Staying healthy isn’t a minor matter, and it’s not on this year’s list of little things that the No. 7 Michigan women’s gymnastics team wants to focus on. Unfortunately, for the Wolverines, staying healthy has superseded all other concerns this week.
Starting with junior captain Elise Ray, Michigan’s injury/inactive list could be the starting roster for a new team. With five of 12 scholarship athletes out, the Wolverines are just trying to stay afloat.
“I think the main thing is just staying healthy, that’s our big problem,” freshman Becca Clauson said.
Gymnastics is one of the most injury-plagued non-contact sports, but Michigan seems to be having more than its share of injuries. Kallie Steffes, who recovered from minor shoulder surgery in September, now has a quadriceps problem that is keeping her out. Junior Christine Mantilia is out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, while sophomores Lauren Mirkovich and Erica Rubin are coming back from torn ACLs suffered last year. Add to Ray’s injury, and it leaves an already thin Michigan lineup with little margin for error.
“Every time I have an athlete go down, it’s very concerning,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “Especially when we started out this year with a pretty lean team.”
For the Wolverines and Ray, it feels like d