Dec. 12, 2012
PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team was picked to finish second in the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced on Wednesday (Dec. 12). Senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) and junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) were named to the 16-person Gymnasts to Watch list.
Defending Big Ten champion Nebraska was picked to finish first. Michigan will face all seven Big Ten teams during the 2012 season, beginning with a showdown with seventh-ranked Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 12, inside Crisler Center.
Last season, Michigan finished fourth in the Big Ten and third at the NCAA Auburn Regional. Though they did not qualify as a team, the Wolverines sent Sampson and senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) to the NCAA Championships as individual qualifiers, where Zurales received two NCAA All-America honors. Michigan enters this season aiming for its 19th Big Ten title in 22 seasons and also looks to return to the NCAA Championships as a team for the 20th time in 22 seasons.
The Wolverines officially open the 2013 season on Friday, Jan. 4, facing No. 9 Oregon State and BYU at the Cancun Invitational in Cancun, Mexico.
Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Coaches' Poll
3. Ohio State
4. Penn State
8. Michigan State
Big Ten Women's Gymnasts to Watch
Giana O'Connor, Fr., Illinois
Alina Weinstein, Sr., Illinois
Emma Stevenson, Sr., Iowa
Emma Willis, So., Iowa
Natalie Beilstein, Sr., Michigan
Joanna Sampson, Jr., Michigan
Lisa Burt, Fr., Michigan State
Nicola Deans, Fr., Michigan State
Janell Campbell, Sr., Minnesota
Lindsay Mable, Fr., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, So., Nebraska
Emily Wong, Jr., Nebraska
Sarah Miller, Jr., Ohio State
Melanie Shaffer, Jr., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, Sr., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, Sr., Penn State
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423