March 18, 2017
» Michigan won the Big Ten championship for the fourth straight year.
» The Wolverines won four individual event titles.
» Nicole Artz was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year following the meet.
Site: Piscataway, N.J. (Rutgers Athletic Center)
Event: Big Ten Championships
U-M Team Result: 1st Place of 10 Teams (197.300)
U-M Record: 21-3
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 1 -- at NCAA Regionals, Time/Location TBA
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Seniors Nicole Artz and Talia Chiarelli completed their college careers with four straight Big Ten championships as the No. 9-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team made it four in a row with a meet-high score of 197.300 on Saturday (March 18) at Rutgers Athletic Center.
The four straight championships are nothing new for the Wolverines. U-M won seven in a row from 1999-2005, six in a row from 1992-97 and five in a row from 2007-11. In all, Michigan has won 22 of the last 26 Big Ten titles and 23 overall in school history. Head coach Bev Plocki has led the Wolverines to 22 of the 23 championships.
The team score is the sixth best in school history at the Big Ten Championships and the top road score of the season for the Wolverines.
U-M gymnasts won four event titles on the way to capturing the team crown. Artz was the all-around winner with a 39.500, giving her six Big Ten titles to tie for fifth most in conference history. She tied for fifth on uneven bars and floor exercise, tied for seventh on balance beam and was eighth on vault. It is her second all-around title at the Big Ten Championships as she won it with a 39.650 in 2015.
After the meet, she was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, becoming the 11th Wolverine to earn the league's top honor.
Chiarelli also captured a Big Ten title in her final Big Ten Championships, tying for the win on beam with a 9.925. She brought home her second career Big Ten individual title after tying for the win on floor in 2015. It is the third straight year Michigan has had an individual champion on beam.
Sophomores Emma McLean and Olivia Karas also won events to earn their first career Big Ten titles. McLean had the performance of the meet with a 9.975 on vault, matching a career high and becoming the first U-M gymnast since Katie Zurales in 2013 to win vault. Karas tied for the victory on floor with a 9.925, the fourth straight year a U-M student-athlete won floor.
The 91 individual Big Ten champions are far and away the most in the history of the conference. The school with the next most is Minnesota with 37. All four event winners were recognized after the meet as members of the All-Big Ten Championships team, given to those who finish in the top three of an event.
The beam rotation really set Michigan apart from the other teams. The Wolverines hit all six routines, capped by an amazing performance by Chiarelli. When she stuck her dismount, Chiarelli's teammates went crazy in the team corral as she was awarded the 9.925.
The rotation got off to a great start with Karas and junior Paige Zaziski each scoring 9.875. Zaziski matched her career high. Artz also got 9.875 to garner big hugs from her teammates. Junior Lauren Marinez scored a 9.850 as U-M was great across the board.
Michigan started on uneven bars. Freshman Lexi Funk got the team off to a good start with a 9.800 in her first career Big Ten Championships routine. Her classmate Polina Shchennikova also had a 9.800 as Michigan had the same score on its first three routines. The 2016 Big Ten bars champion, Brianna Brown, went 9.850 in just her second time doing bars since returning to the lineup. Artz followed with the team's highest score, a 9.875 on a beautiful routine.
Floor was once again a bread and butter event for Michigan. Three gymnasts scored 9.900 or better as the Wolverines put themselves in a perfect position to take home the team title. McLean went 9.900 or better for the fifth straight meet to tie with Artz at 9.900, and Karas posted the highest score of the evening session to tie with three from the earlier meet.
Tweet of the Day
-- Michigan Gymnastics (@UMichWGym) March 18, 2017
Michigan will now await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday (March 20) at 4 p.m. on NCAA.com to find out the location and time of their NCAA Regional meet on Saturday (April 1).
Communications Contact: Ben Blevins