Sampson Named Most Valuable Gymnast at Postseason Banquet
Joanna Sampson

May 5, 2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Nine members of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team took home team awards at its annual postseason banquet on Sunday afternoon (May 5) at the Polo Fields Golf and Country Club, highlighted by junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland), who was named Most Valuable Performer for the second consecutive year.

Two weeks ago, Sampson became the fourth gymnast in the 37-year history of the program to win an individual national championship (joining Beth Wymer, Elise Ray and Kylee Botterman) when she won the floor exercise title at the individual event finals of the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles, Calif. She was a three-time NCAA All-American this season, earning first team honors in the all-around, on vault and on floor exercise. Sampson was also named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and NCAA Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year, finishing with the third-highest single-season scoring average in the all-around in program history (39.434).

Graduating senior co-captain Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) was given the team's Leadership Award for the second straight season. She concluded her career with seven NCAA All-America honors (including four this season) and was national runner-up on balance beam at this year's NCAA Championships. Zurales also shared Big Ten (vault) and NCAA Regional (balance beam) individual event titles this season. She was Michigan's female recipient of the 2013 Big Ten Medal of Honor and was named one of the six finalists for the 2013 AAI Award, given annually to the nation's top senior women's gymnast.

Junior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) was tabbed as the team's Most Improved Gymnast. An event specialist, she was in the lineup on uneven bars and balance beam in all 14 meets, setting career highs in both of those events and floor exercise this season. Gies was an All-Big Ten second team selection.

Juniors Teresa Arthur (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) and Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) shared the team's Scholar-Athlete Award. Both women will be three-time NACGC/W Scholar All-Americans and are two-time Academic All-Big Ten selections.

Sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) was given the Coaches Award. She was an All-Big Ten first team selection this season and one of the team's highest scorers, averaging 9.861 on floor exercise and 9.841 on vault.

Senior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) was given the Unsung Hero Award. She was an uneven bars and balance beam specialist this season, earning NCAA All-America second team honors on uneven bars. Martinez was also an All-Big Ten first team selection, NCAA Regional champion (uneven bars), Big Ten Championships runner-up (uneven bars) and Academic All-Big Ten selection this season.

Freshman Lindsay Williams (Northville, Mich./Northville) was given the Newcomer Award. Part of a four-person freshman class and the only member of the team from the state of Michigan, Williams served as the team's backup on uneven bars and balance beam for most of the season.

Lastly, junior Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High) was given the 10.0 Spirit Award. Primarily a floor-exercise specialist (averaged 9.857 in 2013), Zakharia is also one of the team's most versatile performers, as she was in the vault lineup four times and in the balance beam lineup twice.


Most Valuable Performer: Joanna Sampson
Most Improved: Shelby Gies
Coaches Award: Sachi Sugiyama
Leadership Award: Katie Zurales
Newcomer Award: Lindsay Williams
Scholar-Athlete Award: Teresa Arthur, Stephanie Colbert
Unsung Hero: Brittnee Martinez
10.0 Spirit Award: Reema Zakharia

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

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