As the famous saying goes, “Almost is never enough.”
That seemed to be the trend as the No. 5 Michigan women’s gymnastics team took on Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. on Friday night.
The Wolverines, despite putting up a 197.425 on the road, were bested by the top-ranked Sooners, as Oklahoma tallied a 198.10 on its senior night.
Though they didn’t necessarily underperform, their scores generally weren't at the standard they had been in weeks past.
“We didn’t compete badly, but we were not sharp, we were definitely not at our best,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said.
Michigan started out on bars — usually a strong point in the night for them — and got off to a shaky start. With no score higher than a 9.850, the Wolverines finished out their first rotation in a less-than ideal spot with a 49.150.
“We were a little bit tight,” Plocki said. “A couple of handstands were a little bit short, we didn’t stick dismounts. And those .1 differences are what differentiates you feeling really good or really average.”
Sophomore Abby Brenner had the highlight of the night, sticking her Yurchenko 1.5 for a career-high 9.975. The meet marked the third time in the last six meets that Brenner has scored a 9.950 or better on the vault. The vault lineup recorded a 49.400 in the rotation. Freshman Sierra Brooks scored a 9.925, and the rest of the team scored in the 9.8s or high 9.7s.
On floor, senior Lexi Funk switched to the anchor spot in the lineup and closed out the rotation by tying freshman Gabby Wilson’s 9.925 right before. This was Funk’s career high on floor and Michigan tallied a 49.450 overall on floor, with a 9.900 from Wojcik and scores in the 9.8s or high 9.7s from the rest of the rotation.
The Wolverines closed out the meet with a 49.425 on beam. Junior Lauren Farley had her best routine of the season, leading off the rotation with a 9.900. Brooks and sophomore Natalie Wojcik also scored a 9.900 on the event, while Funk added a 9.875.
Brooks scored a 39.525 in the all-around, and still placed third after the Sooners’ Maggie Nichols (39.850) and Anastasia Webb (39.650).
Again, the team put up relatively strong scores, but teams can’t win against the No. 1 team in the country with a rotation of mostly 9.8s. Almost is never enough.
Still, with all of the pressure of competing in a top-five meet and with the added glitz and glamour of opposing team recognition and celebration, it comforted Michigan to be there in the moment.
“Sometimes you go into a competition like that, and you feel like you have to try harder,” Plocki said. “And we learned that we just have to be … us.
“Because who we are is good enough.”