Dec. 4, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As the 2014 season draws closer, the University of Michigan women's gymnastics will host Central Michigan in an exhibition contest on Sunday (Dec. 8) at 2 p.m. inside Crisler Center. Admission to the meet is free.
Last season, Michigan won a share of the inaugural Big Ten regular season championship and qualified to the NCAA Championships for the 19th time in the last 21 seasons, where it finished seventh, just one spot shy of the Super Six. Ten letterwinners return, including senior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland). Sampson had a breakthrough junior season in 2013, culminating with a national championship on floor exercise and a third-place finish in the all-around at the NCAA Championships. She was also the 2013 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. She is one of three captains this season, along with fellow seniors Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) and Reema Zakharia (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables Senior High). Former NCAA All-American Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) is also back after being granted a fifth year of eligibility in June.
The Wolverines must replace two routines on each apparatus following the graduations of 2013 NCAA All-Americans Katie Zuarles and Brittnee Martinez and the sudden retirement of Stephanie Colbert, who was forced to forgo her final season of eligibility due to a wrist injury (she will instead serve as an undergraduate student assistant coach). Helping to offset those losses are a trio of newcomers, including freshmen Nicole Artz (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) and Talia Chiarelli (Boston, Mass./Lexington) and junior Brooke Parker (Lorton, Va./South County Secondary), who comes to Michigan after spending two years at Alabama.
The Wolverines are 33-5 all-time against Central Michigan. The two teams previously met in a quad meet at Minnesota last January, with Michigan winning, 196.775-194.650. Sunday's results will not be official and will not count towards each team's regular season scoring averages or dual-meet records.
Like in years past, Michigan will face a difficult schedule this season, with seven match-ups against teams that qualified to last year's NCAA Championships. The home slate includes dual meets against rivals Ohio State (Jan. 25) and Michigan State (Jan. 31) and a tri-meet against PAC-12 foes UCLA and Utah (March 7). Five of the team's first seven meets take place away from Ann Arbor, including road contests at Illinois (Feb. 7) and Nebraska (Feb. 14) and a neutral-site quad meet with Alabama, Oklahoma and West Virginia at the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Feb. 21.
The Wolverines also host one of two Big Ten quad meets at the end of the regular season, with the top two teams at each quad advancing to the evening session of the Big Ten Championships (held March 22 at Penn State). On Saturday, March 15, Michigan will host Iowa, Minnesota and Penn State, with the meet beginning at 1:30 p.m. The other quad is held in East Lansing, Mich., where Michigan State will host Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio State.
NCAA Regionals are scheduled for Saturday, April 5 at the following sites: Minnesota, Washington, Georgia, LSU, Arkansas and Penn State. The NCAA Championships will be held from April 18-20 at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham, Ala.
Following the exhibition, the entire Michigan team will sign autographs. It will be the only time the team signs autographs this season.
Season tickets are on sale now, while single-meet tickets will go on sale Monday, Dec. 16. To purchase, call 1-866-296-MTIX or go online at www.mgoblue.com/tickets.
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423