April 21, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On Katie Zurales ... "I am so thrilled for her. Balance beam has always been her marquee event. She's worked very hard on that event and had a fantastic career. Earlier on in her career, she had to come back from several injuries and became an all-arounder again starting last year. It's been a great one all the way through. It's difficult for a senior to get better through college. It definitely demonstrates her commitment level because she's gotten better every year she's been here. To see her go out like that is very gratifying."
On the evolution of the team captains and their leadership throughout the season ... "It's been tremendous. I think it's ironic that they are our two captains and they've been neck-and-neck leading this team the entire season in the all-around. They both ended up coming to the national championship and tying in the all-around. You almost couldn't write a story like that. I'm so proud of them both. A lot of being a national championship-caliber team is talent, but a large percentage of that is about the team's attitude, cohesiveness and confidence level. They've both been very instrumental in how this team has performed this year with the amount of focus, commitment and confidence they've had. They've done a great job."
On Joanna Sampson ... "I think she's going to be another kid like Katie, one who just gets better every year. She had a phenomenal year. I see her continuing to get better. The better she does, the better she thinks she can do, which is an awesome thing for a coach to see. She believes in herself a great deal. A lot of teams here were probably hoping she was a senior."
U-M Senior Katie Zurales (Balance Beam Runner-up)
On what she was thinking before the routine ... "Just the same stuff I always do, pretending Joanna (Sampson) went before me, trying to stay calm and put my body where I wanted it."
On her routine ... "It was pretty good. I was a little crooked on the side aerial, but I pulled a good back handspring out of it. I was so happy to end that way."
On her teammates' support in the stands ... "They are the best. That really helped me stay more relaxed. It was like they were right on the beam with me. I can't say thank you enough to them."
U-M Junior Joanna Sampson (Floor Exercise Champion)
On her floor exercise routine ... "It was fun. I never made event finals before. It was really, really exciting. Just the feeling of being the only one competing, you know all eyes are on you. I wanted to have fun out there and do it for my team. Since we didn't compete yesterday, this was for them. I saw them before my last pass and gave them a big smile. They helped me through it, for sure."
On having her teammates in the crowd and if it helped her performance ... "It definitely did. It was nice. They were cheering and clapping. You can get tired at the end of a routine, but they helped me find extra energy towards the end of this one."
On Katie Zurales ... "I can't even express how proud I am of her. When she stuck that dismount, I wanted to cry right then and there for her, but I had to hold back since I still had to go to floor. It was an amazing routine. I couldn't be happier and prouder of how she did this entire season."