March 21, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The NCAA selection committee announced Monday (March 21) that the second-seeded and No. 9-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team will welcome No. 4 Stanford, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 21 Iowa State, No. 23 Minnesota and No. 24 Kent State to the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional Championships on Saturday (April 2) at 6 p.m. in Crisler Arena. Tickets are on sale now by calling 1-866-296-MTIX (6849) or visiting MGoBlue.com/tickets.
Michigan hosts regionals for the seventh time in program history and the first since 2007. The Wolverines qualify for their 20th straight NCAA regional and are looking to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 18th time in the last 19 seasons. The top two teams in each of the six NCAA Regional Championships will advance to the NCAA Championships, held April 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Senior and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Kylee Botterman (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Cetnral) leads the Wolverines into the NCAA postseason along with fifth-year senior and Big Ten balance beam champion Jordan Sexton (Weddington, N.C./Weddington). The Wolverines won their fifth straight Big Ten title last week, defeating five conference opponents ranked in the top 21, including No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Iowa, No. 15 Ohio State, No. 16 Illinois and No. 21 Minnesota.
The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal make their second trip this season to Crisler Arena after finishing first at the Michigan Tri meet on Feb. 13 against the eighth-ranked Wolverines and ninth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Stanford and Michigan square off at an NCAA regional for the fourth time in program history and the third year in a row with the Cardinal holding a 3-1 edge, including wins in Fayetteville, Ark. (2009) and Morgantown, W.Va. (2010). Michigan's lone regional victory over Stanford came in 2001 with the Wolverines as the host school.
The Cardinal entered last week's Pac-10 Championships with just one loss on the season but finished a disappointing fourth behind eventual champion No. 5 Oregon State, No. 6 UCLA and No. 17 Washington, coached by former Wolverine assistant Joanne Bowers. Stanford sophomore Ashley Morgan was the team's only Pac-10 champion, scoring 9.900 on the floor exercise to win the title. Stanford has advanced to nationals in each of the last three seasons, taking third at the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Regional third seed and No. 16-ranked Ohio State took fifth at the Big Ten Championships last week and continues one of the best seasons in the last 20 years of Buckeye gymnastics. Big Ten Freshman of the Year Sarah Miller and Big Ten Coach of the Year Carey Fagan have kept the Buckeyes among the top 20 teams in the nation 10 out of 11 weeks this season, but Michigan has dominated Ohio State gymnastics the last 20 years, winning each of the last 35 meetings against the Buckeyes dating back to the 1991 season. This is the first NCAA regional meeting between Michigan and Ohio State in program history. Ohio State has not made an appearance at the NCAA Championships since 1990.
At-large seed and 21st-ranked Iowa State took third at the Big 12 Championships, finishing behind champions No. 11 Nebraska and No. 4 Oklahoma. Iowa State gymnasts earned Big 12 Gymnast of the Year (Michelle Browning) and Freshman of the Year (Michelle Shealy). Michigan leads the all-time series against Iowa State, 14-1, with the only U-M loss coming in 1980. This is the seventh time that Michigan and Iowa State compete against each other at the regional championships, with Michigan coming out on top in each of the six previous meetings, including two regional wins in Ann Arbor. Iowa State finished third behind Michigan in 2003 and 2004, denying the Cyclones a trip to nationals. Iowa State's last trip to the NCAA Championships was in 2006.
Michigan welcomes a second Big Ten school to Ann Arbor, the at-large and 23rd-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Michigan is riding a seven-meet win streak over Minnesota, winning 21 of the last 22 meetings with the lone loss coming at the 2006 Big Ten Championships. Michigan and Minnesota will face each other for the fifth time in an NCAA regional with Michigan coming out on top in each of the previous four matchups. Minnesota's last NCAA Championships appearance was in 2002.
Rounding out the field is at-large seed and 24th-ranked Kent State, which finished second at the MAC Championships, losing to champions Central Michigan. The Golden Flashes are having one of their most successful seasons in program history, consistently ranking in the top-25 all year and sweeping the MAC awards. Senior Christina Lenny was named Co-Gymnast and MAC Senior of the Year, sophomore Lindsay Runyan was named Specialist of the Year and freshman Marie Case was named MAC Freshman of the Year. Michigan defeated then No. 11 Kent State on Jan. 29 in Crisler Arena at the height of the Golden Flashes' season and the team has steadily slipped in the rankings since. Michigan and Kent State have only faced each other four times since 1989, with the Wolverines taking all four meetings (2003, 2009, 2010 and 2011). In their only regional matchup, the Wolverines defeated Kent State at the 2010 Morgantown Regional Championships, taking second place to Kent State's fifth-place showing.
The top two teams, the top two all-around gymnasts and any event winner not on a qualifying team receive berths into the 12-team field at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Joining the six teams in the regional championships are all-around competitors Luisa Leal-Restrepo (Rutgers), Monica Mesalles (Bridgeport), Dana Bonincontri (Penn), Emily Lutfey (Brown) and Jenna Zito (Rutgers) and individual event specialists Molly Moyer (Pitt), Alyssa Adrian (Pitt), Melanie Standridge (Cornell) and Danielle D'Elia (Rutgers).
Each of the six regional sites is comprised of three seeded teams ranked among the top 18 in the nation. The remaining three spots in each regional are filled in geographically by the No. 19 to No. 36 squads in the nation.
Contact: Richard Retyi (734) 763-4423