Though Crisler Center was just a quarter full Sunday, the crowd’s presence seemed much greater, especially when senior Nicole Artz earned a perfect score on her floor routine. With the fans cheering loudly for each of the Michigan women’s gymnastics team’s frequent sticks, the Wolverines tallied a score above 197.000 for the first time in 2017. The 12th ranked Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten, 3-2 overall) defeated No. 19 Illinois (0-1 Big Ten, 1-2 overall), 197.050 – 195.300.
Artz’s perfect score in Sunday’s home opener was the first time in three years that a Michigan gymnast scored a 10.0 during a meet. Joanna Sampson last accomplished the same feat on the floor at the Big Ten Championships in 2014. Artz has been approaching perfection for some time, scoring a 9.975 four times, most recently on floor at the 2016 Big Ten Championships on floor.
“I do that (floor) routine about three or four times a week and one really good one in here every weekend,” Artz said.
Immediately following her floor routine, the crowd erupted and Artz was swarmed by her teammates. Finally, the score was announced and Artz had done it — a perfect score. In her first meet of the year competing in the all-around, Artz ended the day with a total of 39.425 points, earning her the all-around title for the meet.
“I didn’t know it, but I finished and I looked at the judge and was like ‘Please!’,” Artz said. “I was just so excited to get over to my teammates.”
In addition to Artz’s perfect 10, several Wolverines had career records, and Michigan swept the event titles.
On the vault, senior Talia Chiarelli captured the event with a 9.900. The Wolverines finished the vault event with 49.000 points.
On the uneven bars, three Wolverines received a score of 9.900 or higher. For the first time in their careers, both freshman Polina Shchennikova and junior Lauren Marinez earned a 9.900 in the event. Junior Paige Zaziski ended her routine on the uneven bars with enthusiastic yelling as she landed her dismount to earn a score of 9.975 — a career best.
Following her career-best on the uneven parallel bars, Marinez fed off of her momentum and scored a season-best 9.875 on the balance beam. This score earned her the event title.
The top five scores in the floor routine event were recorded entirely by Michigan athletes. Leading the scoring was Artz with her perfect 10, followed by sophomores Emma McLean and Olivia Karas with a score of 9.900. McLean’s score of 9.900 was a career best. Freshman Maddy Osman and Chiarelli tied Illinois sophomore Lizzy Leduc with a score of 9.825.
“It’s just nice to be at home,” Artz said. “It’s nice to be back in Crisler and have such good momentum going into floor.”
By the end of the meet, Michigan couldn’t have had much better of a day. And after four years, Artz finally put an exclamation point on the day with her perfect 10.