Senior night has come and gone for the Michigan women’s gymnastics team. As expected, it was an emotional night, and the Wolverines took some of that emotion and turned it into a 197.775, the team’s second highest score ever.
The night was just one more realization for a talented group of seniors that it is, in fact, almost all over.
“The meets are a little more sentimental,” senior Shanon MacKenzie said. “I’m paying a little more attention to exactly what it feels like, but it’s still the same thing. I’m trying not to over-think them.”
With just the Shanico Inn-vitational in Corvallis, Ore. remaining on the Wolverines’ schedule before the start of the postseason, Michigan coach Bev Plocki hopes to stretch some of that emotion out to another arena.
“We have not competed as well as we should have on the road,” Plocki said. “I’m trying to instill in them the fact that we can go there and expect ourselves to do every bit as good as we do on senior night at home.”
As easy as that may seem, the question is whether the Wolverines will actually perform to those high standards that they set on Saturday at Crisler Arena. That task became even harder when they learned of the injury status of senior Missy Peterson and junior co-captain Janessa Grieco.
Peterson’s ankle injury, which she sustained last week in practice, will keep her from this weekend’s competition and possibly the Big Ten Championships. Meanwhile, Grieco is suffering from a bruised knee that resulted from a bad landing on the vault in Saturday’s warm-ups. She competed in the rest of the meet, but now swelling has made her status questionable.
Despite the injury setbacks and a relatively unimportant road meet this weekend that screams letdown, a string of continued success is by no means out of reach for this team, and the list of impressive performances from Saturday proves that.
Sophomore Elise Ray tied Michigan’s record in the all-around competition with a 39.825 that included three scores of 9.95 and a score of 9.975. Sophomore Calli Ryals earned her third perfect 10 of the season on the floor exercise.
The Wolverines were also happy to see junior Cami Singer set three season-high marks after struggling for a majority of the season. A solid contribution from her could prove to be very important with the injuries to Peterson and Grieco.
“We know we perform the best when we’re relaxed and confident,” MacKenzie said. “This weekend we need to put ourselves back in the state of mind where there is no pressure.”