Slightly more than 22 years ago February 20, 1979 the Utah women”s gymnastics team lost a home meet to Cal-State Fullerton and Clarion.
The significance? It hasn”t lost a home meet since.
Utah”s tumblers hold an unprecedented streak of 161 straight wins at home, far and away the longest streak of that nature in women”s gymnastics.
Tomorrow night, the Michigan women”s team faces the less-than-enviable task of trying to be the first team in over two decades to solve the curse of the Huntsman Center.
“This meet is a really exciting opportunity for us,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “It would be huge for us to go in there and break that record.”
In the two weeks since its loss at Florida, Michigan has taken several strides towards righting the ship.
A solid showing at Georgia ended with a loss, but a win over Southeast Missouri State last Saturday has again established the team as title contenders.
The Wolverines posted their highest score of the year (197.225) against the Otahkians. The day ended with back-to-back perfect marks on the floor exercise courtesy of Bridget Knaeble and Big Ten gymnast of the week Elise Ray.
“To finish like that was very, very exciting,” Knaeble said. “I hit on all my new passes and did the correct last pass, and everything was just very exciting.”
The intense crowd at Utah usually numbers near 10,000. But Michigan has faced that type of pressure before, at Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
“I think at this point of the season, you get used to it,” Plocki said. “My kids get more excited when there”s a big crowd.”
A streak of 161 straight home wins is no doubt intimidating.
But if everything goes according to plan, Michigan won”t be No. 162.