Feb. 6, 2012
The No. 22-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team (4-0, 3-0 Big Ten) will compete against No. 8 Nebraska (5-1, 1-0 Big Ten), No. 20 Washington (2-3) and Southern Utah (2-4) in the 2012 Masters Classic on Saturday (Feb. 11) at 6 p.m. CST at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. This is U-M's first meet with more than two squads as the team looks for its second straight season with at least a 5-0 start (5-0 start in 2011).
Nebraska is 5-1 on the season and ranked No. 8 in this week's GymInfo Top 25 rankings. Michigan will be the second Big Ten opponent Nebraska has faced since officially joining the conference; the Huskers beat Minnesota in Oklahoma quad last weekend. U-M is 17-19-1 all-time against Nebraska. The two met twice last season, with the Wolverines winning the regular-season meeting (Feb. 13, with Stanford), but Nebraska finishing higher at the NCAA Super Six. This will be Michigan's first trip to Lincoln since Jan. 24, 2010 (L, 196.025-194.725).
Washington is 2-3 on the season and ranked No. 20. The Wolverines won its only meeting head-to-head against Washington at the 1996 Masters Classic.
Southern Utah is 2-4 and is unranked. Michigan has not seen Southern Utah in a meet since the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional, when the Wolverines finished second and Southern Utah finished third. The last time Michigan faced Southern Utah in a dual meet was Jan. 19, 2007 (W, 194.775-188.625).
The Wolverines stayed steady at No. 22 in this week's GymInfo Top 25 rankings, released Monday (Feb. 6). A team's ranking is determined by a team's scoring average. [ Rankings ]
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|Team Average||197.031, Utah||194.381 (22)|
|Vault||49.475, Alabama||49.163, (11)|
|Uneven Bars||49.300, Arkansas||48.744 (16)|
|Balance Beam||49.200, Utah||48.031 (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||49.394, Utah||48.450 (NR)|
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|All-Around||39.550, Ashley Priess, Alabama||38.956, Joanna Sampson (NR)|
|Vault||9.935, Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA||9.875, Sachi Sugiyama (T-21)|
|Uneven Bars||9.896, Mariah Howdeshell, Arkansas||9.806, Sachi Sugiyama (NR)|
|Balance Beam||9.905, Sharaya Musser, Penn State||9.694, Brittnee Martinez (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||9.925, Jaime Pisani, Arkansas||9.838, Reema Zakharia (NR)|
Last Time Out
Michigan improved to 4-0 on the season after beating No. 20 West Virginia, 194.650-194.050, last Friday (Feb. 3) at Crisler Center. [ Recap ] [ Photo Gallery ] [ Postmeet Interview: Bev Plocki | Annette Miele (Facebook) ] [ Michigan Daily: Recap | Sidebar ]
With three more event wins against West Virginia, Michigan gymnasts have won or tied for 13 of 16 event titles so far this season. Additionally, the Wolverines have had three different gymnasts win the all-around: Katie Zurales (Ohio State), Sachi Sugiyama (Minnesota) and Joanna Sampson (West Virginia).
Sophomore Joanna Sampson won her first career all-around title, scoring a career-best 39.300, and finishing among the top three in each event. She tied for event titles on bars (9.900) and floor (9.825), finished second on beam (9.750) and tied for third on vault (9.825). Additionally, Sampson has improved on her all-around score in every meet. She scored a 38.650 in the all-around in Michigan's first two meets, then went 39.225 against Illinois (Jan. 27), before last Friday's 39.300 against West Virginia.
Miele Doing More
After competing on just one event in two meets through the first three weeks of the season, freshman Annette Miele competed in three events against West Virginia. She was inserted into the lineup on beam and bars in place of junior Katie Zurales, scoring a 9.750 on bars (tying for fifth) and a 9.425 on beam. She also competed on floor for the first time as a collegiate gymnast, scoring a 9.575. Miele was slated to compete on vault, as well, but was scratched as the sixth competitor after Michigan hit on its first five routines.
The Wolverines have trailed heading into the final rotation in three of its four meets but rallied for the win in all three. Against West Virginia last Friday, Michigan trailed 146.075-145.825 heading into the final rotation but scored a 48.825 on floor, while WVU went 47.975 on beam, counting a fall in the process, giving Michigan the win.
Michigan's performance on vault has contributed to its 4-0 start to the season. The Wolverines have scored above a 49.000 in every meet this season and rank 11th in the country on that apparatus.
The Wolverines have improved on their team score in each of the last two meets. Since scoring a 193.150 against Minnesota on Jan. 21, the team scored a 194.225 the next week against Illinois (Jan. 27) and then a 194.650 last weekend against West Virginia (Feb. 3). They scored a 195.500 in its season-opening meet against Ohio State on Jan. 13.
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 through the first month of the season without having a loss on its record was 2008.
Junior Natalie Beilstein and sophomore Kristin Nagle will each miss the remainder of the 2012 season. Beilstein suffered her injury while performing on floor at Minnesota on Jan. 21, while Nagle was injured against Illinois on Jan. 27, also on floor. 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 freshman Annette Miele. [ 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 ]
Friday, Feb. 17 -- vs. Utah (Crisler Center), 6 p.m.
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423