As Evianna Roberson climbed onto the beam, she received the full attention of all in attendance at Crisler Center. Her performance was the last of the meet, and with a perfect score, she would force a tie between her No. 17 Washington and the No. 6 Michigan women’s gymnastics teams.
The lead margin throughout the first two rotations of last Friday’s meet had been consistently microscopic in favor of the Wolverines. But Michigan ran into trouble in its third rotation, the beam, allowing the Huskies to move into first place and Texas Woman’s University to make up ground.
“Quite honestly I was very disappointed, very disappointed with beam,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “… We still have a lot of work to do.”
The half-point deduction from sophomore Natalie Wojcik’s fall was symptomatic of an event performed at a lower quality than the vault and bars. A team score of 48.100 on beam was nearly a full point lower than that of any other event.
The onus fell on the Wolverines’ floor gymnasts to reclaim the lead, and while not all were aware of the score, the necessity of ending on a high note after a subpar beam was unanimously felt.
“Bev had us circle up and she was like, ‘Let’s do floor like we’re on a mission,’ ” freshman Gabby Wilson said.
Plocki encouraged her team to control its own destiny.
“My mindset is never really anything to do with the other team,” Plocki said. “My mindset is we need to entertain this crowd, and we need to rock and roll here on floor.”
That’s exactly what Michigan did. It was the only squad that posted more than 49 points on floor, led by a 9.900 from Wojcik; after handing over the lead on beam, she helped engineer the effort to reclaim it.
“It was good to kind of reset and look at floor as a new opportunity, and try not to let beam affect what happened,” Wojcik said. “I knew I had to keep going, push forward and finish out the meet strong.”
Roberson could not achieve perfection, leaving the Wolverines with a comeback victory. But for Plocki, not all wins are created equal.
“When you’re satisfied, you’re done, because somebody is doing better,” Plocki said. “This team is capable of being a 49.5 on any event. And so you can see where we still have room to improve.”