2021 – 1st
2020 – 5th
2019 – 5th
2018 – 13th
2017 – 10th
2016 – 11th
2015 – 7th
2014 – 10th
2013 – 7th
2012 – 13th
2021 IN REVIEW
I mean…the championship. So that counts as a good season, right?
Michigan was supposed to be a strong team in 2021, a season where reaching the final four and maybe getting a 198 for the first time seemed like an exciting outside possibility that all the cool kids were predicting beforehand. But Michigan wasn’t supposed to be that good. After losing the Big Ten Championship, it seemed like a familiar story was playing out where a talented Michigan squad would dribble off to about 5th place in the end. Instead, Michigan turned out to be the only team that improved in April and truly brought its very best possible gymnastics to nationals. Yada, yada, yada…the championship.
Lauren Farley – BB
Anne Maxim – UB
THE NEW ONES
Michigan’s trio of newcomers is a talented group with major L10 accomplishments, but we’ve also barely seen anything from them in the preseason exhibitions because of residual injuries, which has led to fairly reserved expectations for how much they will contribute in 2022.
Jacey Vore is a Jaycie Phelps gymnast—it was a whole Jaycie thing—and also one of the strongest L10 competitors in her age group. Vore won her division as a junior at 2019 L10 nationals and went on to place 2nd at the 2020 Nastia Cup, largely thanks to a near-10 on vault. A series of injuries meant that Vore barely competed after that 2020 Nastia Cup, but when back completely, she should be able to provide at least an option on all four events, and probably a couple lineup routines. At Michigan’s most recent preseason meet, she appeared in the exhibition spot on bars and beam, looking like a believable borderline lineup member on both.
Abigael Vides spent some time in elite in 2019, qualifying to US Classic, before returning to L10 for the 2021 season, when she ultimately placed 10th AA in her division at nationals. While floor tumbling is probably Vides’s standout attribute, she also vaults a Y1.5 and has a bars routine that’s easily translatable to college gymnastics. She’ll contend anywhere, and if we had seen her perform at all in preseason meets, she’d be a pick for a couple lineups.
Ashley Lane hasn’t competed a whole lot as a senior but was a standout junior in L10. It may be difficult to break into the competition group on this team, but she should provide a beam option, and even though she hasn’t competed bars since 2018, she has a beautiful Shap 1/2 if Michigan can find the full routine composition to put around it.
In terms of routine quality and scoring, the most reasonable expectation is that Michigan stays at exactly the same level as last season—as long as every healthy person currently on this roster remains that way—with lineups that look largely identical to 2021. That 2021 team…won the championship, so there’s not exactly some pressing need to reinvent anything. Michigan should remain a 198 team that ranks in the top couple spots in 2022. But, last season’s victory also means anything that isn’t a second championship counts as regression.
College gymnastics is going to be better in 2022 than it was in 2021, and it’s going to be harder for any team to win this year. If Michigan repeats, this would count as an even more impressive accomplishment than last season’s win.
2021 Event Ranking: 1
|Lineup locks: Sierra Brooks, Natalie Wojcik, Gabby Wilson, Naomi Morrison, Abby Heiskell|
|Lineup options: Abby Brenner, Reyna Guggino, Jacey Vore, Abigael Vides, Jenna Mulligan, Nicoletta Koulos|
While Michigan’s 2021 squad was not the first ever to bring six Yurchenko 1.5s to the party, that championship season will be remembered for Michigan’s perfection of the strategy, putting forward a final lineup with stickable, 9.950-able Y1.5s from start to finish, vaults that really could have been arranged in any order you wanted.
Essentially, the only question about Michigan’s lineup right now concerns Abby Brenner, whose Y1.5 has been a mainstay for the entirety of her career but who also missed the end of last season on vault with injury. Given how successful the vaulting team was to finish the year, it’s not a sure thing that Brenner returns to the six. She’ll certainly be in contention, though, probably vying with Reyna Guggino for that final spot since it’s tough to see anyone on the Brooks, Wojcik, Wilson, Morrison, Heiskell train getting bumped out right now. But…at least one person with a good 1.5 won’t make the final six.
And maybe more. As for the new athletes, we haven’t seen them vault at all during the preseason, but Jacey Vore had an exceptional Y1.5 in L10 that would theoretically be an equivalent contender for this lineup, if not a frontrunner. Even if we don’t end up seeing Vore break into this difficult vault group in 2022, keep her in mind for future seasons as there will certainly come a time when she is needed/the star on vault. Similar is probably true for Vides, who also has a 1.5 waiting in the wings. With all these options, Michigan should remain one of the best vaulting teams in the country in 2022, and probably the preseason favorite for best vaulting team.
