In a match-up between two perennial powers in collegiate
gymnastics, the No. 12 Michigan women’s gymnastics team
defeated No. 4 Utah at Crisler Arena on Saturday 196.725-196.350.
The victory improved Michigan’s home record to a perfect 3-0
this season. Senior Calli Ryals and junior Elise Ray both put forth
clutch performances, capturing first place and second place in the
all-around competition, respectively.

Beth Dykstra
Michigan senior Calli Ryals paced the Wolverines by winning the all-around competition. She ended her performance with a nearly flawless floor routine. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

“We definitely proved that we can hang with the top
teams,” Ryals said. “Mentally, we’re showing a
lot of confidence right now.”

Michigan trailed 147.675 to 147.325 heading into the final
rotation, which the Wolverines competed on the floor exercise and
Utah took on the balance beam.

On the floor exercise, Michigan seemed to be scoring in pairs.
Freshman Carol McNamara and senior Christine Mantilia opened the
event, each earning a 9.800. Sophomore Becca Clauson and freshman
Lindsey Bruck followed by capturing two scores of 9.875. Ryals and
Ray closed out the competition with nearly perfect execution, both
scoring a 9.925. The overall team score on the floor exercise of
49.400 was enough to overcome Utah’s .350 lead entering the
final event, and it secured the 196.725-196.350 victory for
Michigan.

Even though Michigan trailed heading into the final event, the
Wolverines approached the event just as they would have had they
been ahead. Coach Bev Plocki said she did not feel the need to tell
the team that they were behind.

“There’s no sense in talking about being behind
because all that will do is increase pressure, and an increase in
pressure is usually a sure way to decrease performance,”
Plocki said. “We just concentrate on trying to hit our
routine.”

Michigan had to deal with the absence of junior Chelsea Kroll
due to injury. In her place, junior Kara Rosella stepped in and
contributed strongly to the team’s success. Rosella captured
a 9.775 on the balance beam and a 9.725 on the uneven bars.

“I was really proud of Kara Rosella tonight,” Plocki
said. “She hung in there like a champion and hit her routine
for us.”

Plocki said that while she was pleased to get the win, she did
not feel that either team performed at its highest level.

“Obviously you would rather beat somebody on
everybody’s best day, but we’ll certainly take it and
get better from here,” Plocki said.

After three consecutive home meets, Michigan will get back on
the road next week when they travel to West Virginia.

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