The second senior Natalie Wojcik’s feet hit the ground, she threw her head back and hit a huge college salute while bringing her heels together to solidify the stick.
This series of events for Wojcik’s perfect dismount didn’t happen only once, but in each of her first three routines in the Michigan women’s gymnastics team’s (2-0) meet against Arizona State (0-1) on Saturday. Further, not only did she land perfect dismounts, but Wojcik performed every other skill in each routine to near perfection, leading her to three near-perfect scores and the top all-around score of the day.
Wojcik nailed her first routine in the second position of the vault rotation, after a low score from opener sophomore Reyna Guggino. Wojcik, along with the rest of her teammates, performs one of the harder vaults competed in NCAA gymnastics, a yurchenko one and a half, which allows the initial score to start at a 10.0.
She sprinted down the runway, blocked high off the table with her legs glued together, and landed in an upright position, her feet not moving once they landed — all components of a perfect vault. Wojcik was rewarded with a near perfect score of 9.975, meaning one of the two judges gave her a perfect score.
“I try not to focus on (the score) too much after my routine because ultimately it’s out of my control,” Wojcik said. “The routine is over and I did the best I could, but it’s always exciting to see if they’re gonna throw a big score.”
Wojcik took a different position in the bars lineup, anchoring the team’s rotation. Although there were no major errors, a routine had yet to score over a 9.900 on bars for either team. Wojcik changed that by hitting every handstand in her routine, flying extremely high in her releases, and ultimately sticking another dismount — this time a double layout flyaway. The judges again believed her routine was near-perfect, giving her a score of 9.950.
Wojcik was also set to anchor the beam rotation as well. The first few routines had uncharacteristic mistakes, but the three gymnasts who led Wojcik began to bring the event back on track. However, she still needed to deliver a high score to make up for lost tenths.
“When you have a wobble routine and then a fall, it’s really easy to panic and for everybody else to not do as well,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “It’s a sign of a really strong team that has a lot of confidence in each other and in itself, to not let those things bother them, and to pick up and do really strong routines.”
Wojcik has a lot of confidence in her beam routine from the meets prior this season, which included a perfect 10.0 in the preseason exhibition meet, and a 9.950 last weekend in Michigan’s season opener against Georgia. Wojcik’s confidence was apparent throughout her routine, as she opened with a stuck series across the length of the beam, and finished with yet another stuck dismount.
This time, Wojcik was also met with chants from her team and the fans shouting “Ten!” and putting up ten fingers, signifying the score they believe she earned. However, the judges gave her a 9.975 — her third near-perfect score of the day.
In the last rotation, Wojcik was in the third position on floor and was following two huge scores from seniors Abby Heiskell and Abby Brenner, who put up a 9.925 and a 9.950. Wojcik had a lot of power going into her first pass and landed a high double pike with a step out of bounds. The rest of her routine was — once again — near-perfect.
“I try not to put too much added pressure on myself,” Wojcik said. “When you’re having a good day, it can be easy to get in your head and set expectations… but I try not to let it add on a weight.”
After only receiving a score of 9.775, Wojcik still landed in the top all-around position for the meet, as well as tying for the top all-around score in the nation so far in the season, proving how stellar the other three performances of the night were. To prove it further, Wojcik won the event titles on vault, bars and beam.