Sampson Named Most Valuable Performer at Team Banquet

April 23, 2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan sophomore women's gymnast Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) was named Most Valuable Performer at the team's annual postseason banquet, held on Monday evening (April 23) at Ann Arbor's original Cottage Inn. Junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) took home three awards on the night, while freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) grabbed two.

Sampson competed in the all-around in 12 of the 13 meets this season. She qualified for the NCAA Championships, participating last Friday (April 20) as an individual event specialist after finishing in a three-way tie for the vault title at the NCAA Auburn Regional on April 7, her second consecutive NCAA Regional title on that event. Sampson scored 9.750 or above in 41 of her 49 routines. She was also named to the 2012 All-Big Ten Championships team after finishing runner-up on vault.

Zurales was given a trio of awards, including Most Improved, the Leadership Award and the 10.0 Spirit Award. She represented Michigan at the 2012 NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier, earning NCAA All-America second team honors on vault (seventh) and in the all-around (eighth). She scored 39.450 in the all-around, tying a career high, and also achieved the highest all-around score of any Big Ten gymnast at the national meet in either session. Zurales also shared the NCAA Auburn Regional vault title and was named second team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten. Zurales set new career-high scores on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, as well as in the all-around this season.

Sugiyama won the Coaches Award and the Newcomer Award. As one of two freshmen on the squad this season, Sugiyama competed in the all-around in 10 of 12 meets, scoring above 39.000 in six of them. Her biggest accomplishment of the season came on March 24 at the Big Ten Championships, when she became the program's 77th Big Ten individual champion after winning the vault title with a 9.950 score. She was also the runner-up on uneven bars, making the All-Big Ten Championships team for her efforts.

Sophomore tri-captain Teresa Arthur (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) was given the team's Scholar-Athlete Award. Arthur, an organizational studies major, was named an Academic All-Big Ten selection last month, and will be a two-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award.

The recipient of this year's Unsung Hero Award went to Lisa Hass, the team's athletic trainer. Hass has spent the last 21 years as the team's athletic trainer and named an honorary member of the M Letterwinners Club last fall.

Most Valuable Performer: Joanna Sampson
Most Improved: Katie Zurales
Coaches Award: Sachi Sugiyama
Leadership Award: Katie Zurales
Newcomer Award: Sachi Sugiyama
Scholar-Athlete Award: Teresa Arthur
Unsung Hero: Lisa Hass (Athletic Trainer)
10.0 Spirit Award: Katie Zurales

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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