April 19, 2010
WE'RE BAAAAAAACK. MICHIGAN RETURNS TO NATIONALS.
Thursday, April 22 -- at NCAA Preliminaries (Gainesville, Fla.), 7 p.m.
Friday, April 23 -- at NCAA Super Six Finals (Gainesville, Fla.), 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 -- at NCAA Individual Event Finals (Gainesville, Fla.), 6 p.m.
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The University of Michigan women's gymnastics team will compete in its 17th NCAA Championships in the last 18 seasons when the ladies head to Gainesville, Fla., to take a shot at its first national title Thursday-Saturday (April 22-24) at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The four-time defending Big Ten champion will be the only conference program represented at nationals after the rest of the Big Ten field was eliminated in regional action.
Michigan will compete in the evening session of prelims. Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Stanford and Missouri will compete with the Wolverines in an attempt to secure one of the top three spots in the prelim to advance to Friday's Super Six. Michigan has faced off against Alabama and Stanford this season, falling in a dual to the Tide in Tuscaloosa and finishing behind the Cardinal at regionals two weeks ago.
Michigan is coming off a second-place showing at regionals where a trio of Wolverines -- senior Jordan Sexton (uneven bars), junior Kylee Botterman (floor exercise and all-around) and Natalie Beilstein (floor exercise) -- each captured individual titles. Michigan will be without the services of freshman Katie Zurales this week after she suffered an injury on balance beam at nationals. Zurales will leave a hole in the vault and beam line-ups after vaulting in every meet this season and competing in the beam line-up nine times.
Michigan's last Super Six appearance was in 2005. The Wolverines have twice finished runner-up at NCAAs but have yet to capture an elusive national championship. The five-time defending national champion Georgia Gym Dawgs failed to advance to NCAAs this year, so collegiate gymnastics will have a brand new champion this season.
THE MICHIGAN WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS RUNDOWN
More Titles Than Any Other Big Ten Women's Sport
The Michigan women's gymnastics program has more Big Ten titles than any other school in any women's sport in the conference, winning the program's 18th title this season.
Four All-Big Ten Selections
Four Wolverines were voted to the 2010 All-Big Ten team. Junior Kylee Botterman and senior Sarah Curtis were named to the first team, while freshman Natalie Beilstein and senior Kelsey Knutson were chosen for the second team. Botterman was a finalist for Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, while Beilstein was a finalist for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Super Six Appearances
Michigan has made nine Super Six appearances, taking runner-up honors in 1995 and again in 1999. Michigan's last Super six appearance was in 2005, where Michigan placed fifth.
Botterman One of U-M's Best
Junior Kylee Botterman is the nation's seventh best all-arounder, ranking 10th in the nation on floor, 11th on bars, 18th on vault and 19th on beam. She has won 24 individual titles this season.
Beilstein Rocks Vault and Floor
Freshman Natalie Beilstein is 18th in the nation on vault and just out of the top 25 on floor, winning nine titles this season.
Plocki Picks Up Hardware
Head coach Beverly Plocki earned her 10th Big Ten Coach of the Year honor (sharing with Illinois' Bob Starkell) after leading Michigan to its fourth straight Big Ten title. She also earned NCAA Regional Coach of the Year honors, picking up her fifth career regional honor. Plocki earned her 400th career victory at Big Tens. She has the highest winning percentage of any active U-M coach at .792, while her win total is third among active U-M coaches behind hockey coach Red Berenson and softball coach Carol Hutchins.
The Michigan Women's Gymnastics Yearbook is Online
Check out the brand new Michigan women's gymnastics yearbook. The fully interactive online publication features the athletes and coaches, Crisler Arena, the Donald R. Shepherd Gymnastics Training Facility and covers the storied history of Michigan women's gymnastics. [ Check it out today! ]
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Contact: Richard Retyi (734) 763-4423