April 2, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Arena)
Event: NCAA Ann Arbor Regional Championships
U-M Team Finish: 1st of 6 Teams (197.075)
Records: U-M (22-5)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sun., April 15-17 -- at NCAA Championships (Cleveland, Ohio)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team overcame a fall in the very first routine of the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional Championships to stick 23 straight routines and cruise to a 197.075 total to win the regional title Saturday night (April 2) at Crisler Arena. Earning the third-highest regional score in program history and the team's highest team score of the year, Michigan led from start to finish, winning three of four individual event titles and the all-around.
Regional underdog Kent State pulled off a historic upset, catching No. 4-ranked Stanford and outdueling No. 16 Ohio State and No. 23 Minnesota in the final rotation to finish second and punch its ticket to nationals. The Buckeyes took third, Stanford and Minnesota tied for fourth, and Iowa State took sixth. Michigan and Kent State automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, held April 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Senior Kylee Botterman (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) led an all-around effort, capturing the floor exercise title (9.925) and the all-around crown (39.500), giving her five regional titles in her career, including three straight floor titles and back-to-back honors in the all-around. Botterman was also honored as the NCAA Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year following the meet, becoming just the fourth U-M gymnast to earn the honor in program history.
Fifth-year senior Jordan Sexton (Weddington, N.C./Weddington) and senior Trish Wilson (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) shared the uneven bars title with matching scores of 9.900, giving Sexton back-to-back regional titles on bars and continuing Wilson's comeback story in her final season of gymnastics following four ACL surgeries.
Freshman Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) broke onto the regional scene with a vault title, scoring a season-best 9.900 -- Michigan's first vault crown at regionals since 2002.
Michigan opened the meet with a fall on beam but rather than crumble, the next five gymnasts stuck their routines to give the Wolverines a respectable 48.975 team score and a 0.025 lead through the first rotation. Botterman and sophomore Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) put exclamation points on the rotation with 9.850 and 9.875 scores, respectively, with Zurales finishing the night with runner-up honors on the event and tying a season best with her effort.
After sitting out a rotation, the Wolverines opened floor with a pair of 9.825s -- the third-highest scores of the night -- before Sexton broke things open with a 9.875, followed by back-to-back 9.900 scores from freshman Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) and sophomore Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch). Capping the rotation was Botterman and her 9.925, posting the highest score of the night through three teams and staking Michigan to a 0.600 lead over second-place Stanford through two events.
Michigan moved directly to vault where the Wolverines rocked all six routines to score a 49.325 -- the fourth-best score of the year. Sampson nailed a 9.900 with the third routine and Beilstein and Botterman stuck matching 9.875s to give Michigan a near full-point lead over second-place Stanford and the rest of the field with one event remaining.
Michigan then attacked bars, scoring 49.350 -- just 0.025 points shy of the third-best regional score in program history. Sexton nailed a 9.900 routine to defend her regional crown on the event and sophomore Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) returned to full form after battling injuries all year, tying a career high with a 9.875 to tie for third on the event. Wilson's 9.900 helped her share the regional title with Sexton. Wilson, who is returning for one last season of gymnastics after six knee surgeries and four torn ACLs, has reached the podium in six of the last seven meets, taking two titles and finishing third at Big Tens on bars.
The Wolverines take a week off before traveling to Cleveland for the NCAA Championships. Michigan will learn its championships schedule on Monday (April 4) -- check MGoBlue.com for details.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Kari Pearce 9.800 Sarah Curtis 9.825 Joanna Sampson 9.900 (1) Katie Zurales 9.850 (t4) Natalie Beilstein 9.875 (t2) Kylee Botterman 9.875 (t2) Uneven Bars Shelby Gies 9.825 Sarah Curtis 9.825 Jordan Sexton 9.900 (t1) Kylee Botterman 9.850 (t5) Trish Wilson 9.900 (t1) Brittnee Martinez 9.875 (t3) Balance Beam Shelby Gies 9.000 Joanna Sampson 9.775 Sarah Curtis 9.725 Jordan Sexton 9.750 Kylee Botterman 9.850 (t4) Katie Zurales 9.875 (t2) Floor Exercise Sarah Curtis 9.825 Joanna Sampson 9.825 Jordan Sexton 9.875 Reema Zakharia 9.900 (t2) Natalie Beilstein 9.900 (t2) Kylee Botterman 9.925 (1) All-Around Kylee Botterman 39.500 (1) Sarah Curtis 39.200 (3)
Michigan captured its eighth NCAA regional title and the first since 2006. The Wolverines have now won four regional titles in Ann Arbor, advancing to NCAAs all seven time they hosted.
Four Wolverines captured three event titles and the all-around crown. The last time Michigan had four event winners in a regional was 2002 when Elise Ray (vault, beam, all-around) and Calli Ryals (floor) dominated the field.
Michigan's 197.075 team score was the third-best regional finish in program history behind 2001 (197.225) and 1997 (197.700).
Michigan's 49.325 vault score was the fourth highest in 12 meets.
Michigan's 49.350 bars score was the highest of the season.
Michigan's 49.425 floor score was Michigan's second-highest floor score in the program's history. It was also the second-best floor score through 12 meets.
At the conclusion of the meet, senior Kylee Botterman was named the NCAA Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year. She is just the fourth Wolverine gymnast in program history to win the award and the first since 2008 when Lindsey Bruck (2004-08) earned the honor.
Senior Kylee Botterman captured the all-around and floor exercise titles, giving her three straight regional floor crowns and back-to-back regional all-around titles. Her five career regional titles rank fourth all-time in program history behind Elise Ray (eight), Sarah Cain (seven) and Beth Wymer (six).
Senior Kylee Botterman is the only Wolverine to win three regional floor titles and the only gymnast since Beth Wymer to win a pair of regional all-around crowns.
Fifth-year senior Jordan Sexton defended her regional bars crown, becoming one of five Wolverines in program history with multiple regional bars titles. Lauren Mirkovich (three), Elise Ray (three), Sarah Cain (two) and Beth Wymer (two) each captured multiple bars titles.
Senior Trish Wilson won her first regional bars title and becomes the 12th Wolverine gymnast to win a bars title at regionals.
Freshman Joanna Sampson takes the regional vault title and becomes the first Wolverine since 2002 to do so. Sampson becomes the seventh member of an elite group of Wolverines who have won a vault title in their careers.
Head coach Bev Plocki picked up her 22nd win of the season with the sweep, giving her 19 20-win campaigns in her 22-year career.
The following Wolverines set or tied season and career highs:
- Sophomore Katie Zurales tied her season best on beam with a 9.875.
- Freshman Reema Zakharia tied her career best on floor with a 9.900.
- Freshman Joanna Sampson tied her career best on vault with a 9.900.
- Freshman Shelby Gies tied her career best on bars with a 9.825.
- Fifth-year senior Jordan Sexton tied her season best on bars with a 9.900.
- Sophomore Brittnee Martinez tied a career high on bars with a 9.875.
Contact: Richard Retyi (734) 763-4423