ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Another fourth rotation rally was the difference as No. 22 Michigan squeaked past No. 20 West Virginia 194.650-194.050 on Friday. Sophomore Joanna Sampson won her first career all-around title with a score of 39.300, finishing among the top three in each event, including wins on bars (9.900) and floor (9.825).
The Wolverines were slightly behind heading into the last rotation (146.075-145.825), but four scores of 9.800 or better provided the winning margin. Sampson and sophomore Reema Zakharia tied for the top spot on floor with successive 9.825 scores, while freshman Sachi Sugiyama and junior Katie Zurales tied for third with 9.800s. West Virginia struggled on the balance beam, scoring only a 47.975, opening the door for Michigan to take the win.
As in past meets, the Wolverines surged out to a quick start during the first rotation. Sugiyama won the event with a career-high score of 9.925, while Zurales tied a career high with a score of 9.900 and a second-place finish. Sophomores Stephanie Colbert and Sampson tied for third with identical 9.825 scores. Despite putting only five up on vault, Michigan hit every routine and led West Virginia, 49.225-48.550, after the first rotation.
Michigan moved to uneven bars and closed the rotation in impressive fashion, as Sampson and Brittnee Martinez tied for first with scores of 9.900 as the fourth and fifth competitors, respectively. Sugiyama came close to tying a career high, scoring a 9.800 and finishing third, while freshman Annette Miele counted a 9.750. Despite counting a fall, Michigan maintained its lead against the Mountaineers 97.800-97.300 heading into the third rotation.
The Wolverines attempted to pad their score on balance beam during the third rotation. Sophomore Shelby Gies started the rotation off with a 9.700, but Sampson led the team with a 9.750. As a team, Michigan scored a 48.025, but West Virginia held a slight 146.075-145.825 lead going into the last rotation.