April 1, 2013
The All-Around Podcast | Bev Plocki on WKTA Insider
Saturday, April 6 -- at NCAA Morgantown Regional (Morgantown, W. Va.), 6 p.m.
Event Information: TICKETS | Live Results | Championships Central
Live Video: Vault/Floor Exercise | Uneven Bars/Balance Beam
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The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team (23-2), which qualified for the postseason for the 22nd straight year, competes at the NCAA Morgantown Regional on Saturday (April 6) in Morgantown, W. Va. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. inside WVU Coliseum.
Michigan is the No. 1 seed at the six-team regional and will be joined by No. 8 Nebraska, No. 17 Illinois, No. 19 Kentucky, host West Virginia and North Carolina. The Wolverines will rotate in Olympic order, starting on vault and ending on floor exercise. They will have byes after vault and before floor exercise. The top two teams at the Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, set for April 19-21 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Tickets for the NCAA Morgantown Regional can be purchased through the Mountaineer Ticket Office. All tickets are general admission. Tickets purchased in advance cost $12, while tickets purchased at the gate are $15. Additionally, for groups of 10 or more, tickets cost $9. Gates to WVU Coliseum open at 4 p.m. [ Purchase: Online | Phone (1-800-WVU-GAME) ]
Michigan dropped one spot to No. 5 in the final GymInfo/Troester rankings of the regular season (197.235). Despite moving down one spot in the rankings, the Wolverines did raise their RQS, including their score from the Big Ten Championships (197.225).
The Wolverines rank among the top 10 nationally on all four events -- fourth on vault (49.435), uneven bars (49.370) and floor exercise (49.450) and tied for eighth on balance beam (49.185). Junior Joanna Sampson is ranked fifth in the all-around (39.580), tied for first on floor exercise (9.950), tied for eighth on vault (9.920) and tied for 13th on uneven bars (9.900). Senior Katie Zurales is tied for 17th in the all-around (39.390) and is also ranked on three events: tied for 17th on vault (9.910) and tied for 22nd on both uneven bars (9.885) and balance beam (9.880).
||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)
||MICHIGAN (NATIONAL RANK)
||39.660, Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA
||39.580, Joanna Sampson (5)
||39.390, Katie Zurales (19)
||9.970, Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA
||9.920, Joanna Sampson (T-8)
||9.910, Katie Zurales (T-17)
||9.955, Bridget Sloan, Florida
||9.900, Joanna Sampson (T-13)
||9.885, Katie Zurales (T-22)
||9.945, Taylor Spears, Oklahoma
||9.880, Katie Zurales (T-22)
||9.950, Joanna Sampson, MICHIGAN
9.950, Lloimincia Hall, LSU
The rankings are determined by regional qualifying score (RQS). A team's RQS is calculated by taking its six highest scores, at least three of which must be from road meets. The highest score is dropped and the remaining five are averaged. The team's RQS for Regionals is based on its results from the following meets:
1. 197.550 - March 10 at UCLA, vs. California, vs. Iowa State (A)
2. 197.375 - Feb. 16 vs. Penn State (H)
3. 197.350 - Jan. 19 vs. Illinois (H)
4. 197.300 - March 2 at Michigan State (A)
5. 197.225 - March 23 at Big Ten Championships (A)
6. 196.925 - Feb. 8 at Ohio State (A)
Michigan has qualified for NCAA Regionals in 22 consecutive seasons dating back to 1992. In those 22 years, the Wolverines have qualified to the NCAA Championships as a team 18 times (not in 1992, 2009 or 2012).
This will be the Wolverines' second trip to Morgantown this season, winning a quad meet back on Feb. 24 (196.925). Additionally, this is the second time in four years that the Wolverines will compete at West Virginia for Regionals, as they were also sent to Morgantown in 2010, when they finished second (195.700).
Michigan has won nine NCAA Regional championships in its history (1982, 1997, 1999-01, 2003, 2005-06, 2011) and has crowned at least one individual champion in 19 of the last 21 meets (none in 1996 or 2008). The Wolverines have won 54 individual NCAA Regional titles in their history (18 on uneven bars, 11 each in the all-around, on vault and on floor exercise, three on balance beam; including ties).
There are three former NCAA Regional individual champions on the roster: Joanna Sampson (vault -- 2011, 2012), Katie Zurales (vault - 2012) and Natalie Beilstein (floor exercise - 2010). Regional awards for Gymnast of the Year, Coach of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year will be announced on Saturday.
