Michigan Advances to 23rd NCAA Championships

April 1, 2017

» Michigan advances to its 23rd NCAA Championships.
» The Wolverines earned their 12th regional title.
» Paige Zaziski won the all-around (39.575), vault (9.875) and bars (9.950).

Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery  | Regional Central

Site: Morgantown, W.Va. (WVU Coliseum)
Event: NCAA Regional
U-M Team Result: 1st Place of 6 Teams (197.350)
U-M Record: 26-3
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., April 14-15 -- at NCAA Championships (St. Louis, Mo.)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- With a score of 197.350, the No. 7-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team won the NCAA Morgantown Regional on Saturday (April 1) to advance to its 23rd NCAA Championships.

The Wolverines captured the 12th NCAA Regional title in program history and will advance along with Alabama, which finished second with a score of 196.625.

"It is one thing to come with the goal of qualifying, but we came with the goal of winning so it is nice to be able to accomplish that goal," said head coach Bev Plocki. "Alabama is one of the most storied programs so this helps us a great deal with our confidence."

Three individuals combined for five event titles, matching the 2003 team for the most all-time. U-M now has 68 regional champions in its history.

Junior Paige Zaziski had her best meet of the season, winning the all-around (39.575), vault (9.875) and bars (9.950). She was thrown into the floor lineup last minute and scored a 9.900 to tie for third. That followed up a season high on vault and her fifth bars title of the year.

"We wanted to get Paige one more floor routine and with us ending on floor, I saw this as an opportunity to put Paige last," said Plocki. "Lauren (Marinez) was gracious to give her the opportunity, and Paige responded by hitting a routine that won her the all-around."

Sophomore Emma McLean tied Zaziski and George Washington's Chelsea Raineri for the vault win. McLean has won vault six times this year, including five of the last six meets. Senior Nicole Artz had a season high on beam and was the only gymnast to score a 9.900 or better with her 9.925.

The Wolverines had four of the top six finishers in the all-around. Artz was second with a 39.450, sophomore Olivia Karas placed third with a 39.375, and freshman Lexi Funk was sixth with a 39.225.

Michigan started the meet on vault. Zaziski matched her season high with a stuck landing for a 9.875 on a 9.95 start value. McLean later matched her score to tie for the team best. Senior Talia Chiarelli and Karas each went 9.850 as the Wolverines finished the rotation with a score of 49.200.

The Wolverines used a high-caliber uneven bars rotation to fly to the top of the team standings, passing No. 6 Alabama at the halfway point of the meet. Zaziski carried over momentum from vault and her teammates to close the rotation with a 9.950. It marks the fourth time this season she has scored 9.950 or better on the event.

Artz scored a 9.900 just before Zaziski for her fifth 9.900 or better this year on bars. Add in 9.875s by junior Brianna Brown and freshman Polina Shchennikova and a 9.850 by Funk and U-M finished with a 49.450 for its third-highest bars score of the season.

Balance beam continued to be a strong event for the Wolverines. Michigan posted a 49.275 with Artz leading the charge at 9.925. It was a season high by 0.050 as she topped 9.900 for the first time on beam in 2017. Karas, Zaziski and Funk started the rotation off with three consecutive 9.850 scores to put U-M in a great position.

A strong floor routine of 49.475 closed the gap for the Crimson Tide after four events. Alabama then closed out the meet with a 48.800 on bars, putting Michigan in an excellent position to win the meet. The Wolverines trailed by 48.700 heading to floor.

The Wolverines did what they do best on floor -- perform with smiles from ear to ear. McLean and Karas posted back-to-back 9.900 scores, and Zaziski was a late addition, replacing junior Lauren Marinez, and matched the top team score with a 9.900 to tie for third. The team rotation score was a 49.425.

And the Wolverines advanced.

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Michigan will head to the NCAA Championships (April 14-15) at Chaifets Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.

Communications Contact: Ben Blevins

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