This past weekend”s meet with UCLA would have been an excellent time for the Michigan women”s gymnastics team”s regular season to end. Although they lost, the Wolverines seemed to be in postseason form, notching an overall team score of 197.125 their second highest of the season and a balance beam score of 49.125, their highest of the season.
Plus, with UCLA in town, it was a matchup between two teams that would most certainly meet again in Georgia at the NCAA finals.
But the regular season is not over yet. Sandwiched between UCLA and the Big Ten Championship on Mar. 24 is this Saturday”s meet with No. 17 West Virginia. Although the meet does not carry the same attention as those surrounding it, it is certainly not insignificant.
“This meet will definitely not be small by any means,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “They will be tough, and we have to stay up for them.”
Since it is the final regular season meet, the Wolverines will hold their senior night on Saturday. Seniors Bridget Knaeble, Christine Michaud and Karina Senior, will all be honored for their efforts over the past four years.
“Senior night has always been very special for me and the team, Plocki said. “We always have someone who puts up a great performance on senior night, so I expect our team to be excited.”
This Saturday”s meet will also give Michigan an opportunity to continue its adjustment to Crisler Arena before they host Big Tens and NCAA Regionals there. Although the meet with UCLA was the first time they had competed in Crisler this season, the team seemed to welcome the change of scenery.
“It”s a lot of fun, I love competing here,” Michigan senior Christine Michaud said. “We had a big crowd and they were pretty enthusiastic. Everybody was pretty excited to be here tonight, and I am glad that we are going to be here for a few more meets.”
The only thing that isn”t going Michigan”s way right now is the health status of Knaeble. Knaeble”s back, which had been bothering her all season, seems to have gotten worse over the past week.
“Bridget was feeling a lot of pain during the UCLA meet,” Plocki said. “Her back issues have been something that we have had to manage since the start of the season. It seems to have gotten worse recently, so she has been going to a physical therapist to improve the condition.”
Despite the injury, Plocki expects Knaeble to be in the lineup Saturday night as usual.
Once again, the Wolverines seem primed and ready to take on the best in the nation. But before they get another crack at the national title, they must finish the regular season against West Virginia on a high note.