This season, Michigan has put up program-best scoring averages in overall score (197.033) and on three apparatuses: vault (49.323), balance beam (49.108) and floor exercise (49.367). It also has its second-highest season average on uneven bars (49.235). Individually, Joanna Sampson is averaging 39.448 in the all-around this season, which, if the season ended today, would be the third-best season average in program history behind only Elise Ray (39.458 in 2004) and Kylee Botterman (39.450 in 2011). Data inputted to GymInfo/Troester began in 1998.
Joanna Sampson was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year at the conclusion of the Big Ten Championships. She is the seventh U-M gymnast to receive the honor and first since Kylee Botterman in 2011. For the season, Sampson has seven all-around wins (11 for her career) and has won or shared the floor exercise title in nine meets, scoring below 9.925 only twice. For her career, she has 18 scores of 39.000 or above in the all-around, good for 11th most in program history.
Katie Zurales won the program's 78th Big Ten individual title after tying for first on vault (9.950) at the Big Ten Championships. The Wolverines have crowned at least one Big Ten individual champion in 23 straight Big Ten Championships. A Michigan gymnast has also won the vault title for the third time in the last four years, joining Natalie Beilstein in 2010 and Sachi Sugiyama in 2012. Beilstein, Zurales, Brittnee Martinez and Joanna Sampson were each named to the All-Big Ten Championships Team.
Teresa Arthur, Stephanie Colbert, Brittnee Martinez, Sachi Sugiyama and Katie Zurales received Academic All-Big Ten honors last Wednesday (March 27). To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. [ Release ]
Through 12 meets, Michigan gymnasts have won or shared 37 of a possible 48 event titles (77 percent) and scored at or above 49.000 in 44 of 48 rotations.
Q: There was some disappointment after finishing second at the Big Ten Championships. How did the team respond to that in practices last week?
A: I think they responded incredibly well. We had a great week of practice all week and ended on a high note, which was extremely encouraging. We were able to rest a couple of people in a few spots with having the weekend off so we didn't beat anybody up. Hopefully people are feeling a little bit better, a little bit fresher this week going into Regionals.
Q: Every week, it seems, this team has learned a new lesson. What did they learn about themselves coming out of the Big Ten Championships?
A: We have to make sure that we're doing what we do. We can't let any outside distractions effect our own individual abilities to perform our gymnastics at a high level.
Q: One of your team's ultimate goals every season is to make it to the NCAA Championships, but to get there, you've got to finish top two at NCAA Regionals this Saturday in Morgantown. What's it going to take from this team to get there?
A: You know, it's like I've said a thousand times, we need to do what we do. We need to be as good as we are. We need to perform the same way on Saturday that we have during the bulk of the regular season, trust in our abilities and have confidence. We have a good rotation, Olympic order. Hopefully that gives them some confidence going into the competition, as well.
Q: After Big Tens, you mentioned the team looked a little tight in their performances and needed to be more aggressive. How do you fix those things?
A: We just talked a little bit about what the atmosphere was and what were the things that created the situations that made them a little tight. They've learned this season that when there is a fall, it isn't a big deal. We can still throw out that score. If everyone performs to their potential, it doesn't become a problem. I just think early on at Big Tens, we wanted to come out of the gate on floor and show everyone what we could do. We had a fall early and as a result, I think people got tight right off the bat. You can't treat a championships situation differently. I think at Big Tens, we put some more pressure on ourselves.
Q: At this point in the year, after all the hard work put in over the last year and knowing how last year ended, does this team need any more motivation heading into Saturday?
A: Absolutely not. My concern, if I even have one, is not whether they're motivated. I'm very confident with this group. I think we need to guard more against putting too much pressure on ourselves and making it too important. Let's just go out there and do what we need to do.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan finished second at the Big Ten Championships, held back on March 23 in East Lansing, Mich. Katie Zurales shared a Big Ten individual championship on vault, while Joanna Sampson was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. [ Recap ]
Fri-Sun., April 19-21 -- at NCAA Championships (Los Angeles, Calif.)
OTHER RELATED LINKS
The All-Around (Tuesday) -- Natalie Beilstein and Shelby Gies
Bev Plocki on WTKA 1050 AM (Friday at 8:05 a.m.)
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423