Did you see that?
As the academic year winds down Michigan Today celebrates some of the student-athletes who delivered so much excitement to sports fans, captured in action by the team at Michigan Photography. Congrats to all of our Wolverines!
Another great run
Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas helped the Wolverines win their first Big Ten title in 28 years this season. In his first two years at U-M Stauskas has seen back-to-back NCAA Elite Eights. On April 15, the Wolverine guard, alongside fellow guard Glenn Robinson III, announced he would forgo his final two years of eligibility and declare for early entry into the 2014 NBA Draft. “As I move forward into this next stage of my life, it cannot be said enough how thankful I am to the Wolverine fans for embracing me. I will always be a Wolverine at heart,” Stauskas told reporters. It goes without saying that Stauskas and Robinson will be sorely missed by college hoops fans. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.)
With the help of senior Sam Mikulak, the Men’s Gymnastics team captured its sixth NCAA title April 11, becoming the first U-M program to win back-to-back national championships in 44 years. (See MGoBlue.com.) Mikulak recently received the prestigious Nissen Emery Award, often referred to as “the Heisman of gymnastics.” He is a three-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and a three-time Big Ten all-around champion. In 2012 he became the first rostered Michigan gymnast ever to compete for the United States in the Olympics. (Photo: Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography.)
Parting the waters
Connor Jaeger helped the Michigan Men’s Swimming and Diving team win its 19th national championship in 2013. In its storied history, U-M has won 12 NCAA team championships–the most of any collegiate swimming and diving program. The team placed fourth in the NCAA Championship this year, marking its 14th consecutive top-10 team finish. In addition, the Wolverines won their fourth consecutive Big Ten championship on March 1. Jaeger has competed as a member of the United States Olympic team, and placed sixth in the 1,500-meter freestyle during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He currently holds the U.S. Open record in the 800m freestyle. (Photo: Scott C. Soderberg, Michigan Photography.)
Greater than anything else
Women’s Soccer sensation Nkem Ezurike and Associate Head Coach Dean Duerst share one of many exhilarating moments in her career as a Wolverine. Ezurike holds several accolades and awards. But in her senior year she marked a major milestone: At 49 goals and 119 points, she is the program’s career leader. She also helped guide Michigan to an 18-win campaign and a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight. In January Ezurike was picked by the Boston Breakers in the second annual National Women’s Soccer League Draft. How fitting that her name, which is Nigerian, means “what I have is greater than anything else.” (Photo: Martin Vloet, Michigan Photography.)
One for the record books
Senior Rachael Mack, a forward on the Wolverine Field Hockey team, was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in November. Described by Coach Marcia Pankratz as the “backbone of the team” (see MGoBlue.com), Mack enjoyed an especially sweet game-winning goal over Ohio State last October, when she broke into the Michigan record books as the team’s all-time leading goal scorer. This image comes from a victory over Penn State. (Photo: Lon Horwedel, Michigan Photography.)
Taking the lead
Women’s Softball’s sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero is one of the top 25 finalists for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, which will be announced May 27. She is one of three sophomores up for the honor and was one of 10 finalists for the award in 2013. As reported in an April 9 story at MGoBlue.com, Romero leads the Big Ten in several key categories, from runs scored to runs batted in. She was part of the top-50 watch list released before the season and was named an ESPNW preseason All-American. It’s not surprising that she plays for Carol Hutchins, U-M’s winningest coach in athletic department history. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.)
Eric Jacobson, currently working toward a BBA degree in the Ross School of Business, was named an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2013. At second base, Jacobson is following in his father’s footsteps. Dad Jeff Jacobson played Wolverine baseball from 1980-83 and was an All-Big Ten first team selection in 1982. “Second base, personally, my dad played there, I play there, and it’s really special,” Jacobson recently told MGoBlue.com. Did he inherit this facial expression from his dad as well? (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.)
The Women’s Cross Country team secured U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I All-Academic team honors for the third straight season in February. To qualify, the team must have had a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.00 or better (the Wolverines combine for a team GPA of 3.28) and have started at least five runners at its respective NCAA regional championship. First-year engineering student Erin Finn, pictured here, also earned individual All-Academic recognition. (Photo: Scott R. Galvin, Michigan Photography.)
This year marked the debut of Women’s Lacrosse at Michigan. Pictured here are head coach Jennifer Ulehla (center) flanked by assistant coaches Jen Valcore (left) and Casey Ancarrow. Prior to coming to Ann Arbor, Ulehla developed a new program as an assistant coach for the Florida Gators from January 2008 to June 2010. She joined the U.S. National Elite Team as an assistant coach in January 2006 and worked with the program for three-and-a-half years. She has served as head coach at Temple University and James Madison University. As a player, Ulehla competed on the U.S. National Lacrosse team from 1990-95. In 1993 Team USA won the World Cup in Scotland, making Ulehla one of a few competitors to have won a World Cup title as both a player and an assistant coach (2009). (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.)
Big Ten ice hockey freshman of the year JT Compher, a unanimous selection for the Big Ten all-freshman team, sticks it to Michigan State during an early 2014 matchup. His four-point outburst at MSU Jan. 24 was the most by a Michigan player since Oct. 13, 2011, when David Wohlberg had four points in a 10-3 win over St. Lawrence. Compher had the most points in a game by a Michigan freshman in more than eight years in that contest. (Photo: Lon Horwedel, Michigan Photography.)
To say Michigan’s rivalry with Ohio State reached epic proportions last November would be an understatement. The Wolverines fell to the Buckeyes 42-41 in an incredibly competitive, suspenseful nail-biter. Tensions ran high throughout the game and the teams exchanged pushes and some punches in the second quarter after a Michigan kickoff. (Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography.)
On the rebound
Junior forward Cyesha Goree grabbed 317 rebounds to set a new Michigan single-season record in Women’s Basketball this year. It was one of many hard-won accolades this season. The team, which lost 90 percent of its offense from 2012-13, recorded the sixth 20-win season in program history with a 20-14 record after reaching the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Head coach Kim Barnes Arico is the first coach in program history to guide U-M to back-to-back 20-win campaigns. (Photo: Walt Middleton, Michigan Photography.)
Show a little enthusiasm, would ya?
Though benched with an injury for much of the season, basketball’s Mitch McGary (pictured right, with Zak Irvin) livened up the sidelines with irrepressible enthusiasm for his teammates through their run to the NCAA Elite Eight. This shot comes from a win over Stanford at the Barclays Center in New York for the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational last December. Once the Wolverines were deep into NCAA March Madness, McGary ditched the suit and tie for his regular team uniform. (Photo: Carlise Stockton.)