Michigan does it again. This Michigan team started as the favorite when the season began with Olympian Sam Mikulak and an incredible supporting cast of Syque Caesar, Stacey Ervin and Konner Ackerman.
Michigan finishes the season 30-0--perfect record for the first time in 40 years and wins their SECOND STRAIGHT NCAA National Championship.
Watch the celebration on BTN right now.
While most of us were otherwise occupied, the Men's Gymnastics Team won their second straight Big Ten Championship, generally considered the strongest conference for gymnastics. Sam Mikulak, defending B1G, NCAA and U.S. champion, successfully defended his title by a generous margin, winning 4 out of 6 events outright, scoring above 15 on all events and an almost unheard of score of 16 or over on two (high bar and parallel bars). (The scoring is unlike the traditional limit of a perfect 10, which the women still use. Enough to know that on the elite level a score in the 14.00's is good and above 15.00 is championship material.)
The bad news is that Stacey Ervin, who can actually beat the Mighty Mikulak on floor, tore his biceps on parallel bars, but, as seems to be traditional with these guys,* finished the event without those of us watching even aware of his injury until he was seen with a huge pack of ice around his arm. He obviously couldn't compete in any other events, but, as the Mitch McGary of the mat men, It didn't stop him from jumping around and cheering on his teammates. Adrian de los Angeles, Sam's runner-up in the NCAA all-around last year, was unfortunately injured early this year, and yet the team had the depth to win without their expected high scores.
*Sam Mikulak fractured both ankles in a meet in Puerto Rico after his freshman championship season and didn't know until later. He got taped up and kept going. But that's the reason he's only won three championships.
The individual event championships will be on BTN tomorrow afternoon, in case anyone else wants to multitask.
What a day January 18, 2014 was for Michigan athletics.
Let's recap the day:
- Men's Basketball wins a road game against a top-5 for the first time in 50 years. Oh yeah, it is also the highest ranked team Michigan has beaten on the road EVER.
- Women's Basketball wins again, staying in 2nd place in the B1G by pounding illinois at Crisler earlier at Noon, 69-60. Score did not reflect the game at all.
- Men's Tennis opened the season with two strong victories over WMU and Toledo by scores of 5-2 and 6-1 respectively.
- Water Polo opened their season at 1-1 today, winning their opener over Iona 15-6 at Canham.
- The top-ranked, defending NCAA Champion Men's Gymnastics had a HUGE come-from-behind performance, leapfrogging the buckeyes and illinois for the Windy City Invitational Championship.
- The top-ranked, defending NCAA Champion Men's Swimming & Diving team won the SMU Classic in Dallas. This was the only event they didn't win last year-
- And last but not least, the Michigan Dance team (now sponsored by the athletic department apparently per WTKA podcast), has made the UDA National Championship tomorrow afternoon.
Michigan wins their 5th National Championship in Men's Gymnastics. Hail to the Victors.
Michigan went 1-2 in the Individual All-Around. Sam Mikulak wins his second Individual All-Around Title and Adrian de los Angeles finished 2nd.
Men's Gymnastics defeated #1 Penn State (among others) to win their 16th Big Ten Championship, with junior Sam Mikulak and sophomore Adrian de los Angeles going 1 and 2 in the all-around competition. This is Sam's second all-around win, having won in his freshman year in both the Big Ten and the NCAA. He'd been battling injuries (again), and last night was his first all-around competition this year. He also broke an NCAA record score in parallel bars, a record set earlier this season (twice) by teammate Syque Caesar. But, as usual, the victory was a team effort. Based on last night's performances, eight members of the team qualified for 18 spots in tonight's individual event finals. Not that there's anything else going on...
After his performance in this weekend's Winter Cup Challenge (a national invitational meet), sophomore gymnast Adrian de los Angeles was named to the U.S. National Team, joining fellow Wolverine Sam Mikulak. (Sam couldn't compete this weekend due to injury, but he and his fellow Olympians are automatically named to this year's US team.)
Adrian was the surprise all-around leader after the prelims, going back and forth with Olympian Jake Dalton (who competes for Oklahoma). Dalton pulled it out in the final event, with Adrian finishing in second, ahead of Danell Levya, the all-around bronze medalist in last year's Olympics. Pretty good company.
Also making Michigan proud was sophomore Stacey Ervin, who was 7th in the complicated qualification point system going into the finals even though he didn't compete in all 6 events, making the finals on the strength of his placing top 10 in 3 out of his 4 prelim events (including tying Adrian for 2nd in floor). In fact, he was the only qualifier in the top 15 not to have been in all 6 events.
The following picture of Adrian and Sam is posted as a public service to prove that gymnastics isn't only fun and games; success follows commitment to down-in-the-dirt (or chalk) blue-collar teamwork.
A full report of Mens' Gymnastics' recent success wouldn't be complete without adding that 5th-year senior Syque Caesar (who competed in the Olympics for Bangladesh), broke the NCAA record for parallel bars when Michigan upset #2 Stanford two weeks ago. Not surprisingly, he was named both national and Big Ten gymnast of the week. Boy, these guys are good.