May 5, 2017
The 2017 season saw the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team make a big jump from the start of the season to the end. After starting the year with a pair of sub-196.000 scores on the road, the Wolverines made steady improvements and scored a 197.000 or above in six straight meets leading into the NCAA Championships. Along the way, U-M captured its third Big Ten regular-season title, 23rd Big Ten championship and 12th NCAA Regional title, adding to the overflowing trophy cases at the Donald R. Shepherd Women's Gymnastics Center. The Wolverines ended the year with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Missouri.
The team racked up a 27-7 record, including an 8-1 conference mark. The team won six straight dual meets during the middle of their season.
Michigan celebrates its NCAA Regional title
Nicole Artz hugs her teammates after scoring a perfect 10.0 on floor exercise vs. Illinois
Michigan competed in its 23rd NCAA Championships with three individuals earning second team NACGC/W All-America honors. Olivia Karas (vault, all-around), Nicole Artz (uneven bars and floor exercise) and Brianna Brown (uneven bars) all finished in the top eight of their semifinal session on their respective events.
With a score of 197.350 at the NCAA Regional in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Wolverines captured their 12th regional title and earned a spot in the NCAA semifinals. It is Michigan's highest regional score since 1997 when it posted a 197.700. Junior Paige Zaziski won the all-around for the first time at Michigan, capturing regional titles on vault and bars as well. Sophomore Emma McLean tied Zaziski for the vault title, and Artz was the only gymnast in the meet to score a 9.900 or better on beam, winning with a 9.925.
Senior captains Artz and Talia Chiarelli closed out their careers with four straight Big Ten Championships, helping the Wolverines to their 23rd Big Ten title in program history with a score of 197.300. U-M won four titles in the meet. Artz picked up the all-around title with a score of 39.500. McLean had the routine of the night with her 9.975 on vault. Chiarelli scored a 9.925 to win beam, and Karas tied for the floor win with a 9.925 to give U-M the floor crown in four straight seasons.
Michigan had a season-high 197.825 at the Flip for Chip Meet in Crisler Center, matching the second-highest team score in program history. The win over Southern Utah also featured the fourth-highest bars score all-time as the Wolverines went 49.550. On floor, the team had all six gymnasts score a 9.900 or better for a 49.600 rotation score.
After an early-season loss on the road, the Wolverines did not lose another meet against a conference opponent. U-M won all four dual meets and won the Big Five Meet to tie with Nebraska for the best record in the Big Ten. On the way to the program's third regular-season title, Michigan defeated Nebraska handily at home, 197.225-194.800.
Artz earned two All-America honors to give her eight in her career. She received the University of Michigan's most prestigious honor, the Big Ten Medal of Honor for excellence in her sport, the classroom and the community. An AAI Award finalist, Artz finished with numerous honors, including Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, NACGC/W Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year, All-Big Ten first team honors and two regular-season All-America honors for finishing ranked eighth nationally on floor and 13th in the all-around. She won 13 individual event titles and scored a 9.900 or better on 16 routines.
Chiarelli earned All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten accolades while serving as a team captain for the second straight year. She won her second Big Ten title with a 9.925 on beam. The senior ranked in the top-40 nationally on all three of her events, won six individual event titles and scored a 9.900 or better on eight routines.
Karas followed up a tremendous freshman season with another great year. She earned All-America honors on two events after winning her first career Big Ten title. She was on the All-Big Ten first team for the second straight season after ranking in the top 40 nationally in the all-around, vault and floor. She recorded eight individual-event wins along with two all-around victories on the year, scoring 9.900 or better on 15 routines.
McLean had a breakout year as a sophomore. She won both the NCAA Regional and Big Ten vault titles, surging to one of the best in the nation after upgrading her vault to a Yurchenko 1 1/2. She was a regular-season All-American on the event, ranking tied for ninth nationally. She also ranked tied for 20th on floor. The Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner and All-Big Ten first team selection won nine event titles and scored 9.900 or better on 15 routines.
Zaziski brought a lot to the Wolverines as a transfer. She competed on all four events at different times throughout the season and had a huge NCAA Regional with three titles. She was a regular-season All-American on bars, ranking tied for 10th in the nation. She was an All-Big Ten first team choice who won seven event titles and scored 9.900 or better eight times.
Honors & Awards
All-America (Second Team): Nicole Artz (bars, floor), Brianna Brown (bars), Olivia Karas (vault, all-around)
AAI Award Finalist: Nicole Artz
NACGC/W Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year: Nicole Artz
NACGC/W Regular Season All-America: Nicole Artz (first team on floor, second team in all-around), Emma McLean (second team on vault), Paige Zaziski (second team on bars)
NCAA Regional Champion: Nicole Artz (beam), Emma McLean (vault), Paige Zaziski (all-around, vault, bars)
NCAA Northeast Region Coach of the Year: Bev Plocki
NCAA Co-Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year: Dave Kuzara, Scott Sherman, Brooke Parker
Big Ten Conference
Big Ten Medal of Honor: Nicole Artz
Gymnast of the Year: Nicole Artz
Big Ten Champion: Nicole Artz (all-around), Talia Chiarelli (beam), Olivia Karas (floor), Emma McLean (vault)
All-Big Ten Championships Team: Nicole Artz, Talia Chiarelli, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean
Sportsmanship Award: Emma McLean
All-Big Ten (First Team): Nicole Artz, Talia Chiarelli, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean, Paige Zaziski
All-Big Ten (Second Team): Lauren Marinez
Academic All-Big Ten: Nicole Artz, Brianna Brown, Talia Chiarelli, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean
Big Ten Weekly Honors
Gymnast: Nicole Artz (Jan. 23), Nicole Artz (Jan. 30), Nicole Artz (Feb. 13), Olivia Karas (Mar. 6)
Event Specialist: Nicole Artz (Jan. 16), Lauren Marinez (Jan. 23), Paige Zaziski (Feb. 6), Emma McLean (Feb. 20), Emma McLean (Feb. 27), Emma McLean (Mar. 6), Paige Zaziski (Mar. 13)
Freshman: Lexi Funk (Feb. 20), Lexi Funk (Mar. 13)
Team Captains: Nicole Artz, Talia Chiarelli
Senior High Honors: Nicole Artz, Talia Chiarelli
Senior Honors: Cailee Hills
Sophomore and Junior High Honors: Paige Zaziski
Sophomore and Junior Honors: Brianna Brown, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean
Freshman Academic Achievement Award: Lexi Funk, Maddy Osman, Polina Shchennikova
Communications Contact: Ben Blevins