No. 7 Michigan Opens At No. 6 Utah

No. 7 Michigan Opens At No. 6 Utah
The seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines open their season on the road against the No. 6 Utah Red Rocks in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 5 PM (MST). Utah has sold a record-setting 8,600 season tickets, and is set to introduce fans at the Huntsman Center to its 2017 team after the graduation of seniors Kailah Delaney, Kassandra Lopez, and Breanna Hughes and retirement of All-American Samantha Partyka​.

Led by co-head coaches Megan Marsden and Tom Farden and assistant coach Meredith Paulicivic, the Red Rocks return All-Americans Baely Rowe, Kari Lee, Sabrina Schwab, and Maddy Stover as well as junior Tiffani Lewis and sophomores Erika Muhaw, Shannon McNatt, and Makenna Merrell. Making their Utes debut Saturday night will be sophomore transfer Macey Roberts (from Maryland) and freshmen Kim Tessen, Missy Reinstadtler, and MyKayla Skinner


​Schwab, the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, shows off her new floor routine at last month's Red Rocks Preview.


Lee, a three time All-American, is back in competition for the first time since tearing her Achilles tendon last season, and Skinner turned heads during last month's preview with a double-twisting double back in her floor routine. She placed fourth in the all-around at the 2016 Olympic Trials and is slated to compete in the all-around Saturday alongside Merrell, Schwab, and Rowe.

Michigan -- winner of the past three Big Ten championships -- polled at the top of the conference again in this year's preseason ranking. Led by head coach Bev Plocki​, the Wolverines return 17 routines from last year and welcome new freshmen Lexi Funk, Maggie O'Hara, Maddy Osman, Sam Roy, Polina Shchennikova, and junior transfer Paige Zaziski (from Arkansas). Back this season are All-Americans Nicole Artz, Brianna Brown, and Talia Chiarelli as well as junior Lauren Marinez and sophomores Olivia Karas and Emma McLean -- both of whom have been named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch.  


​Funk introduces her beam routine during last month's intrasquad against Eastern Michigan.

​Michigan has won its past eight openers, but the Wolverines haven't beat Utah since 2014. Competition will be hot this weekend and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

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