No. 4 Michigan captures 17th Big Ten crown in program history
LINCOLN, Neb. -- No. 4 Michigan (25-0) captured the 17th Big Ten title in program history -- and second consecutive -- with a team score of 448.200 on Friday at Nebraska's Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The team win is also the first back-to-back Big Ten titles for the program since 1999-2000. Senior Sam Mikulak scored the highest all-around score in NCAA history with a 93.70 and also set the NCAA record on parallel bars with a 16.10 en route to the third Big Ten all-around championship of his career. Mikulak also becomes the first Big Ten gymnast since Blaine Wilson (1994-96) to win three Big Ten all-around titles in his career.
The Wolverines began the night with an NCAA best and season high on vault with a 75.80, where reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Tristian Perez-Rivera scored a career-high 15.30 with a stuck Kasamatsu 3/2. Additionally, Mikulak scored a 15.25 in the anchor position.
Rotation two saw U-M head to parallel bars, where Mikulak reclaimed his NCAA record on the event that he previously marked at least season's Big Ten Championships with a 16.10. Classmate Jordan Gaarenstroom led off with a career-high 14.90, while graduate student Syque Caesar followed with a 15.40 as the Wolverines marked a 75.35 as a team.
Michigan then went on to score of 73.05 on high bar, where Mikulak tallied the highest score in the NCAA this season with a 16.00. U-M then followed with a 74.75 on floor without the 2013 Big Ten champion on the event -- junior Stacey Ervin, who suffered an injury earlier in the night on parallel bars. Freshman Anthony Stefanelli and Gaarenstroom helped bridge the gap with matching 14.70s, while Perez-Rivera (14.90) and Mikulak (15.70) both excelled on the exercise as well.
Following the bye rotation, U-M notched a 73.10 on pommels, led by a 15.30 from Mikulak and a 15.00 from senior Matt Freeman as U-M held a comfortable lead heading into the final rotation on rings.
The Wolverines sealed the championship with an electrifying still rings performance, as junior Colin Mahar led off with a career-high 15.30, while Freeman and Gaarenstroom marked identical 15.00s. Senior Alex Bubnov then collected a career high of his own with a 15.50, while Mikulak closed out his record-setting night with a 15.35. In total, the Wolverines notched a 76.15, which is a season high for the team and is the top score in the country this season on the event.
In total, Wolverines will compete in 21 routines in Saturday's individual finals: Caesar (vault, parallel bars, high bar), Mikulak (all six events), Paul Rizkalla Jr. (vault), Perez-Rivera (vault, floor), Konner Ackerman (vault), Jordan Gaarenstroom (parallel bars, still rings), Dylan Hunter (parallel bars, pommel horse), Colin Mahar (still rings), Bubnov (still rings), Nolan Novak (pommel horse) and Freeman (pommel horse).