Sampson Wins National Title on Floor, Zurales Beam Runner-Up
Joanna Sampson (L) and Katie Zurales

April 21, 2013

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Site: Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion)
Event: NCAA Championships (Individual Event Finals)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- University of Michigan junior women's gymnast Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) won the national championship on floor exercise on Sunday (April 21) at the individual event finals of the NCAA Championships, held inside Pauley Pavilion. Additionally, senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) was national runner-up on balance beam.

Sampson is the fourth gymnast in program history to win an individual national championship and first on floor exercise, joining Beth Wymer (uneven bars, 1993-95), Elise Ray (all-around, 2001; balance beam, 2002; uneven bars, 2004) and Kylee Botterman (all-around, 2011).

In a championship filled with great performances, Sampson stood out, nailing her floor exercise routine with little errors, receiving a score of 9.9375 from the judges. She started out with her patented double layout on the first tumbling pass and a huge double pike on her last pass, sandwiched in-between clean dance choreography. She also competed on vault, finishing tied for 14th (9.8583). Sampson got good height and distance on her Yurchenko full off the horse but took a tiny step on the landing.

Zurales was equally impressive in the final routine of her collegiate career, turning in one of her best performances on balance beam to finish tied for second with a score of 9.8875. She began her routine with a fabulous flight series, a side aerial back handspring. She continued with a beat jump followed by great height on her sheep jump. Zurales closed it out with a round-off layout with double twist, sticking the landing.

Sunday's individual event finals capped brilliant seasons for both Michigan captains. Zurales closes out her career as a seven-time NCAA All-American (four honors this weekend), two-time NCAA Regional champion and Big Ten champion. She was also Michigan's female recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor and a finalist for the 2013 AAI Award, given annually to the top senior women's gymnast in the nation. For Sampson, the 2013 season was her best at Michigan, which culminated by her being named Big Ten and NCAA Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year. This year, she was a three-time NCAA All-American and four-time NACGC/W All-American (regular season).

Individual Event Finals Scores

 T1. Rheagan Courville, LSU             9.9250
     Diandra Milliner, Alabama          9.9250
  3. Olivia Courtney, UCLA              9.9167
  4. Kaelie Baer, UCLA                  9.9083
 T5. Lindsay Mable, Minnesota           9.9000
     Ashanee Dickerson, Florida         9.9000
     Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA            9.9000
 T8. Sarie Morrison, LSU                9.8917
     Tory Wilson, Utah                  9.8917
 10. Emily Wong, Nebraska               9.8833
T11. Kaitlyn Clark, Alabama             9.8750
     Lauren Beers, Alabama              9.8750
 13. Maliah Mathis, LSU                 9.8667
T14. JOANNA SAMPSON, MICHIGAN           9.8583
     Nicole Dayton, Stanford            9.8583
 16. Kytra Hunter, Florida              9.8500
T17. Alaina Johnson, Florida            9.8250
     Lindsey Cheek, Georgia             9.8250
     Moriah Martin, Denver              9.8250
 20. Brandie Jay, Georgia               9.8083
 21. Madison Mooring, Oklahoma          9.7917
 22. Lichelle Wong, UCLA                9.7833
 23. Chelsea Davis, Georgia             9.7500
Balance Beam
  1. Bridget Sloan, Florida             9.9000
 T2. KATIE ZURALES, MICHIGAN            9.8875
     Hanna Nordquist, Minnesota         9.8875
  3. Mackenzie Caquatto, Florida        9.8500
 T4. Kayla Williams, Alabama            9.8375
     Michelle Shealy, Iowa State        9.8375
  6. Marissa King, Florida              9.7875
  7. Danusia Francis, UCLA              9.3250
  8. Erica Brewer, Oklahoma             9.2750
Floor Exercise
  1. JOANNA SAMPSON, MICHIGAN           9.9375
  2. Diandra Milliner, Alabama          9.9250
  3. Emily Wong, Nebraska               9.9125
 T4. Lindsay Mable, Minnesota           9.9000
     Bridget Sloan, Florida             9.9000
 T6. Marissa King, Florida              9.8875
     Katherine Grable, Arkansas         9.8875
  8. Nansy Damianova, Utah              9.8750
  9. Rheagan Courville, LSU             9.8125
 10. Kim Jacob, Alabama                 9.8000
 11. Olivia Courtney, UCLA              9.7750
 12. Alina Weinstein, Illinois          9.7500


Joanna Sampson is the first U-M gymnast to win a national title on an individual event since Elise Ray in 2004 (uneven bars). Coincidentally, Ray also won her championship in Pauley Pavilion.

• Michigan has had an NCAA All-American on vault in each of the last four years: Joanna Sampson in 2013, Katie Zurales in 2012 and Kylee Botterman in 2011 and 2010.

• The last U-M gymnast to get NCAA All-America first team honors on balance beam was Kylee Botterman in 2011.

• For event finals, there are six judges per event. On every event but vault, the high and low score are dropped and the remaining four scores are averaged. A new rule change this year required gymnasts to only perform one vault instead of two as in years past.

• The Wolverines will lose Katie Zurales and senior Brittnee Martinez to graduation. Natalie Beilstein has the option for a fifth year of eligibility.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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