The Michigan women’s gymnastics team went into its first meet of the year hoping to find out what it was capable of. And as the seventh-ranked Wolverines found out, they are capable of achieving big things.
Led by junior Nicole Artz and freshman Olivia Karas, Michigan (2-0) defeated No. 13 Arkansas, 196.975-195.150, and Iowa, 196.975-192.475.
Artz, a five-time All-American, took first place in the floor exercise and uneven parallel bars, which propelled her to an all-around first-place finish with 39.525 points. Following behind her in second place in the all-around was Karas, who stole the balance beam and vault events.
Together, the duo split the four events to help Michigan earn its victory.
“I don’t know that I would say we have a very big weakness,” said Michigan coach Bev Plocki. “I think that in this particular meet, we could have performed a little bit better or didn’t perform quite as much up to our expectations on uneven bars, but it wasn’t bad by any stretch. … I think this is a pretty good team in all four events.”
The meet, which was held in a hotel ballroom in Cancun, wasn’t the only part of the team’s trip to Mexico. The trip also served as a team bonding event, as the Wolverines had a chance to enjoy some time away from the mat.
While away, Michigan went parasailing over the Caribbean Sea, sailed on a catamaran and even had the chance to pet a shark.
“We got to do some really fun and different things and just see people in their most relaxed, easygoing state outside of the gym, outside of practice and outside of competition,” Plocki said. “It was absolutely a great bonding trip. I think this team has gelled, and we got a great chemistry going forward.”
The Wolverines hope the victory and chemistry the trip provided will bring them confidence and momentum as they go into their next match against Georgia — their last chance to compete before the start of conference play.