March 2, 2012
Site: State College, Pa. (Rec Hall)
U-M Team Standing: 2nd Place of 3 Teams (195.900)
Records: U-M (8-4, 3-2 Big Ten), Penn State (12-3, 4-1 Big Ten), North Carolina (9-3)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 9 -- vs. Georgia (EMU Convocation Center, Ypsilanti, Mich.), 7 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The No. 23-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team held a lead for three rotations but was overtaken in the fourth, finishing second to No. 11 Penn State on Friday (March 2) inside Rec Hall, falling by just one-tenth of a point. Despite the loss, the Wolverines scored a 195.900 for its second-highest team score of the season, placing behind the Nittany Lions (196.000) and ahead of North Carolina (195.750). Freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) was one of four all-arounders for the Wolverines, finishing third with a 39.350.
The Wolverines began the meet with a bang, going 49.100 on uneven bars, their second-highest team total on that apparatus this season. Juniors Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) and Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) led the charge with identical 9.900 scores to tie for the event title, while the U-M freshman duo of Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) and Sugiyama each received 9.850s, tying for fifth. All four gymnasts either set new or tied career bests.
Michigan moved to balance beam next and tallied a season-best 49.050. Miele tied with Martinez for team lead with a 9.875, easily a new career best for Miele as her previous best was 9.450. After a fall, the pressure was on Sugiyama, the team's last competitor, and she came through, connecting with a 9.725. Sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) and sophomore Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) were the other two Wolverines to have their scores counted, going 9.800 and 9.775, respectively. The meet was close after two rotations, with Michigan leading at 98.150, followed by North Carolina (97.800) and Penn State (97.700).
The Wolverines attempted to put some distance between themselves and the two other teams, finishing floor exercise with a score of 48.775. Sugiyama continued her strong meet, leading the team with a score of 9.875, followed by Zurales at 9.825.
Michigan closed the meet out strong, scoring 48.950 on vault. Sugiyama led the way at 9.900, tying for second, followed by Sampson at 9.875, who tied for fourth. Zurales came away with a 9.850, sophomore Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) scored 9.725, and Miele rounded out the rotation with a 9.700. Penn State, which was in third place heading into the last rotation, scored 49.350 on floor exercise to win the meet.
The Wolverines return home for the final two regular-season home meets of the season, beginning next Friday (March 9) against Georgia. Due to renovations at Crisler Center, the meet will be held at the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich., and start at 7 p.m.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Brittnee Martinez 9.450 Stephanie Colbert 9.750 Katie Zurales 9.850 Joanna Sampson 9.875 (t4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.900 (t2) Annette Miele 9.600 Uneven Bars Katie Zurales 9.900 (t1) Annette Miele 9.850 (t5) Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (t5) Joanna Sampson 9.300 Brittnee Martinez 9.900 (t1) Shelby Gies 9.600 Balance Beam Shelby Gies 9.775 Brittnee Martinez 9.875 (t2) Annette Miele 9.875 (t2) Joanna Sampson 9.800 Katie Zurales 9.125 Sachi Sugiyama 9.725 Floor Exercise Sachi Sugiyama 9.875 (t3) Stephanie Colbert 9.725 Annette Miele 9.700 Katie Zurales 9.825 Joanna Sampson 9.350 Reema Zakharia 9.650 All-Around Sachi Sugiyama 39.350 (3) Annette Miele 39.025 (5) Katie Zurales 38.700 Joanna Sampson 38.325
N O T E S
U-M falls to 30-6 all-time against Penn State and improves to 2-0 all-time against North Carolina.
The Wolverines scored better than 49.000 on bars for the fourth time this season and for the second time on the road. Michigan's season-high total on uneven bars is 49.125 against Illinois on Jan. 27.
Michigan's previous team best on balance beam was 48.975 at the Masters Classic on Feb. 11.
Sachi Sugiyama set a new career high in the all-around (39.350), breaking her previous career best of 39.250, which she set last week at Oklahoma/TWU (Feb. 24).
Katie Zurales (9.900) and Sachi Sugiyama (9.850) each set new career highs on uneven bars. Zurales' previous career best was 9.775, accomplished on Feb. 17 against Utah, while Sugiyama's previous career best was 9.825, set three different times earlier this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the meet ... "I saw a lot of grit and determination from a lot of athletes today. Joanna Sampson has had such an incredible season up to this point, and she just had an off night, but her teammates were there to have her back. We had a fall from one of our best performers in our first three events and still came back to do well enough not to count falls. That shows me something. They are getting stronger mentally, and they didn't break under pressure. That's a really good sign."
On how the team responds going forward after yet another injury ... "Well, we have to go back in the gym and try and determine that. We don't have a pool of athletes to be able to go to right now. We're using what we have. We're at a spot right now where we may have to compete with just five athletes."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423