Postmeet Quotes: Big Ten Championships

March 22, 2014

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Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the team's performance ... " I'm just so proud of them. We made the road a little bit more difficult for ourselves by having the problems that we did last week, but it shows that this team has a lot of fight. They believed in themselves and trained hard all week in preparation to come in here and they got it done."

On the focus coming into today ... "We needed to believe that we were still the top team in the Big Ten Conference. We had to come in here and make a statement and show why we're the top-ranked team in the Big Ten. If we had to do it from the afternoon session, then so be it. We weren't going to let that be an excuse or feel sorry for ourselves. That was the situation we were dealt and we were going to deal with it and we were going to come out here and let our gymnastics speak for us."

On the momentum gained going into Regionals ... "I hope it will be a great thing for us. Being able to do something like this is a huge confidence booster and NCAA Regionals is probably the most important meet of the season. If you don't do well there, you won't get another opportunity."

On Joanna Sampson ... "She had a fantastic meet. I'm so proud of her. She owned her performances tonight, especially on floor exercise. She probably could have been a little bit higher in the all-around had she been competing at night, but she ought to be very proud with how she performed."

On Nicole Artz ... "She's been so solid all season. I was going to very shocked if she didn't win that award because week in and week out, she's been absolutely rock solid. She is very deserving of that award and I'm very happy for her."

U-M Senior Joanna Sampson
On winning Big Tens as a senior after a two-year absence ... "It feels like we as a senior class have come full circle. Those last two years in between, it didn't go the way we wanted, but we've worked so hard for this and I couldn't be happier with how it ended up."

On breaking the stigma about not being able to win a championship from the first session ... "We didn't think about it that much, because we knew it wouldn't be possible unless we had the meet we were capable of having. I thought the judges did a good job keeping the scores at an even level throughout. We were the No. 1 team in the Big Ten coming into this weekend, so the fact that we were in the afternoon shouldn't have made a difference. Winning from there definitely made it that much better."

On her 10.0 on floor exercise ... "I definitely let some tears go. It was very exciting. I was working hard toward getting that and for it to come at the Big Ten Championships makes it that much sweeter. It's still a little hard to process, to be honest."

U-M Freshman Nicole Artz
On being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year ... "It really is an honor. It's not something that I would have thought was possible at the beginning of the year. I just try to go into every meet and do my best. To have that award and recognition, I'm so honored. It's very cool."

On winning the championship ... "We're so excited. Nobody thought it was possible coming in. We came in here with nothing to lose and gave it our all. We wanted to do this for our seniors. After the Big Ten Quad last week, we were all pretty bummed, sort of like, 'Wow, what just happened?' To win this, it's icing on the cake, but we also know our season isn't done. We have bigger goals."

On sitting in the stands watching the evening session ... "It was so nerve-racking sitting and watching. You don't want anybody else to do bad, but at the same time, you just want to be a little bit better when it's all over. Going into the final rotation, we had a good feeling. Once we knew for sure, we went into the hallway and started screaming. It's something I'll never forget."

U-M Fifth-Year Senior Natalie Beilstein
On being a part of her third Big Ten championship team ... "This one is different because of what happened the past two years. We proved that we are No. 1 team in the Big Ten. We came here to defend the M and get back the title. It's a little bittersweet, this being my fifth year, but to win it back feels very good. I'm so happy that I was able to contribute this for the rest of my team."

On if there was any doubt that U-M could win out of the afternoon ... "There wasn't. This last week of practice, we hammered it into ourselves that we were the No. 1 team going into the meet. It was a bummer to not be in that night session, but at the same time, we made history by showing that we don't need to be there to win. We worked hard all week and kept our confidence up. All we could do is push aside last week and focus on getting the results we knew we could get. It paid off."

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