama
On her performance ... "It felt great to go four-for-four, especially on beam, to break that falling streak. I got really pumped up. The team was excited. We had a lot of fun tonight, and that helped a lot."

On having her club team in the stands to cheer for her ... "That felt great. To have them there, it's only two-and-a-half hours to OU. My old coaches were here, and that got me pretty fired up. I wanted to show them what I am made of, and what Michigan has turned me in to."

On the team's performance ... "I think we came here with a purpose. We wanted to do it for Michigan. We deserved a good score to night. We're capable of getting these kinds of scores, and going even higher. We were pumped and ready to go."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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