One step at a time.

It was a simple approach but it was all that sophomore Maddie Mariani needed to propel herself to a career best performance on the beam. She earned a 9.900 for her routine, but none of it came as a shock to her coach. 

“Those routines I see from her in the gym every single day,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “I was just glad that she was able to get up there and compete.”

And it wasn’t just Mariani. All the Wolverines stepped up to lead the No. 7 Michigan women’s gymnastics team (7-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) to a 196.800-195.975 win over Iowa (4-6, 1-4) Friday night. 

“This team has just been focused all year,” Plocki said. “Overall, I’m happy with our performance.”

Michigan led off on the uneven bars and got out to an early lead, 49.250-48.875. They were paced by freshman Sierra Brooks, who earned a 9.900 — her best mark in any of the four events. Brooks compiled a 39.475 to take the all around title, her third of the season. 

The team moved to the vault and continued to put the pressure on. A trifecta of Wolverines earned scores of 9.875 to share the vault title. Among them was sophomore Abby Heiskell, who scored a career best in her first vault routine since the opening meet. 

Michigan remained ahead 98.525-97.875 through two events. 

The Wolverines headed to the floor in what turned out to be their strongest showing of the day. Freshman Gabby Wilson danced and tumbled her way to a 9.900 to lead the field. Michigan claimed four of the top five finishes on floor and had an overall score of 49.300.

The Wolverines extended their lead to 147.825-146.800 as they switched to their final event — the beam.  

“Before beam we had a team meeting,” Mariani said. “We all felt super confident going into (it).”

It was there that Mariani thrived. She blew past her previous career high of 9.875 and flipped her way to a 9.900. 

Her approach was the same as always. This time, the execution was just better. 

“I didn’t do anything differently.” Mariani said. “I just felt more confident going into it.” 

Her performance sealed the deal for Michigan and the Wolverines took home the win, 196.800-195.975. They remain undefeated and took down another Big Ten opponent, now turning their attention to the Big Five meet next weekend, where they’ll look to finish unbeaten in conference play for a second year in a row. 

“We love our record of dominance in the Big Ten,” Plocki said. “We want to keep that string going.” 

Added Mariani: “I’m feeling really great about the team. We’re definitely coming for that regular season title.”

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