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Heading into Thursday night’s competition against No. 14 UCLA, Maryland and North Carolina, the No. 3 Michigan women’s gymnastics team was the clear favorite.

Having scored above 198.00 three times this season, giving them a NQS score of 198.015, the Wolverines should have breezed through the Raleigh Regional’s second round to advance to Saturday’s final.

However, uncharacteristic falls on multiple events from consistent athletes contributed to an underwhelming performance and the Wolverines’ second loss of the season to UCLA. Luckily for Michigan, it still performed well enough to finish amongst the top two teams and advance to the Regional Final.

In order to advance to Nationals once again, the Wolverines (25-2 overall, 9-0 Big Ten) must make some adjustments, trust their gymnastics and be confident.


Coming off of a Big Ten Championship — where it was easy for the Wolverines to get motivated and excited after a disappointing loss in 2021 — it’s hard to look at Regionals as anything but a box to check.

But in order to out-perform the Bruins (5-6, 3-4 Pac 12), No. 10 Missouri (11-4, 3-4 SEC) and No. 22 Iowa (18-9, 5-5 Big Ten), Michigan must take it one routine at a time.

Thursday night, for the first time this season, it seemed like the Wolverines lacked energy. Their typically characteristic enthusiastic yelling and clapping on each event was dimmed, and the scores followed that as well. Scoring well below its first-ranked floor routine average (49.350 instead of 49.635) in the first rotation, Michigan’s volume and energy dipped from there, and only was revitalized on the third rotation thanks to senior Abby Brenner.

In order to place amongst the top two teams, the Wolverines have to get up for each other.

“We can always do our best gymnastics when we’re excited, when we are trying to be the best we can,” junior Gabby Wilson said.

Saturday night, should Michigan advance to Fort Worth, expect the gymnasts to be loud.


Having faced UCLA in the Regional Second Round, the Wolverines already know what to expect. Chae Campbell and Olympian Jordan Chiles did what was expected of them, putting up big numbers and sharing the vault event title for the Bruins, with Chiles also sharing the uneven bars crown with Michigan’s senior Natalie Wojcik.

Thanks to Iowa upsetting No. 6 LSU, the Wolverines have, on paper, one fewer challenge to worry about Saturday night.

The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes head-to-head at the Big Five meet, and then again at the Big Ten Championships, 197.950 – 196.225 and 198.200 – 196.950, respectively. Iowa posted its season-high beam score (49.275) and its second-best bar score (49.125) of the year Thursday night, but if history holds true, Michigan should be in a good position to outscore the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

Despite finishing second in its own side of the bracket, Michigan still outscored Missouri (197.150) and Iowa (196.900) with its 197.400 overall score.

The Tigers did outscore the Wolverines on bars and floor, 49.175-49.125 and 49.375-49.350, respectively. 

Michigan’s nation-best floor routine was subpar Thursday night, with only two Wolverines breaking the 9.900 barrier. For context, at their final home meet, all six Wolverines in the rotation hit a score of 9.900 or better.

In gymnastics, 0.025 is the difference between pointing toes on a certain flip or not, so as for floor, the Wolverines shouldn’t be worried.

Michigan dealt with a highly uncharacteristic fall from senior Abby Heiskell, and a 0.100 deduction on junior Nikoletta Koulos’ score due to a last-minute lineup change error by the coaches when subbing out freshman Jacey Vore. It is reasonable to believe that Michigan can outperform Missouri on the bars Saturday night, given that their bar routine ranks fourth nationally and the Tigers’ is 22nd-best. So long as the Wolverines don’t experience another unexpected fall, as they did Heiskell Thursday and Wojcik at the Big Ten Championships, they should be able to secure the bars victory and outperform the Tigers overall.

Floor Exercise:

The Wolverines were missing the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, junior Sierra Brooks, on the floor exercise Thursday night. Brooks averaged an elite 9.943 on the season, ranking seventh in the nation on floor with a 9.975 best score on the year. Brooks was out of the floor lineup to rest in preparation for a potential trip to Nationals, and will be out of the floor lineup once again Saturday night.

Koulos took her place and scored a 9.650 after stepping out-of-bounds. With Wojcik also having trouble on the first pass of her routine this season, the Wolverines’ success on floor depends on doing the little things – like staying in bounds and taking everything one move at a time.

Wilson is the athlete to watch on the floor, having hit two perfect 10s on the season and averaging a third-ranked 9.956. She hit a 9.950 to take home the event title Thursday night, and you can expect her to finish near the top once again.


Reyna Guggino led off the vault Thursday night with another fall, resulting from an under-rotation. Since five out of six scores are counted per event, having the leadoff woman fall puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the team to hit good countable scores.

Guggino has also hit a perfect 10.0 in the leadoff spot this season, one of four Wolverines to do so. The most recent was Sierra Brooks at the Big Ten Championships, who has had two perfect 10s this season. The Wolverines rank first nationally on vault, so if they are able to perform at their best, they should walk away with this event title.

With four Wolverines to hit 10s on this event this season, anyone in the lineup is a threat to do the same on Saturday. Abby Heiskell has been incredibly consistent for the Wolverines on vault this season, scoring a 9.900 on Thursday. She won the all-around title at the Big Ten Championships, and after her two falls on Thursday, she has something to prove. Expect Heiskell to put up a big number Saturday night.

Uneven Bars:

Michigan was matched or bested by each team on uneven bars Thursday night. Iowa tied the Wolverines with a 49.125 while Missouri narrowly edged them out with a 49.175. UCLA, boosted by four 9.900-plus scores, blew out Michigan with a 49.475. 

If the Wolverines are to edge out the Bruins Saturday on the bars, they will have to have more than two of their athletes hit 9.900-plus scores. That should be doable, considering the team averages a 49.525, good enough to beat UCLA’s Thursday night score by 0.050, but the Wolverines’ consistency is key.

Wojcik, an AIA award finalist (given to the senior national gymnast of the year), is the Wolverine to watch on the bars. She ranks eighth in the nation, averaging a 9.931 on the season with a season-best 9.950. She shared the event title Thursday night with UCLA’s Chiles, matching her best score. Chiles competed in the Olympics this summer on the uneven bars. It is never a good idea to count out an Olympian, so the individual bar title should be a competitive event to watch.

Balance Beam:

Michigan set a program second-best score on the beam Thursday night, which was unexpected because beam has been its worst event, ranked eleventh in comparison to its vault (1st), floor exercise (1st), and uneven bars (4th).

Heiskell fell off the beam, her second fall of the night, and earned a 9.150. The Wolverines were able to drop that number from the team score to earn an overall 49.550 in the final rotation, carried by Brooks’ event-winning 9.950. Four Wolverines hit a 9.900 or better in the event to close out a lackluster night overall on a high note.

The Wolverine to watch on the beam is once again Wojcik. She has been a rock on beam, ranked eighth in the nation and averaging a 9.910 on the year, with a best score of 9.975 on the season. Wojcik hit a 10 last year with that routine and is always a threat to repeat that performance.

Final Thoughts:

Michigan underperformed Thursday night, but it was enough to get itself to Saturday. If the Big Ten champions come to play, a bid to Nationals is expected for the Wolverines. If Thursday’s team shows up instead, it will take mistakes by the other teams for the Wolverines to make it to Fort Worth.