February may be chilly here in Michigan, but for the California natives on the No. 8 Michigan men’s gymnastics team, it’s heating up fast. As if outstanding performances at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas last weekend weren’t enough, sophomore Sam Mikulak and freshman Adrian de los Angeles received their first Big Ten awards this past week.
Mikulak received Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week, along with Illinois’ Paul Ruggieri, and de los Angeles was awarded Big Ten Freshman Gymnast of the Week.
Both athletes dominated at the recent Winter Cup. Mikulak placed in the top-10 in three of his four events, and de los Angeles was 10th all-around.
This is not the only recognition these athletes have received lately.
With their hard work at the Winter Cup came a much-deserved award — both athletes were added to the United States National Ream as a direct result of their accomplishments in Las Vegas.
“It definitely came as a surprise, but being on the national team so early in college has definitely given me confidence that they believe they can trust me to be on the team, and I don’t want to disappoint,” de los Angeles said.
Recently, Mikulak has been dealing with some minor injuries. He has been focusing on recovering and is confident that he will be back in action very soon. His main priority is to heal quickly so he can join his teammates in preparing for the conference event against Ohio State and SUNY Brockport on Feb. 18.
“I have been trying to handle a few injuries lately, just minor things, taking it kind of easy for this week of training,” Mikulak said. “Next week, we’re doing more routines, picking up the pace a little bit as we start closing into stricter competition.”
“Ever since I was young, it has always been a goal to go to the Olympics,” he added. “I still have my eyes set on that, for 2012 and 2016. My training plans are definitely to make it to the Olympics.”
The way things are going for the athletes just a month into the official season, nothing is impossible for these two Californians.