U-M Debuts 2014 Squad, Pummels Central Michigan in Exhibition
Natalie Beilstein

Dec. 8, 2013

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Result: Michigan 196.550, Central Michigan 193.100 (Exhibition)
Attendance: 989
Next U-M Event: Friday, Jan. 10 -- at Iowa State, vs. Illinois State (Ames, Iowa), 6:30 p.m. CST

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) won the all-around and three individual event titles in helping the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team to a 196.550-193.100 exhibition victory over Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 8) at Crisler Center.

Sampson looked in midseason form with an all-around score of 39.475, which included outright wins on vault (9.925) and uneven bars (9.900) and a share of the floor exercise crown (9.900) with fifth-year senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch). Michigan's other individual-event win came from freshman Talia Chiarelli (Boston, Mass./Lexington), who took first on balance beam (9.800). Of the 24 official routines Michigan put up, only two were below 9.750.

Michigan got off to a solid start on vault, scoring 49.250 as a team. Sampson led the way with a stuck 9.925 routine, while three others put up post-9.800 scores, including junior Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) at 9.875, Beilstein at 9.850 and sophomore Austin Sheppard (Murphy, Texas/Plano East) at 9.825. Both Sugiyama and Sheppard had good height and distance on their vaults, but small steps on the landing prevented each of them from scoring above a 9.900.

The Wolverines were steady on uneven bars, putting up a score of 49.100, once again led by Sampson in the anchor spot, as she debuted an upgraded routine complete with a new release move. After junior Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) led off with a 9.775, Sugiyama went up and pulled down a 9.85. Senior captain Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) followed in the third spot, finishing third with a 9.800. All six gymnasts up on uneven bars recorded top-four finishes.

A pair of rookies led the way on balance beam. Freshman Nicole Artz (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) led off, scoring a 9.725 to tie for fifth, before Chiarelli had a near-flawless routine in the fourth position, scoring a 9.800 to win the event. Senior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) also competed on balance beam -- one of her three events on the afternoon (others: vault, floor), scoring a 9.750 to tie for third with Sampson.

Michigan closed it out on floor exercise, the event that Michigan went above 49.000 in each meet last year. Led by the reigning NCAA champion in Sampson, the squad scored 49.400, including five routines that were 9.850 or better. Sampson and Beilstein both went 9.900, while Artz and Zakharia (9.875) each tied for third. Sugiyama scored 9.850 to finish fifth.

Sheppard, who competed solely on vault last season as a freshman, also competed on all four events. If not for an exhibition routine on balance beam, she would have scored 39.075 in the all-around, which would have been second to Sampson.

Michigan opens the 2014 regular season on the road, facing Iowa State and Illinois State in a tri-meet on Friday, Jan. 10, in Ames, Iowa. The meet will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Team StandingsVaultBarsBeamFloorTotal
Central Michigan48.47547.97548.40048.250193.100
Annette Miele              9.775 (5)
Reema Zakharia             9.750
Sachi Sugiyama             9.875 (2)
Natalie Beilstein          9.850 (3)
Joanna Sampson             9.925 (1)
Austin Sheppard            9.825 (4)
Uneven Bars
Annette Miele              9.775 (t4)
Sachi Sugiyama             9.850 (2)
Shelby Gies                9.800 (3)
Austin Sheppard            9.775 (t4)
Natalie Beilstein          9.775 (t4)
Joanna Sampson             9.900 (1)
Balance Beam
Nicole Artz                9.725 (t5)
Annette Miele              9.625
Shelby Gies                9.775 (2)
Talia Chiarelli            9.800 (1)
Reema Zakharia             9.750 (t3)
Joanna Sampson             9.750 (t3)
Floor Exercise
Austin Sheppard            9.775
Nicole Artz                9.875 (t3)
Sachi Sugiyama             9.850 (5)
Natalie Beilstein          9.900 (t1)
Reema Zakharia             9.875 (t3)
Joanna Sampson             9.900 (t1)
Joanna Sampson             39.475 (1)

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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