Following the No. 4 Michigan women’s gymnastics team’s second place performance at the Super 16 meet on Jan. 7, the Wolverines returned to the floor on Friday determined to come out on top. With new lineups, a home crowd and increased confidence, they were able to do just that.
Michigan (3-1 overall) won the meet with a 198.125, beating the 197.200 from Denver (3-1) and a 184.800 from Fisk (0-5) to win its first home meet. The Wolverines’ 198.125 score was a Crisler record and nation’s first score above 198.000 of the season.
“I felt like we really honed-in on the stuff we made mistakes on last weekend in Vegas,” graduate Abby Heiskell said. “We really worked on that in the gym so that we could implement new corrections in competition setting this weekend.”
Michigan opened its first rotation on vault with junior Reyna Guggino, who scored a 9.675 after a small fall-out landing. Immediately following were graduate Natalie Wojcik and senior Gabby Wilson who recompensed and scored a 9.900 and a 9.950, respectively. After scratching Guggino’s score, the Wolverines achieved an overall 49.550, their highest scoring event.
After a solid first event, Heiskell kicked off performance on the uneven bars, earning a 9.900. Wilson and senior Sierra Brooks followed suit, also both scoring 9.900. Meanwhile, Wojcik continued her stellar night with a 9.975 to earn the title and close out the second rotation.
Through it all, the newer faces helped Michigan start out.
“We also had some new faces— (senior Nicoletta Koulos) was new into the beam lineup. She had exhibitioned in the past, but we put her in the lineup this week,” Michigan assistant coach Maile’ana Kanewa-Hermelyn said. “Then we had (junior Carly Bauman) starting out on balance beam, she was out last year, so having her return to the lineup brought so much energy and passion back to that team.”
To highlight their new lineup changes, junior Carly Bauman started off Wolverines’ beam event, scoring a 9.850. Wilson and Koulos followed, who scored 9.875 and 9.850 respectively. Michigan also loaded up Wojcik for another strong finish, scoring a 9.950 and earning her second event title.
“I’m so excited to be back for my fifth year,” Wojcik said. “Obviously coming into college, I didn’t expect to have this extra year, so I’m just trying to make the most of every single opportunity. Each home meet is an extra special opportunity because we get to do it with our community and the people who are supporting us.”
Closing out the competition on floor, Koulos continued her debut success, earning a 9.925 respectively. Veteran floor performers Heiskell, Brooks and junior Naomi Morrison returned to the floor to cap off the night and boosted the total score to 49.575. Brooks, Heiskell and Wilson also tied for the all-around title with scores of 39.600.
And those strong performances kept the Wolverines ahead throughout. Their individual success catapulted them to a dominant team win, and they’ll look to feed off it as of the rest of the season competition heats up.