Talk about going out with a bang.
The Michigan women”s gymnastics team saved its best for last, putting together their most impressive performance of the year on “Senior Night” on Saturday. In the last regular season meet of the year, the Wolverines put up their best team score of the season, routing West Virginia 197.575-193.675.
But the story of the evening were the performances of Bridget Knaeble, Christine Michaud, and Karina Senior – the three members of team making their last regular season appearances as Michigan gymnasts.
“It”s such a mixed bag of feelings,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “It”s hard when you think about losing kids from your program that have meant so much. We feel like we”ve been able to touch their lives it”s awesome, but at the same time it”s sad.”
Michigan controlled the meet from the very beginning, eventually winning all four individual events.
Elise Ray won the individual all-around with her second best score of the season, a 39.6 a mark that included an event victory on beam with a 9.950.
Michaud, a vault specialist, closed out her regular season career by matching her personal best vault score of 9.950, good enough for an event win. Knaeble took the uneven bars title with a 9.975, and then shared the floor exercise title as her and Senior finished off the night with back-to-back 9.950 scores.
“It was really exciting,” said Senior of the finish to the meet. “Bridget
and I had made a pact that we were going to get twin 10.0″s to go out we didn”t quite get them, but it was still a great way to finish.”
The Wolverines also managed to put together a 49.375 team score on the beam, easily their best score of the year on the event that has caused them the most problems this season.
“I think our practices on beam have been going really well,” Plocki said. “Our hit percentages in practice have been way up, and I think we”re seeing the result of that.”
Other than honoring the seniors, the most important aspect of Saturday night”s meet was that the Wolverines gained some always valuable momentum heading into the postseason.
Three more prolific team performances at Big Tens, Regionals, and Nationals and the team will have an outstanding opportunity to reach their ultimate goal of a national championship.
Saturday night”s meet went a long way towards the idea that this team is peaking at exactly the right time.
“We”re definitely feeling that,” Knaeble said. “We”re improving and we”re in terrific shape for Big Tens.”