The Michigan men’s basketball season is over, but there was a special buzz in Crisler Arena on Saturday night as the women’s gymnastics team dominated the competition in the Ann Arbor Regional Championships.
Behind confidence and a raucous home crowd, No. 9 Michigan captured the top spot on the podium, beating out favorite No. 4 Stanford and the rest of a very competitive field comprised of six teams in the top 25.
The Wolverines are in peak form at the end of the season, riding their energy and newfound swagger to the next level of competition. In fact, they believe the spark igniting them now won’t go out anytime soon.
Senior Kylee Botterman recognizes the opportunity that her team has if they can keep up the vigor and tenacity at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland later this month. Botterman has reason to be confident, as she was announced the Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year and was the overall leading scorer on Saturday.
When the stakes are raised and the season will soon be on the line, the Wolverines are having more fun than ever. Michigan hopes its ability to crush its nerves and flawlessly do what it has been training to do will ultimately set this squad apart from other teams. Co-captain Jordan Sexton mirrored Botterman’s enthusiasm, while also pointing the significance of the team’s high energy level.
“We try to have dance parties in between our bye rotations to keep the energy up and stay relaxed,” Sexton said.
Michigan coach Bev Plocki praised her team’s success and highlighted the importance of being free-spirited during competition, which she added, is only possible after setting the tone in practice.
“Lloyd Carr once said, ‘You gotta know the outcome before you begin,’” Plocki said. “We strive for that relaxed, confident attitude.”
Though the women’s gymnastics program is one of the most successful at Michigan year in and year out, the obvious mojo present within this group sets them apart from years past. The whole team is looking forward to national competition, but the seniors have a bit more to play for.
“Since I’ve been here, we haven’t made a Super Six,” Botterman reflected. “It’s time.”