As Gabby Wilson completed her anchor floor routine, 12,707 cheers resounded through Crisler Center when the judges revealed her perfect 10.
The junior’s dominance rounded out the regular season for the No. 3 Michigan women’s gymnastics team (12-1 overall, 9-0 Big Ten) against No. 5 Auburn (11-3-1) and West Virginia (13-5). The Wolverines’ overall score 197.950 topped the Tigers’ 197.175 and Mountaineers’ 196.400.
“This was a good meet,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said, “but we still have a lot of things that we’re going to need to clean up if we want to repeat what we did at Nationals (last season).”
Those areas for improvement were exposed in the Wolverines’ first event on vault. Sophomore Reyna Guggino led off with a slight hop and a score of 9.850, and senior Natalie Wojcik made a similar error, resulting in the same score of 9.850. The top scores of 9.900 came from Wilson and sophomore Naomi Morrison.
The total vault score was 49.350, putting Michigan slightly behind Auburn and 2020 Olympic all-around gold medalist Suni Lee, who had a total bars score of 49.375.
The Wolverines used the bars to regain the lead, which they maintained for the remainder of the meet. Three scores of 9.900 or better were performed by Brooks (9.925), Wojcik (9.925) and freshman Jacey Vore (9.900), all sticking their landings. Crisler Center was deafening as Michigan took the lead with a total bar score of 49.475 and an overall score of 98.825.
“This crowd was everything to us,” Wojcik said of the first sell-out audience in Michigan gymnastics history. “It was the best send-off I could imagine.”
With their support, Michigan raised its lead on beam with several stuck landings and an overall score of 49.375. The crowd erupted once again when both Brooks and Wojcik scored a 9.950. The Wolverines led Auburn and West Virginia 148.200-147.750-147.200, and Wojcik’s strong beam anchor set the tone going into the final event of the night.
Senior Abby Brenner started the floor routine strong with a score of 9.925. Fellow senior Abby Heiskell scored a 9.900, and Wojcik scored a near-perfect 9.975 to propel them through the event.
After their final performances at Crisler Center, the three seniors then passed the torch to Morrison and Brooks who both scored 9.925. In the grandest finale one could imagine, Wilson dazzled all in attendance with a flawless routine, resulting in a perfect 10.000, the second of her career on floor.
“I am so unbelievably excited for (Wilson),” Plocki said. “That floor routine is unbelievable. It’s perfection. As long as she doesn’t make a big mistake, she should get a 10 almost every time.”
With every Michigan gymnast scoring a 9.900 or higher and Wilson’s perfect 10.000, the Wolverines achieved a new floor record of 49.750. The astounding attendance, unmatched energy and outstanding performances sent off the seniors and, most importantly, prepared Michigan for the postseason.
But with the Big Ten Championships next weekend in Columbus, the Wolverines have no time to relish in regular season victories.
Not only does Michigan hope to clinch another Big Ten title after being crowned this season’s regular season Big Ten Champion, but the Wolverines’ eyes are set on defending the NCAA National Championship title.
“We have something to prove,” Plocki said.
The Wolverines will spend the next weeks striving to prove that their perfect 10s, intense enthusiasm and championship tradition are enough to make another statement.