The Weekly Warmup: Morgan Smith

Dec. 6, 2012

Welcome to the Weekly Warmup! Each Thursday during the preseason,'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 freshman Morgan Smith.

Brad: Even though you weren't here last season, you undoubtedly know the adversity this team faced. As a freshman, what has been the message relayed to you regarding your role in helping the team bounce back this season?
Morgan: The message is the same. We just have to realize how much depth is on this team and how hard everyone is working. We want to push each other to be the best they can be, because that will help the team in the end.

Brad: You have a very extensive (and successful) club career. How do you think your skills translate to the college stage?
Morgan: I think it's a little different. You don't do as many skills but you have to do them clean. You don't get the added bonus like you do in elite club. It provides a little different perspective. Here, everything is for the team. You've got to correlate to what will help the team win in each routine you do.

Brad: You've got nearly one semester of college life down. How would you grade it? Have you handled the transition well?
Morgan: It's gone pretty well. It's a little overwhelming sometimes, but it has picked up and it's definitely easier to deal with. I think the biggest change has been not having my family around. It's a different schedule every day rather than just déjà vu every day. You've got to take care of homework and put everything together.

Brad: Let's talk about the exhibition tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 7) against Michigan State. It's only an exhibition and the scores don't count in the grand scheme of things, but why is this meet so important?
Morgan: It's so important because it pumps your adrenaline a little harder. You get practice in figuring out your nerves in a meet setting, which is especially helpful before the season starts.

Brad: Finally, talk to me about the team's captains -- Katie Zurales and Joanna Sampson. How influential have they been to you personally, being a freshman, and what have you learned from them about being a Michigan women's gymnast?
Morgan: They're great captains. They both have their own strategies. Katie is very good at cheering you on and knowing when to pick you up, whereas Joanna is a very good motivator. They both have different characteristics that bring us all together. It just works well. They push you in many ways.

Previous Entries:
Sept. 20 - Katie Zurales
Sept. 27 - Stephanie Colbert
Oct. 4 - Annette Miele
Oct. 11 - Austin Sheppard
Oct. 18 - Natalie Beilstein
Oct. 25 - Reema Zakharia
Nov. 1 - Sachi Sugiyama
Nov. 8 - Lindsay Williams
Nov. 15 - Scott Sherman and Shannon Welker
Nov. 21 - Brittnee Martinez
Nov. 28 - Shelby Gies

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