Exactly a year ago, things were looking pretty great for Michigan’s women’s gymnastics team.
The Wolverines had taken the Elevate the Stage meet by storm, winning a third-consecutive regular season Big Ten title, earning the second best overall bars score in program history and then-freshman Natalie Wojcik scoring her first ever perfect 10 with a Yurchenko 1.5 vault performance, the first given to Michigan on the event since 2011.
You would think, logistically, nothing could top that weekend.
You would be wrong.
Fast forward to this year’s Elevate the Stage, where No. 9 Michigan was not favored to win the meet against No. 7 Minnesota, No. 24 Maryland, Penn State and Michigan State.
What they proceeded to do was nothing short of absolutely electric.
“It was incredible,” said freshman Nicoletta Koulous. “We just felt that this was going to be a good meet for us.”
Michigan took the floor first, with Koulos in the leadoff spot scoring a career-high 9.850. The Wolverines continued to execute, with all scores in the event being at least a 9.850. Sophomore Natalie Wojcik (9.900) and freshman Gabby Wilson (9.925) both started streaks of four straight scores of 9.900 or higher. Michigan finished the floor event with a season-high 49.525.
The dominance continued on vault, where three Wolverines earned career-high scores. Sophomore Abby Heiskell scored a 9.925, Koulos landed a 9.900 and sophomore Abby Brenner had a 9.950. Wojcik scored a 9.950, as well, leading Michigan to another season-high with 49.600.
A huge bars rotation extended the Wolverines’ lead and earned them their third season-high score this meet with a 49.400. Senior Maggie O’Hara scored a career-high 9.875 and Wojcik tied a career high to close off the rotation with a 9.950.
Michigan finished the meet on beam. With the first three scores in the low 9.8s, Funk stepped up with a 9.900, and Wojcik and Heiskell both earned career-highs with a 9.975 and a 9.925, respectively.
“(Michigan coach) Bev (Plocki) told us to come in here and be sisters and have each others’ backs,” Koulos said. “And I think that’s exactly what we did.
“I just play my role on the team, and I do what I can to help. After my floor and vault, my job was to be the loudest I could be for the team.”
With an all-around score of 197.950, Michigan clinched its fourth straight Big Ten regular season championship, and Team 44 wrote its name in the record books with a program-high score.
“This meet just shows we’re definitely a team to be reckoned with,” Koulos said.
Wojcik finished the night with a 39.775, which is the seventh highest all-around score in program history and her personal career-high.
“Going into this meet, we knew it was the biggest meet of our season so far and we knew we were going to need to be one cohesive unit so we really focused on that,” Wojcik said. “We are a strong team no matter who is in the lineup.
“Today is everybody’s win – everyone who cheered for us and everyone who helped us along the way.”