National champions! Michigan claims first NCAA title with Program Best Score

National champions! Michigan claims first NCAA title with Program Best Score

17-4-2021 7:29:00 PM

// Megan McIntosh

Michigan has earned its first NCAA Championship and joins an exclusive club, becoming only the seventh team to ever win one.
The Wolverines scored a best program 198.2500 in their national championship victory.
»The UM score is the third highest score in the history of the national championships.

Site: Fort Worth, Texas (Dickies Arena)
Event: NCAA Championships (Team Finals)
Scores: Michigan 198.2500, Oklahoma 198.1625, Utah 197.9875, Florida 197.1375
Mention: UM (29-2)
Next UM event: Season Complete (NCAA Champion!)

• Full results (pdf) | Photo gallery

FORT WORTH, Texas – It all came down to a final routine, like any other event had ended. Junior Abby Heiskell stood alone on the bar while the rest of the University of Michigan’s No. 2-ranked gymnastics team watched and waited for the final score to flash. Heiskell needed a 9.8500 for the Wolverines to capture their first-ever championship, taking a 9.9250, and Michigan became the 2021 national champion at Dickies Arena Saturday afternoon (April 17) with a best schedule of 198.2500.

UM joined an exclusive club to become only the seventh team to ever capture an NCAA women’s gymnastics title, with the third best score in championship history and the best score in Michigan history. The Wolverines join Georgia, Utah, UCLA, Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida as the only teams in the country to win a national championship.

“I’ve been waiting for this feeling for 32 years,” said the head coach Bev Plocki“It’s just incredible pride and just admiration for what our team has been through and the sacrifices they have made.”

Michigan led the entire game, slightly ahead of 0.0500 after the first rotation across the field before rising 0.1375 for the second and third rotations. The all-round trio from Heiskell, Sierra Brooks and Natalie Wojcik all posted scores of 39.7000 or higher to take the top three places in Michigan NCAA history. Brooks led the group with a 39.7750 and becomes the UM all-around leader at the NCAA Championships, while Wojcik is second in Michigan NCAA history with a 39.7375, and Heiskell rounds out the top three with a 39.7250 in the all-around.

Brooks, Wojcik and Heiskell finished the match with three consecutive scores of 9,900 or higher to take the championship title. Brooks scored a 9.9625 on beam, Wojcik followed with a 9.9875 and Heiskell finished the championship with a 9.9250.

The Wolverines started on the ground with five consecutive scores of 9.9000 or better Nicoletta Koulos scored a career-high 9.9125 and Wojcik equaled a career best with a 9.9500. Michigan closed the rotation with 9.9125s from Heiskell and Brooks, while Gabby Wilson anchored the floor with a 9.9375, giving UM a 49.6250 after one full turn.

The Wolverines kept doing it as they scored a 49.6500 on the vault behind Heiskell and Brooks, who both had career-high 9.9750s, while Wojcik scored a 9.9375. Moving to the uneven bars, Heiskell started over with a wonderful routine, scoring her third score of 9,900 or better on the day with a 9.9125 while junior Abby Brenner returned from injury and put together a 9.9250 in her lone event of the day to rekindle the Michigan energy. After the third rotation, the Wolverines led the field with 0.1375 with a running score of 148.7625 and one rotation between them and a national championship.

With all eyes in the arena at Michigan, Brooks, Wojcik and Heiskell delivered the competition and closed the competition with some of the best gymnastics classes of their career to capture the first-ever national women’s gymnastics title in Michigan and etch their name in the history of UM and NCAA.

• Watch Michigan win its first national women’s gymnastics championship
• Top highlights from the 2021 Women’s Gymnastics Championship Finals