Jan. 30, 2012
The No. 22-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team (3-0, 3-0 Big Ten) aims keep its record perfect as it ventures outside of Big Ten action to host No. 20 West Virginia (5-1) on Friday (Feb. 3) at 6 p.m. inside Crisler Center.
Last Time Out
Michigan ran its win streak to three after beating No. 14 Illinois, 194.225-193.700, last Friday (Jan. 27) inside Crisler Center. The Wolverines won or tied for three event titles and sophomore Joanna Sampson finished third in the all-around with a career-high score of 39.225. [ Recap ] [ Photo Gallery ] [ Reema Zakharia Interview (Facebook) ] [ Michigan Daily: Recap | Sidebar ]
The Wolverines have trailed heading into the final rotation in two of their first three meets but rallied for the win in both of them. Michigan trailed Ohio State, 146.500-146.275, heading into the final rotation in its season opener on Jan. 13, but scored a 49.225 on floor to win the meet. Against Illinois last Friday, the Wolverines trailed 146.650-145.850 but counted four scores of 9.800 and higher on floor (48.375), while Illinois was forced to count two falls on beam, allowing the Wolverines to win the meet.
A Perfect Month
Michigan went 3-0 in dual meets during the month of January, beating three ranked Big Ten opponents. The last time it went got through the first month of the season without having a loss on its record was 2008.
Sampson, Miele Shine
A pair of Pennsylvania natives stepped up against Illinois. Sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove) led the three Michigan all-arounders with a career-high score of 39.225 (third place), scoring above a 9.800 on each event. Freshman Annette Miele (Easton) had one of the night's best performances, tying for second on uneven bars with a 9.850. It was the second routine she performed in a college meet (competed on beam against Ohio State on Jan. 13).
West Virginia is 5-1 on the season, owning dual meet wins over Maryland, Rutgers, Bowling Green, George Washington and Towson. The Mountaineers scored a 195.775 in its last meet, and moved up five spots to No. 20 in the GymInfo Top 25 rankings this week.
Michigan is 15-4 all-time in dual meets against West Virginia. The last time Michigan and West Virginia met was Feb. 5, 2010, in Morgantown. The meet, which also featured William & Mary, was won by the Wolverines (196.400). The last time the Mountaineers were in Ann Arbor for a meet was Jan. 11, 2008 (a tri-meet with Arkansas), when Michigan won with a 196.075 score.
Head coach Bev Plocki has ties to West Virginia, lettering three years during her college days; including being named team captain her senior year. She received her bachelor's of science degree in physical education in 1987, and her master's degree in sports management and administration in 1989.
With three more event wins against Illinois, Michigan gymnasts have won or tied for 10 of 12 event titles so far this season. Additionally, the Wolverines have had two all-around winners, as Katie Zurales won against Ohio State and Sachi Sugiyama won against Minnesota.
Despite posting a better score than last week, the Wolverines fell three spots to No. 22 in the most recent NCAA Women's Gymnastics Rankings, released Monday (Jan. 30). A team's ranking is determined by a team's scoring average.
[ Rankings ]
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|Team Average||196.992, Utah||194.292 (22)|
|Vault||49.433, Alabama||49.142 (11)|
|Uneven Bars||49.306, Arkansas||48.800 (T-12)|
|Balance Beam||49.208, Utah||47.958 (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||49.358, Utah||48.325 (NR)|
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|All-Around||39.575, Alaina Johnson, Florida||38.875, Sachi Sugiyama (NR)|
|Vault||9.942, Ashley Sledge, Alabama||9.858, Sachi Sugiyama, Joanna Sampson (NR)|
|Uneven Bars||9.900, three tied||9.850, Annette Miele (T-16)|
|Balance Beam||9.917, Leslie Mak, Oregon State||9.725, Brittnee Martinez (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||9.925, Jaime Pisani, Arkansas||9.842, Reema Zakharia (NR)|
Beilstein Lost ... Junior Natalie Beilstein will miss the rest of the 2012 season after suffering an injury on floor at Minnesota (Jan. 21). Beilstein is a two-time NCAA All-American, and also has Big Ten and NCAA Regional titles to her name (both in 2010). [ Brandon's Blog: Women's Gymnastics Facing Challenges ]
Among The Big Ten's Best
The Wolverines, fresh off winning their fifth straight Big Ten championship last year, were picked to finish second in 2012 in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches poll, second to only new conference member Nebraska. Additionally, freshman Sachi Sugiyama and junior Katie Zurales were named Big Ten Women's Gymnasts to Watch. [ Release ]
Led by a dynamic group of seniors, including NCAA all-around champion Kylee Botterman, the Wolverines kept numerous streaks alive in 2011. They won their fifth straight (19th overall) Big Ten title, advanced to their 20th NCAA Regional Championship and reached the NCAA Championships for the 19th time in the last 20 years. In all, Michigan finished sixth at the NCAA Championships, reaching the Super Six for the 10th time in program history (first appearance since 2005). Michigan lost Botterman, Sarah Curtis, Kari Pearce, Jordan Sexton and Trish Wilson to graduation after last season.
Headlining the returning Wolverines are juniors Katie Zurales, Natalie Beilstein and Brittnee Martinez, as well as sophomores Joanna Sampson and Reema Zakharia. Sampson is the 2011 NCAA Regional vault champion and Big Ten runner-up on floor, Zakharia (floor), Beilstein (vault) and Zurales (beam) each placed runner-up in events at regionals, and Martinez tied for sixth on bars at the NCAA Individual Event Finals.
There are two new faces on the 2012 roster in freshmen Annette Miele and Sachi Sugiyama. Miele is a native of Easton, Pa., and trained with Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center. She was a member of the U.S. Junior National Team (2008-09), and was a three-time USA Visa Championships qualifier. Sugiyama is from Keller, Texas, and trained with Top Flight Gymnastics. She placed ninth on all-around at nationals in 2010.
Wolverines in Waiting
On Jan. 11, the Wolverines announced the addition of Lindsay Williams (Northville, Mich./Northville) to its 2013 recruiting class. Williams is the third member of the class, joining prior signees Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East) and Morgan Smith (Clermont, Fla./East Ridge). Williams trains with Splitz Gymnastics in Canton, Mich., and was the 2011 National Invitational Tournament all-around champion. [ Maize and Blue Sign Smith, Sheppard For 2013 Season ] [ Wolverines Add Williams To 2013 Recruiting Class ]
Against The Best
Michigan is rated to have the ninth-toughest slate by CollegeGymFans.com in 2012. The Wolverines will face four preseason top-10 teams this season, including Nebraska at the Master Classic on Feb. 11, Utah on Feb. 17, Oklahoma on Oct. 24 and Georgia on March 9. [ Release ]
The All-Around is the official audio podcast of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team, posted every Tuesday during the competition season to MGoBlue.com. This week's guest is junior Brittnee Martinez. [ iTunes ]
Tickets for the 2012 U-M women's gymnastics season are now on sale. To purchase season or individual meet tickets, go to MGoBlue.com/tickets or call 866-296-MTIX (6849).
Crisler Center Construction Update
Fans attending any of Michigan's home meets this season should be aware of the ongoing renovations made to the Crisler Center. [ Construction Updates ]
Saturday, Feb. 11 -- at Masters Classic with Nebraska, Washington and Southern Utah (Lincoln, Neb.), 6 p.m. CST
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423