The Michigan women’s gymnastics team, fresh off a Big 10 regular-season championship, touched down in Columbia, Missouri for the Missouri Quad Meet. It was the Wolverines’ first time back at the meet since they won it all in 2008.
This time, they weren’t as successful.
No. 7 Michigan started out strong on beam, with freshmen Lauren Farley and Natalie Wojcik rounding out with scores of 9.900. The Wolverines posted a 49.275 to take an early lead.
But over the course of the competition, Michigan (14-5-1) slipped to second with a score of 196.800 in a field consisting of No. 9 Minnesota, No. 19 Missouri and Centenary.
“I am pleased with how beam started out for us,” said Coach Bev Plocki.
“A couple of scores were a little tighter than I expected them to be, but I think we did a really nice job”
In vault, Wojcik scored a nearly perfect 10, coming in at 9.975. Freshmen Abby Brenner and Abby Heiskell both came out with a 9.825. Sophomore Anne Maxim and senior Emma McLean scored 9.800s, and senior Olivia Karas came away with a 9.600 to leave Michigan with a vault score of 49.225.
The Wolverines posted their second-highest score of the year on floor with a 49.400. Junior Maddy Osman, Brenner and Wojcik all scored at 9.875. Karas scored a 9.925 to raise the overall score to 49.400.
Uneven bars, usually a strength for the Wolverines, proved to be the smallest discrepancy in number but the biggest turning point in the meet overall. Heading into uneven bars, Michigan held a .225 lead over Minnesota, but a pair of miscues for the Wolverines caused a score of 9.425, with the overall of 48.900, .275 less than Minnesota.
“Bars is one of our best, if not our best, and we were just a little bit off tonight,” Plocki said.
Karas won both bars and floor, and Wojcik won vault and came away with another all-around win with a score of 39.625. The win marks Karas’ 11th win of the year and the eighth time this year that Wojcik has come away with the all-around crown.
The bars misstep cost Michigan its win, as it tied for second place with Missouri, behind Minnesota, which scored a 196.900. Looking ahead to the postseason, Plocki is critical of the Wolverines’ performance, but hopeful for the future.
“As we get more and more into the postseason, the teams are going to be very closely matched and we won’t be able to afford to make mistakes like that,” Plocki said. “Natalie won the overall – again – and Olivia had a really outstanding night as well other than vault.”