Dec. 7, 2012
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: #10 Michigan 195.375, Michigan State 191.100 (Exhibition)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 4 -- vs. BYU, Oregon State - Cancun Invitational (Cancun, Mexico)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team won all four events and held the top three places in the all-around in beating in-state rival Michigan State in an exhibition meet to open the 2013 season, 195.375-191.100, on Friday (Dec. 7) inside Crisler Center.
Sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) won floor exercise (9.850) and tied for the title on uneven bars (9.850) with senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South). Zurales took the all-around crown (39.225), and Sugiyama finished right behind in second (39.200). Junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) was third in the all-around (38.500) and won the vault title (9.950). The other individual-event winner was junior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central), who had the high score on balance beam (9.800).
All six gymnasts on vault scored 9.750 or higher, culminating with a team score of 49.300. Following Sampson, who won the event with her 9.950 score, was Zurales at 9.925 and Sugiyama at 9.850. Freshman Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East) made her Crisler Center debut, scoring a 9.825 in her first collegiate routine. Juniors Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) each closed out the rotation with 9.750 scores.
On uneven bars, all six U-M gymnasts scored higher than Michigan State's top performer, as each Wolverine received a score of 9.800 or higher. As a result, the Wolverines outscored the Spartans, 49.150-47.875. Following Sugiyama and Zurales, who both tied for the even title, was Gies and senior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) tied in third place (9.825).
The Wolverines were forced to count a fall on balance beam, finishing with a team score of 48.100. Gies was the team's best performer on the balance beam, winning the event, followed by Zurales, who finished second (9.775).
Michigan closed the meet with a 48.825 on floor. Sugiyama won the event, but it was the return of senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) that energized the crowd, as she finished second (9.800) in her first competition since last January (injury). Colbert put up a solid 9.775, good enough for third best on the team, followed by Zakharia at 9.725.
The Wolverines will officially open the 2013 season on Saturday, Jan. 4, taking on No. 9 Oregon State and BYU at the Cancun Invitational, held in Cancun, Mexico. A time for the meet will be announced at a later date.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Stephanie Colbert 9.750 Reema Zakharia 9.750 Katie Zurales 9.925 (2) Austin Sheppard 9.825 (4) Joanna Sampson 9.950 (1) Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (3) Uneven Bars Katie Zurales 9.850 (T1) Lindsay Williams 9.775 Shelby Gies 9.825 (T3) Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (T1) Brittnee Martinez 9.825 (T3) Joanna Sampson 9.800 (5) Balance Beam Annette Miele 9.650 (T3) Sachi Sugiyama 9.650 (T3) Shelby Gies 9.800 (1) Brittnee Martinez 9.025 Joanna Sampson 9.225 Katie Zurales 9.775 (2) Floor Exercise Katie Zurales 9.675 Stephanie Colbert 9.775 (3) Natalie Beilstein 9.800 (2) Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (1) Reema Zakharia 9.725 (5) Joanna Sampson 9.525 All-Around Joanna Sampson 38.500 (3) Sachi Sugiyama 39.200 (2) Katie Zurales 39.225 (1)
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the team chemistry ... "The team chemistry and energy that we have this year is simply phenomenal. The adversity that we went through last year definitely made us stronger, closer as a team and better. I think that we're going to see a lot of payoffs from that this year. I have a great group of young women. I'm proud of them, and I'm excited for the season."
On the freshmen Austin Sheppard and Lindsay Williams ... "I think they were both really, really excited, and they did really well. Austin is not all the way back yet. She had a couple surgeries after the World Championships. She had a great vault tonight. She's been doing routines on the other events, but we didn't want to push her. Lindsay has delivered on everything that we thought she was going to be able to do. It's been a pleasure to have her."
On if the depth gives the team more options in the lineup ... "Absolutely. Tonight, we saw eight athletes on three of our four events. We have up to 10 athletes on every event right now. The goal would be to rotate some people in and out of lineup, so we don't have the same people going week after week. That will help us be fresher at the end of the season, but it also gives us a bigger pool of athletes that have a lot of competitive experience. At the end of the year, we'll truly be able to pick the best six."
U-M Senior Katie Zurales
On the team's performance ... "It was great to get back into Crisler. Everyone gets a little more nervous when they get in here, which is a good thing, especially this being an exhibition meet. It was great to see the freshmen out there. It's always fun to bring them in here and show them what we're all about."
On having depth ... "It was really nice. We didn't lose anyone from last year. Everyone worked really hard during the summer. The new faces we have will only help contribute to the strength and depth that our team already has."
U-M Sophomore Sachi Sugiyama
On the team's performance ... "I think we did really well. We still have some room for improvement. We just need to work under pressure more inside the gym. I think this is going to be a much better group than last year. I think it went pretty well."
On getting back into Crisler in the season-opening format ... "Oh, it definitely helped. For me, I just wanted to familiarize myself with Crisler. It helps to get you work under pressure more, especially me doing the all-around. I was a lot more calm and composed. I think it worked out well today."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423