Dec. 15, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's gymnastics program was picked to finish first in the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Preseason Poll, voted on by the conference coaches. Five-time All-America senior Kylee Botterman (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central) and All-America sophomore Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) were each selected for the Big Ten's 14-member Gymnasts to Watch list.
The four-time defending Big Ten champion Wolverines return nine letterwinners, five All-Americans and three Big Ten champions to a program with more Big Ten team titles (18) than any other conference women's program in any sport. Botterman, fifth-year senior Sarah Curtis (Reno, Nev./Reno), fifth-year senior Jordan Sexton (Weddington, N.C./Weddington) and senior Trish Wilson (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) captain a roster of gymnasts that have never lost at a Big Ten Championships.
All-Big Ten first team honorees Botterman and Curtis join defending Big Ten vault champion Beilstein looking to make a run at a 19th Big Ten title.
Illinois was picked second after finishing sixth at Big Tens in 2010 and Penn State was chosen third after its runner-up finish last season. Both programs are welcoming new head coaches to their programs. The 2011 Big Ten Championships will be held on Saturday, March 18, in Minneapolis, Minn.
2011 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
1. Michigan 2. Illinois 3. Penn State 4. Iowa 5. Minnesota T6. Michigan State T6. Ohio State
2011 PRESEASON BIG TEN WOMEN'S GYMNASTS TO WATCH
Allison Buckley, Sr., Illinois
Melissa Fernandez, Sr., Illinois
Houry Gebeshian, Sr., Iowa
Rebecca Simbhudas, Sr., Iowa
Natalie Beilstein, So., Michigan
Kylee Botterman, Sr., Michigan
Kathryn Mahoney, Sr., Michigan State
Shanthi Teike, So., Michigan State
Kendra Elm, Sr., Minnesota
Kristin Furukawa, Sr., Minnesota
Rebecca Best, Sr., Ohio State
Sarah Miller, Fr., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, So., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, So., Penn State