April 9, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The NCAA announced on Monday (April 9) the rotation schedule and individual competitor assignments for the preliminary round at the NCAA Championships, pairing University of Michigan women's gymnastics junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) with Arkansas and Wolverine sophomore Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) with Oregon State. Both will compete in the second preliminary session, to be held on Friday, April 20, at 6 p.m. inside the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
Zurales will compete in the all-around after finishing fourth at the NCAA Auburn Regional last Saturday (April 7), scoring 39.375. She qualified for NCAAs by virtue of being one of the two highest finishers in the all-around that was not on a qualifying team. Zurales' best event this year has been vault, where she has averaged 9.875 per routine and scored nine top-five finishes. She tied Sampson and Auburn's Kylie Shields for the regional title (9.925) and was an All-American on that event last season. Her rotation order for NCAAs will go floor-vault-bye-bars-beam-bye.
Sampson will compete on vault only, after tying Zurales and Shields for the regional title. Vault has also been Sampson's best event this season, as she has scored a top-five place in every meet, including a tie or an outright title in five of them. She will perform her vault during the third rotation.
The top four finishers on each event in each session (including ties) will advance to the individual event finals, which will be held on Sunday, April 22, at 1 p.m. Similarly, the top four finishers in each event at each session will earn All-America first team honors, while the fifth through eighth finishers will earn All-America second team honors. For all-around awards, the scores from both sessions are combined with the highest earning the individual national title, the top four picking up All-America first team honors and the fifth through eighth finishers earning All-America second team accolades.
Though Michigan missed out on qualifying as a team for just the third time in the last 21 seasons (did not qualify in 1992 or 2009), it has sent a team or individual(s) to 19 straight NCAA Championships. In program history, the Wolverines have had three athletes win seven individual NCAA titles (including Kylee Botterman in 2011), 28 athletes earn 84 All-America first team honors and 31 athletes earn 62 All-America second team honors.
N O T E S
The last Wolverine to reach the NCAA Championships as an individual all-arounder (not as part of a team) was Sarah Curtis in 2009. Curtis was joined by Becky Bernard (uneven bars) and Kylee Botterman (floor exercise) as individuals.
U-M has had two NCAA all-around champions -- Elise Ray in 2001 (tie with UCLA's Onnie Willis) and Kylee Botterman in 2011.
Michigan has never had an NCAA vault champion.
Katie Zurales' season high in the all-around was a 39.450 against Georgia on March 9. Her season high on vault is a 9.925, while her season bests on the other three events are all 9.900s.
Joanna Sampson's season high is a 9.950 on vault. She has gone above 9.825 on vault in every meet this year and has top-five finishes on vault in every meet.
The Wolverines have had a first or second team All-American in every NCAA Championships dating back to 1992.
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423