Three Junior Olympic National Champions Commit to Michigan

Nov. 19, 2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's gymnastics program received National Letters of Intent from three Junior Olympic national champions during the early signing period (Nov. 11-18): Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Nequa Valley), Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) and Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland).

Colbert (2008 national floor exercise champion), Sampson (2008 uneven bars champion) and Gies (2005 uneven bars champion) all have national titles on their resumes, with Colbert also finishing runner-up on vault in 2008 and Sampson taking second in the all-around in 2008.

"We are excited about this class," said head coach Bev Plocki, "and we think they have the potential to come in and make a big impact immediately."

Colbert is a level-10 gymnast competing for the Phenom Gymnastics Club. She won a national floor title and finishing runner-up on vault in 2008 after winning regional titles on vault, balance beam and floor exercise. In 2007, Colbert finished third on beam, fourth on vault and fifth in the all-around while capturing beam and floor titles at regionals. Colbert has a connection to two current Wolverines, competing for the same club as freshman Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) and attending the same high school as junior Trish Wilson (Naperville, Ill./Nequa Valley).

Shelby Gies

"Stephanie is a powerful gymnast who is phenomenal on vault and floor," said Plocki. "She's strong in the all-around, but her vault is something special."

Gies is a level-10 gymnast competing for Will-Moor Gymnastics. She won the regional all-around title in 2007 and captured a national title on bars in 2005.

"Shelby is coming off an injury and we're hoping she's 100 percent when she gets here so she can jump right in," said Plocki. "She won't be competing this year, but we expect she'll be ready in the fall of 2010. Shelby is a great bars and beam gymnast with good all-around skills, and I'm looking forward to coaching her on beam."

Sampson, a level-10 gymnast competing for the Ricochets Gymnastics Club, won a national title on bars and took runner-up in the all-around in 2008. She captured the all-around title at regionals in 2008 and was on the Junior Olympic National Team.

Joanna Sampson

"Joanna is going to be a solid all-around athlete for us," said Plocki. "She's well rounded in each event and can hit on any day. She'll add depth across our lineup."

The Wolverines will debut at their annual Maize and Blue Intrasquad on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at Crisler Arena. The event will feature celebrity judges and giveaways with details forthcoming on

Contact: Richard Retyi (734) 763-4423

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