With one fall recorded in the last rotation, the Michigan women’s gymnastics team needed perfection out of its veterans. Senior Becca Clauson and junior balance beam All American Lindsey Bruck were up to the task.

Andrew Skidmore
Junior Lindsey Bruck posted a first-place on vault and won the all around. (Mike Hulsebus/Daily)

Clauson posted a 9.825 to tie Michigan junior Carol McNamara for second, and Bruck put up a 9.900 to win the event and clinch the fourth-ranked Wolverines’ 194.825-194.400 victory over No. 7 Penn State at the Penn State Quad on Saturday. Michigan (3-0-1 overall) also defeated third-place West Virginia and fourth-place Cornell.

“Those two definitely are veterans,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “And in situations like that, they’re the people I want to have in those anchor positions, because I think they can handle it.”

Bruck led the way for the Wolverines all night. She posted a first-place 9.750 on vault and tied for second on the uneven bars with a 9.850.

“She’s been outstanding,” Plocki said. “She’s been consistent and solid and has just really done an outstanding job for us.”
Bruck won the all-around competition with a 39.175, her second straight score above 39.000 on the season.

The Wolverines struggled at the start on floor, but they got stronger by the middle of the meet, on vault and bars.

“Our meet overall was not as smooth as our meet at Nebraska,” Plocki said. “We were a little rough around the edges in some spots. But I think we were also really great on bars. It was our best event. The routines were really clean and solid all the way through. I thought we did improve vault this week over last week.”

Four out of Michigan’s six competitors placed in the top five on the uneven bars, including fifth-year senior Lauren Mirkovich, who placed first with a score of 9.900.

The highlight of the meet for the Wolverines may have been the breakout performance of freshman Tatjana Thuener-Rego, who tied Bruck for second place on bars. Thuener-Rego competed in three out of the four events and performed on beam in exhibition. Her unofficial all-around score of 38.950 was second only to Bruck.

“I was really proud of Tatji,” Plocki said. “She had a great meet tonight, definitely her best showing. She went 9.85 in exhibition on beam, so I was wishing, after the fact, that we had had her in the lineup, but hindsight is 20/20. But I thought she had a good meet all the way around tonight.”

The Wolverines are not satisfied with where they are at right now. If Michigan wants to be competitive with the best teams in the nation, it will have to see fewer wobbles and more stuck landings. But Plocki is glad to know that she can count on her veterans to stand up under pressure.

“Overall, the thing that is most important is that, twice now, we’ve ended a competition on balance beam in a situation where the meet was on the line, and we were able to not count any falls on beam and were able to pull off the win,” Plocki said.

It’s still the beginning of the season, but I’m happy with the team’s performance and I’m ready to get back in the gym on Monday and keep working some new stuff.

Our meet overall was not as smooth as our meet at Nebraska. We were a little rough around the edges in some spots. But I think we were also really great on bars, it was our best event. The routines were really clean and solid all the way through. I thought we did improved vault this week over last week, but the scoring was very tight for everybody on vault so the scores didn’t reflect the improvement in our vault. Beam, it was kind of half and half. Half our lineup did really, really strong on beam and the other half had some wobbles and mistakes. It’s always hard when we start out a meet on floor exercise. I thought we were shaky, you know we missed some landings and stuff, on floor. Beam and floor were stronger for us at Nebraska. Overall, the thing that is most important is that, twice now, we’ve ended a competition on balance beam in a situation where the meet was on the line, and we were able to not count any falls on beam and were able to pull off the win.

Those two definitely are veterans, and in situations like that, they’re the people I want to have in that anchor positions, because I think they can handle it.

She’s been outstanding. She’s been consistent and solid and has just really done an outstanding job for us.

I was really proud of Tatji. She had a great meet tonight, definitely her best showing. She went 9.85 in exhibition on beam, so I was wishing, after the fact, that we had had her in the lineup, but hindsight is 20/20. But I thought she had a good meet all the way around tonight.

I think we did a good job. It’s hard starting with a fall. We had a few little wobbles, a few second guesses, but I think overall, everybody did a good job.

I was trying to not think about it. I just knew I had to be confident.

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