2021 Event Ranking: 3
|Lineup locks: Natalie Wojcik, Sierra Brooks, Abby Heiskell, Abby Brenner, Gabby Wilson|
|Lineup options: Naomi Morrison, Jacey Vore, Nicoletta Koulos, Abigael Vides, Ashley Lane|
Michigan will have to make at least one change to its final bars lineup from last season because Carly Bauman is out for the year with an Achilles injury. Bauman got useful 9.8s toward the end of last season, but Michigan will not view that routine as irreplaceable. The replacement could very well come from the returning roster since Naomi Morrison, who competed bars twice last season for 9.8s but wasn’t needed for the final lineup, has looked pretty good so far, showing a top-6 routine at both of Michigan’s streamed preseason meets. Nicoletta Koulos has been out with an arm injury this fall but is on the road back and may also make the final lineup here given how well she did when needed last season.
Beyond the question over that one spot, it’s quite likely that we’ll see the returning five all reaffirm their places this season since no one seems to be elbowing them out of the way. Bars was strong enough last season that Michigan shouldn’t really worry about keeping things the same. Again, Jacey Vore is knocking on the door of this lineup and could be a challenger to Morrison and Koulos for the open spot, and Vides should be a possibility, but both will have to fight for it.
2021 Event Ranking: 4
|Lineup locks: Natalie Wojcik, Sierra Brooks, Abby Heiskell, Gabby Wilson|
|Lineup options: Reyna Guggino, Naomi Morrison, Jacey Vore, Nicoletta Koulos, Abigael Vides, Ashley Lane, Abby Brenner|
Since both Lauren Farley and Carly Bauman won’t return to the beam lineup this season, Michigan has some replacement work to do, with beam currently looking the least settled and least predictable of the four events. Of course Wojcik and Brooks will be back with the top routines on the team, and if Abby Heiskell’s beam performance at nationals didn’t clinch her a full-time spot in the lineup this season, then literally nothing could.
Beam is Gabby Wilson’s least sure event in that it will sometimes be a 9.7, though I don’t necessarily see anyone knocking her out of the six. It’s possible, but right now she still looks like the choice. Much of the reason Wilson looks like a lock is that there are only four currently active gymnasts on this roster who’ve ever hit a beam routine in competition, and she’s one of them. There will need to be some new on beam.
Michigan certainly has plenty of nominees for new, and one worth keeping an eye on is Reyna Guggino. Guggino has already outperformed pre-college expectations to a massive degree on vault and seems poised to be one of those athletes who randomly adds a new unexpected event every season. This year, you’d think it would be floor, but beam might pull an upset. Guggino didn’t compete beam last season and wasn’t a beamer in L10 (9.2 was a great beam day for Guggino in club), but so far she’s looking like a realistic lineup member.
Perhaps a routine comes from Naomi Morrison, who didn’t compete beam last year but could, or even Abby Brenner, who has been showing routines in preseason despite previously having an EEEEK relationship with beam. Vore should present a possibility here as well, and this seems like Ashley Lane’s most likely event to make, but a lot of that is still up in the air. Filling out the remaining spots in the beam lineup with more than just “well, she could go for 9.825” will be critical for Michigan’s repeat hopes.
2021 Event Ranking: 12
|Lineup locks: Sierra Brooks, Gabby Wilson, Natalie Wojcik|
|Lineup options: Abby Brenner, Abigael Vides, Naomi Morrison, Abby Heiskell, Nicoletta Koulos, Reyna Guggino, Jacey Vore, Ashley Lane|
Before the postseason last year, floor seemed like it would be Michigan’s undoing. It was the problem-child on multiple occasions, including most significantly at the Big Ten Championship. Wojcik and Wilson had both missed a couple times, Brenner got injured, and there didn’t seem to be high-scoring solutions to pick up the slack in the early spots. In the end, things turned out great, which could mean that the athletes who saved the day in the postseason last year, Abby Heiskell and Nicoletta Koulos, are the answer for 2022 as well. Both went straight 9.900+ in each of the last four competitions despite never having scored better than 9.850 on floor before and despite Heiskell not having hit the 9.8 mark on floor in two years.
If that’s the new normal for them, why not? But, Michigan has a decision to make whether that’s the direction to go because I also imagine that the team wants to get Abigael Vides into that lineup, when she’s able, with her fantastic full-in. Floor could be a huge score for her. Michigan will also aim to get Abby Brenner’s full-in back to the lineup, and even though Naomi Morrison didn’t make the final lineup last year, her tumbling ability would put her easily into the top six on this team. Perhaps with another year under her belt, she’ll find the consistency needed to get into the group.
All three of those E-passers are legitimate contenders to join Brooks, Wilson, and Wojcik, the returning locks. Michigan will absolutely need them to avert the regular season floor problems that had the team ranked just 12th on the event last year—and also to ensure that winning a championship doesn’t hinge on people performing out of their skin for scores they’ve never received before.