Feb. 20, 2012
The No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) returns to the road, traveling to Norman, Okla., for a tri-meet with No. 2 Oklahoma and Texas Woman's University on Friday (Feb. 24). The meet will start at 7 p.m. CST at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Due to scheduled renovations at Crisler Center, the Georgia meet on March 9 has been moved to the EMU Convocation Center in nearby Ypsilanti, Mich., and a 7 p.m. start. Additionally, the Wolverines' meet on March 16 with Michigan State will be held inside Cliff Keen Arena. The meet will start at 6 p.m. and be televised live to a national audience on the Big Ten Network. [ Meet Information ] [ BUY TICKETS ]
The Wolverines stayed at No. 21 in this week's GymInfo Top 25 rankings, released Monday (Feb. 20). A team's ranking is determined by its scoring average but starting next Monday (Feb. 27), it will be determined by RQS (regional qualifying score).
Qualification for regional competition is based on a team's and an all-around competitor's six best regular-season-meet scores, of which three must be away. To obtain the regional qualifying score (RQS), the high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged. [ Rankings ]
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|Team Average||196.929, Florida||194.700 (21)|
|Vault||49.421, Alabama||49.133 (11)|
|Uneven Bars||49.300, Florida||48.783 (16)|
|Balance Beam||49.239, Florida||48.225 (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||49.204, Utah||48.558 (NR)|
|NCAA LEADER||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)|
|All-Around||39.550, Ashley Priess, Alabama||39.058, Joanna Sampson (NR)|
|Vault||9.938, Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA||9.867, Sachi Sugiyama (NR)|
|Uneven Bars||9.892, Janelle Giblin, Nebraska||9.792, Sachi Sugiyama (NR)|
|Balance Beam||9.950, Erica Brewer, Oklahoma||9.704, Brittnee Martinez (NR)|
|Floor Exercise||9.925, Jaime Pisani, Arkansas||9.840, Reema Zakharia (NR)|
Oklahoma vaulted up to No. 2 in the nation after defeating No. 16 Missouri, 197.400-196.375, last Friday (Feb. 17) in Columbia, Mo. The Sooners are 13-2 on the season, and 2-0 in Big 12 action. Additionally, Oklahoma became the first school this season to post four scores of 197-plus on the road.
The Sooners have averaged 196.784 per meet this season. They rank second in the country on balance beam (49.234), fourth on vault (49.288), fifth on floor exercise (49.138) and sixth on uneven bars (49.125).
Texas Woman's University is 6-4 on the season and has beaten Centenary in back-to-back weeks. It scored a season-best 194.200 on Feb. 11.
Michigan is 6-5 all-time against Oklahoma. The Sooners beat the Wolverines twice last season, winning the head-to-head meeting in Ann Arbor, 196.650-196.275, and at the NCAA Super Six.
Tough Competition Coming
Coming off of last week's loss to No. 1 Utah, the Wolverines have four meets remaining this season. Three of Michigan's foes are currently ranked in the top 10, including Oklahoma (No. 2), Georgia (No. 3) and Penn State (No. 10).
Last Time Out
Despite winning or tying for a title in three events, the Wolverines dropped a tightly scored contest to No. 1 Utah, 196.050-194.850, last Friday (Feb. 17) inside Crisler Center. [ Recap ] [ Photo Gallery ] [ Michigan Daily Coverage: Recap | Sidebar ] [ Postmeet Interview: Shelby Gies (Facebook) ]
Sampson a Rising Star
Sophomore Joanna Sampson shined against Utah, winning the all-around title with a score of 39.250. It was her second career all-around win, the other coming on Feb. 3 against West Virginia. She also won the floor title, tying a career-high 9.925. Additionally, Sampson has scored above 9.775 in 21 of her 24 routines in competition this season.
Sophomore Shelby Gies has competed on uneven bars and balance beam in each of Michigan's six meets this season but has worked toward adding a third event. Gies was initially supposed to be exhibitioning on floor but was inserted into the lineup at the last second and scored a 9.700 in what was her first floor routine in a collegiate meet.
Michigan gymnasts have won or tied for 17 of 24 event titles so far this season. Additionally, the Wolverines have had three different gymnasts win at least one all-around title; Joanna Sampson has won it twice (West Virginia, Utah), while Sachi Sugiyama (Minnesota) and Katie Zurales (Ohio State) have each won it once.
Strength at the Start
Michigan has scored above a 49.000 on vault in every meet this season, ranking No. 11 in the country for that event (49.133 average). It is also ranked No. 16 on uneven bars with a 48.873 average.
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 faces 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 on MGoBlue.com. This week's guest is sophomore Teresa Arthur. [ 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).
Friday, March 2 -- at Penn State, with North Carolina and Centenary (State College, Pa.), 7 p.m.
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423