Dec. 14, 2011
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. 14). In addition, junior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) and freshman Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) were selected to the 16-member Gymnasts to Watch list.
The Wolverines return nine letterwinners off last year's NCAA Super Six and Big Ten championship squad. There are zero seniors on the 2012 squad but returning are a trio of 2011 NCAA All-Americans from the junior class, including Zurales, Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) and Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty). Michigan has won 18 of the last 20 Big Ten titles -- including a run of five straight -- and has advanced to the last 20 NCAA Regional Championships and 19 of the last 20 NCAA Championships.
First-year member Nebraska was picked to win the conference, followed by Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State. Rounding out the bottom half is Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan State. The 2012 Big Ten Championships will be held on Saturday, March 24, in Iowa City, Iowa.
The Wolverines officially open the 2012 season on Friday, Jan. 13, with a dual meet against No. 18 Ohio State inside Crisler Arena.
BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Kelsey Joannides, Sr., Illinois
Alina Weinstein, Jr., Illinois
Jessa Hansen, Sr., Iowa
Jessica Morreale, Fr., Iowa
Sachi Sugiyama, Fr., Michigan
Katie Zurales, Jr., Michigan
Alina Cartwright, Fr., Michigan State
Taira Neal, So., Michigan State
Shannon Golich, Jr., Minnesota
Kayla Slechta, So., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, Fr., Nebraska
Janelle Giblin, Jr., Nebraska
Colleen Dean, Jr., Ohio State
Sarah Miller, So., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, Jr., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, Jr., Penn State
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423