Nov. 1, 2012
Welcome to the Weekly Warmup! Each Thursday during the preseason, MGoBlue.com's Brad Rudner will sit down with each member of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team to talk about the preseason training, last season's experience, and what lies ahead for the 2013 season.
This week's edition of the Weekly Warmup features sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas).
Brad: Now that you have one year under your belt, what would you say is the biggest thing you've learned?
Sachi: I've learned how to transition from single pressure to team pressure and that's really helped me. I'm calmer now. Last year, I was getting a grip on how other people depend on me rather than just me competing by myself. I competed alone for three years in level 10, so it was just me. Now, I've got teammates who are depending on me for the team score. That was a big adjustment.
Brad: Last year, you had a pretty difficult series on balance beam and it looks like you've got a pretty tough one on floor, too. Where did you come up with that and how will you expand on your gymnastics this season?
Sachi: Yeah. I definitely want to get the full-in pike on floor this year. I won't have it for the first couple of meets, but hopefully by late January or early February, I'll be confident to put it in. It's been a real struggle. All last year, Shannon had me do drills and now I'm finally able to do it. On balance beam, I was trying to go for a three-series connection, which was a pike jump, back tuck to a straddle half, but it wasn't consistent, so we broke it up into two parts. Now I do beet jump, straddle half in the beginning, and in the end, I do a pike jump, back tuck.
Brad: What did you use as motivation in the gym during the spring and summer?
Sachi: During the spring, I was trying to heal up and strengthen my ankles. Motivation, especially during July, was looking forward to a new year and a fresh start. It's a new team and I wanted to do much better this season.
Brad: You were the Big Ten vault champion last year, winning the title despite being in the morning session. You had to sit in the stands and watch the other teams go. Those had to be some tense times, especially with a team like Nebraska ending on vault.
Sachi: Oh my gosh, I was bouncing back and forth between my parents and my team. My parents wanted to talk to me, but I wanted to be with the team so I could squeeze Stephanie's hand as hard as I could. I remember just watching these vaults go one-by-one, sticking Yurchenko fulls consistently. I wouldn't have held it against any of them if they won because they were so good and so pretty. Every time I would see the judges' scores come up, and I would see a 9.500, I knew that was dropped. I was sweating. The anticipation was awful. Once the last score went up, Joanna looked over at me and sort of yelled that I won, and I freaked out in the stands. People kept texting me, "We can see you in the stands and you're freaking out." It was true. Definitely a high point of my freshman year.
Brad: What one meet are you looking forward to this year more than the rest?
Sachi: The Big Ten Championships and NCAA Regionals. Personally, I want to continue being a Big Ten champion on something. For our team, we want to redeem ourselves at Regionals and say, "Yes, we belong." We want to be a part of that group that goes to nationals. I think that would be an awesome experience. I want a ring. I want a ring really bad. We all do.