Big Ten Power Michigan Starts Their Gymnastics Season Strong At Exhibition

The University of Michigan Women’s Gymnastics team is usually the team to beat in the Big Ten, and if their exhibition meet on Saturday, December 2, is any indication of how their year will go, this season will be no exception. The team squared off with three other Michigan teams at 2 PM in the Crisler Center, marking the fifth year in a row Michigan has competed against Eastern Michigan for an exhibition meet in this location. The Wolverines competed against Central Michigan as recently as last spring but has not faced off against Western Michigan since 2011.

The 2019 team made their debut with a grand entrance, taking first place and boasting an impressive roster. They won with a score of 195.125, Eastern Michigan placed second with a 192.000, Central Michigan third with a 191.850, and Western Michigan fourth with a final score of 191.725.

Watch Michigan LIVE on FloGymnastics at the 2019 Cancun Classic!

Natalie Wojcik, a freshman, won the all-around title with a score of 39.225 after winning floor, bars, and tying for second on beam. Wojcik is one of six new team members, along with three other freshmen (Abby Brenner, Abby Heiskell, and Maddie Mariani) as well as two new sophomores — Anne Maxim and Anna Dayton. Their returning gymnasts are strong as well, with seniors Emma McLean and Olivia Karas both showing up as two-time All-Americans. Senior Emma McLean and junior Lexi Funk are the captains for the 2019 team. 

The meet allowed six competitors and two or fewer exhibition routines per apparatus. The Wolverines were up first on vault, sending in a lineup of Lexi Funk, Maddy Osman, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean, Abby Brenner, and Natalie Wojcik to compete, as well as Anne Maxim for exhibition. The team vault total was 49.050, with freshman Abby Brenner’s Yurchenko 1.5 scoring a team high of 9.875 and winning her the individual vault title. 

The next-highest vault score was from Olivia Karas, a senior this year making a comeback from a 2018 season-ending injury in February of 2018. Karas and senior Emma McLean both competed a Yurchenko full. Karas scored a 9.825 and McLean received a 9.800, giving the Wolverines the three highest individual vault scores in the competition. Funk, Osman, and Wojcik all scored a 9.775. 

The team competed bars next, scoring a 48.975 total. Abby Brenner, Lauren Farley, Lexi Funk, Olivia Karas, Maggie O’Hara, and Natalie Wojcik competed on this event, Wojcik leading the team with a 9.875 high score. Karas and O’Hara hit their routines, scoring a 9.825 while Brenner and Funk each scored a 9.725 and Farley received a 9.225. The top five bars scores of the meet were given to the Wolverines, predicting bars as a strength for their upcoming season. 

The Wolverines moved to beam and competed a lineup of Olivia Karas, Emma McLean, Abby Brenner, Lauren Farley, Lexi Funk, and Natalie Wojcik. Maddy Osman and Maggie O’Hara competed exhibition, and the team’s final score was 48.075. This is not a high score historically for the team, but beam scores were low for all teams on Sunday, so it isn’t a score fans need to be concerned about. 

Michigan’s top beam scorer was Lexi Funk, who scored a 9.725 to win the event. Wojcik got the second-highest score on her team and tied for second in the overall competition with a 9.700, while her teammates followed behind with a 9.625 for Karas, a 9.600 for Farley, a 9.350 for McLean, and a 9.325 for Brenner. 

The Wolverines finished the meet with a team score of 49.025 on floor with Lauren Farley, Maddy Osman, Natalie Wojcik, Lexi Funk, Abby Brenner, and Emma McLean competing, as well as Maggie O’Hara on exhibition. Osman, Funk, and Brenner all scored a 9.800, while Wojcik nailed her routine and received a 9.875, winning floor. 

Wolverine fans wore big smiles as they entered the free exhibition, and there was heightened excitement among season ticket holders, who got to do meet and greets. Santa even made an appearance at the early December exhibition, providing even more smiles for young fans. 

The team begins their 2019 season at the Cancun Classic in Cancun, Mexico, on January 4, where they will compete against Iowa State, Rutgers, and West Virginia; you can watch this meet live right here on FloGymnastics. Their first home meet is scheduled for January 18 against Michigan State, and they will host three other home meets as well during the regular season.


Miranda Martin is a freelance writer who writes about gymnastics, social justice issues, and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or contact her through her website

USA A Strong Contender At Cluj Napoca Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

Located in the city of Cluj Napoca, Romania, the Cluj Napoca World Challenge Cup is coming up this weekend! FloGymnastics is live streaming it Aug. 23-25, and the rhythmic competition will be an elegant, beautiful sight to see. 

Averina Twins & Linoy Ashram Dominate Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

Only four gymnasts stepped atop the individual podiums at the 2019 FIG Rhythmic World Challenge Cup: Arina Averina of Russia, Dina Averina of Russia, Linoy Ashram of Israel, and Milena Baldassarri of Italy. On the group side, Bulgaria found itself on the podium for all three group competitions.

Gymnasts & Groups To Watch At The Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

The 2019 FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup series continues in Minsk, Bulgaria, from Aug. 16-18. Gymnasts from more than 30 countries will be competing for medals in individual and group events, but the top gymnasts to watch are from Europe and include three Olympic hopefuls.

Simone Biles Continued To Create History At US Championships

Just 48 hours after being the first woman to land a double double off the balance beam, Simone Biles continued to write history on the second day of competition at the U.S. Championships. 

Sam Mikulak Wins Sixth National All-Around Title

After 12 hit routines, Sam Mikulak won his sixth national championship with a two-day all-around score of 174.150, in addition to a whopping four of six possible event titles. Mikulak won floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar. 

The Untouchable Simone Biles

The other day I was talking to a good friend and former teammate of mine about Simone Biles. The 22-year-old gymnast came up because two weeks ago, as you no doubt have heard by now, while warming up at the U.S. Classic, Biles threw a new skill on floor, a triple-twisting double tuck. 

Simone Biles' Beam Dismount Highlights US Champs Day 1

The senior women put on a roller coaster of a meet on the first night of the 2019 U.S. Championships. There were historical moments, rough falls, and everything else in between. Not many people could have guessed which gymnasts would be sitting in the top five heading into the second day of competition. Here’s how it all went down. 

High-Stakes US Championships About To Begin

U.S. Championships starts this Friday, and the elite gymnastics world is heating up for this meet. Fresh off the U.S. Classic and Pan American Games, many of this country’s elite gymnasts are amping up their routines to compete at Championships. 

6 Times Simone Biles Broke The Internet

Thanks to her incredible athleticism and domination in the sport of gymnastics, Simone Biles is now a household name in the United States and around the world. 

Suspenseful Event Finals Close Out 2019 Pan American Games

Five events were featured in the final day of competition at the 2019 Pan American Games and the skills and routines did not disappoint.