Michigan wins first women's NCAA gymnastics championships

The Wolverines narrowly held off the University of Oklahoma, which was seeking its fifth title

By Scott Bregman
Picture by USA TODAY Sports

The University of Michigan women's gymnastics team earned its first NCAA team title Saturday at Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas, narrowly holding off the University of Oklahoma in a competition that came down to the final routine.

Michigan totaled 198.250, just ahead of OU's 198.1625. The University of Utah was third at 197.9875, followed by the University of Florida (197.1375).

The competition came down to the final routine - Michigan's Abby Heiskell on balance beam, who needed a 9.85 to secure the victory. Her 9.925 pushed Michigan over the top.

"I'm just so overwhelmed and I'm so proud of this team. I'm so happy for the sacrifices and the hard work, everything that they put into this season," said head coach Bev Plocki, who has guided the Wolverines for more than three decades. "I'm so thankful to all the people who allowed this to happen for us, made this happen for us. I'm just so overwhelmed right now I'm not even sure what to say."

Michigan is now the seventh team to win a title in NCAA history.

Michigan leads wire-to-wire in tight battle

The first rotation signaled a coming battle as Michigan led the way over Oklahoma, but only barely. The Wolverines opened with a 49.625 on the floor exercise, counting no score below 9.9. OU earned 49.575 on the vault.

After sticking three of its six Yurchenko one-and-a-half vaults, Michigan posted a 49.650 and pushed their narrow lead slightly wider. After two events, it was Michigan 99.275 to Oklahoma 99.1375. Utah 99.125

Going into the final rotation, Michigan continued to lead. But the top three teams were separated by just .162.

After two weak routines in the middle of the lineup failed to break 9.800, Michigan's final three performances from Sierra Brooks, Natalie Wojcik and Heiskell earned 9.9625, 9.9875 and 9.925, respectively, to slip past Oklahoma.