For the first time this season, Jaclyn Kramer didn’t just put on her uniform and support her teammates with cheers and hugs on the sidelines.
The sophomore earned a chance to compete and contribute with more than just words of encouragement. And Kramer didn’t disappoint – she posted a 9.650 score on floor exercise and was a part of the Michigan women gymnastics team’s three victories this weekend at Maryland’s Comcast Center.
“Jackie’s been training hard,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. “We knew that she’d be able to go in there and hit a floor routine, which is what we needed.”
A regular in the floor lineup a year ago, Kramer hadn’t seen any action this season. But this weekend, Plocki rested a few athletes who have been dealing with minor aches and pains. While her score wasn’t flashy because of an out-of-bounds .100-point deduction, Kramer did contribute a solid score to the team’s win.
Sandwiched between meets against the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation, Saturday’s quad-meet against Maryland, Pittsburgh and Temple was relatively stress-free for Michigan.
Even thought it was taking on three teams with sub-.500 records, No. 4 Michigan (5-0 Big Ten, 18-0 overall) didn’t relax too much, putting up a 196.150-point team total. The Terrapins (5-12 overall) were the closest competition, but they finished almost two full points behind the Wolverines.
Michigan put up strong scores on uneven bars and the balance beam, but struggled on the vault – an event in which the team ranks seventh in the nation. The Wolverines were forced to count a fall for the first time this season after two gymnasts missed their vaults.
“It was just an off night,” senior Katie Lieberman said. “It was a couple of uncharacteristic falls, but I guess it’s good to get those out of the way before we head into the postseason.”
Michigan gymnasts won three of the four event titles. Fifth-year senior Lindsey Bruck earned the all-around crown with a 39.450-point performance.
While the Wolverines relied on contributions from event-lineup regulars, the meet was most significant for athletes, like Kramer, who hadn’t competed in weeks.
Two juniors made their presence felt. Tatjana Thuener-Rego returned to the vault and uneven-bars lineups after a sore ankle kept her out last week, while Huneth Lor jumped back into the beam lineup after sitting out in the Georgia meet. Lor replaced sophomore Jordan Sexton, who sat out the event with a swollen ankle.
“It was great to see some new faces in the lineup,” Bruck said. “It’s great for them to get some exposure.”
Because pf its flexibility, an undefeated season is a definite possibility for Michigan. The team’s roster depth will come in handy the next two weeks, with starters trying to return to full health before the postseason.
“We have to make sure we’re managing our aches and pains,” Plocki said. “This time of the season, we do have a lot of people who are sore. We have to make sure that we get them some rehab and keep taking it one week at a time.”
Note: According to Plocki, freshman Trish Wilson will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered last weekend in a floor exhibition performance against Georgia. She is expected to have knee surgery in the next two weeks.