Michigan gymnasts embrace at the 2022 national championship.

LIVE BLOG: No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 4 Michigan

Here we go. Here it is! Oklahoma faced Florida on Friday in what was a rematch of last year’s national championship battle, and this one could be a preview of the fight to come in Fort Worth.

Michigan is fresh off a double and a tie for the Big Ten regular season title. Big Fives had some mistakes, but the Wolverines came roaring back to a huge total on Monday at Nebraska to land at a live No. 2 ranking, leaping both Florida and Utah to get there. The Sooners are coming off of the Florida contest and on the heels of a record-breaking 198.575 versus West Virginia. Safe to say both teams are coming in hot.

Oklahoma has an edge in the first half, but if Michigan is close after two and can avoid any beam mishaps, it gets to close on its best event and could seal an upset. Beam has been the Wolverines’ occasional sticking point this year, but when they hit they do it with an exclamation point.

This is also senior night for Michigan, and fifth years Natalie Wojcik and Abby Heiskell will be saying goodbye to their time in Crisler, as will true seniors Sierra Brooks, Gabby Wilson and Nicoletta Koulos. None of the latter three have indicated whether or not they will use their Covid eligibility. It’s a group that has rewritten Michigan gymnastics history; we can expect tonight to be explosive and emotional.

Look, so technically I had to make the headline “No. 4 Michigan” because we use official RTN rankings and that was true at the beginning of the week. But here I am sitting down to get started on Monday and this is No. 1 vs. No. 2. Let’s be real about it.

Rotation 1: Michigan vault, Oklahoma bars

Wojcik (UM): Y1.5, hop forward. 9.85

Sievers (OU): Great hanstand. Maloney to Pak, clean there. Late on her pirouette on the low bar. FTDB stuck. 9.925

Wilson (UM): Y1.5, another hop forward, clean in the air. 9.9

Fletcher (OU): Huge pike Jaeger, close on the catch. Toe hand to Pak, nice. Little late on the half. FTDB, little balance check but didn’t move her feet. 9.8, the Jaeger catch.

Morrison (UM): Y1.5, big! Foot adjustment backward. 9.875

Trautman (OU): Maloney, leg sep to Pak, a little more leg sep. Best low bar pirouette yet. Great last hanstand. DLO absolutely nailed landing. 9.925

Brooks (UM): Y1.5, massive, overcooked, big hop forward and took a second little hop. 9.8, that’s gentle.

Smith (OU): Ray was clean. Toe hand to pak, some leg sep. Whipped DLO, true stick. 9.9

Heiskell (UM): Y1.5, lovely in the air, a hop. 9.8, I would have that higher than Brooks if we’re ranking vaults.

Bowers (OU): Blind to Jaeger, good catch. Clean Pak. FTDB, stuck. Very clean. 9.95

Morgan (UM): Yfull, nice body position, hop back. 9.8

Davis (UM): Hect mount. Higgins to huge pike Jaeger, good position on the catch. Some slight arm bend on the Pak catch. Excellent handstand. Late Higgins to double front half, usual leg form, stuck. 9.95, Kathy wanted a 10, but given the dismount legs I think 9.95 is right.

After 1: Oklahoma 49.650, Michigan 49.225

Oklahoma has small errors here and there but that bar rotation is really lovely. The Sooners are so patient in handstands and turning elements, and it really pays off. Michigan just gave it away in hops! Those vaults are delightful in the air. Most everyone was hopping in the right direction (too much power) though, which is always what you want if it’s not stuck. Just too much excitement to kick things off.

Rotation 2: Michigan bars, Oklahoma vault

Sievers (OU): Y1.5, soft knees and a step forward and sideways over the directional line. 9.85

Heiskell (UM): Blind to Jeager, soft knees on the catch. Clean Pak. Blind fullt to double tuck, stuck I think I blinked at the wrong second I’m SORRY. 9.95

Stern (OU): Yfull, really off, bailed out of the twist, which was smart, came in low. She’s fine but rattled. 9.775, lowered to 9.75 after the judges chatted.

Wilson (UM): Blind to pike Jaeger, good catch. Bail hand was clean. DLO, little low but good landing. 9.95

LeVasseur (OU): Judges are chatting about Stern’s number. Y1.5, good amplitude, step forward. 9.9

Koulos (UM): Blind to Jeager, some soft knees on the catch. Bail hand was a bit loose. DLO, shuffled her feet back. 9.85

Trautman (OU): Y1.5, true stick. It could be another 10, just flawless. 9.975

Bauman (UM): Blind to BIG Jaeger immediate bail hand. Toe blind, fought for it, saved it with an arm bend, stuck double front. 9.8

Bowers (OU): Y1.5, some hip angle and a step forward. 9.9

Brooks (UM): Blind pike Jaeger, good there. Clean handstands. Bail hand was good. FTDL true stick, chest was up, wow. 9.975

Davis (OU): Y1.5, leg sep on the table, step back. 9.775

Wojcik (UM): Toe hand to her usual Deltchev immediate bail. Good handstand. DLO step back. 9.9

After 2: Oklahoma 99.050, Michigan 98.850

Oooh some subtle KJ Kindler moment here in an interview with Sam P. “We knew all season this was coming, you have to come in with your best team and give it all you got.” Take that how ever you choose, I’m taking it with tea.

Little weirdness from the Sooners on vault, too. Stern’s issue was weird. She was just crunchy in the roundoff and then everything was off. Maybe her board or steps or something were off, who knows. Oklahoma managed to stay ahead, but the Wolverines gained some ground with really great bar work. This is right where Michigan wanted to be, in striking distance with it’s amazing floor lineup still to come. This one won’t be over until it’s over.

Scores are trending…generous but I’m not even mad. This is the battle we wanted.

Rotation 3: Michigan beam, Oklahoma floor

Bauman (UM): Bhs loso, solid. Cat to switch half, seemed a little short to me, immediate beat. Strong on her piked side somi. Gainer pike, weight was back on her heels a little but she covered with an immediate salute. 9.9

Davis (OU): FHS front 2/1, momentum out of it was moving a little quickly forward, but they probably won’t take anything. Switch full wolf full, wolf position was a little low. RO 3/2 front 1/1, same landing as on the first pass. 9.9

Wilson (UM): Hitch kick. Bhs loso, no movement. Standing switch switch, her vintage. Check. on the full turn. RO double tuck, stuck today! 9.975?! Oh.

Smith (OU): Double tuck, scooted both feet in the lunge. RO 3/2 front lay, great amplitude. Clean on her leaps. Double pike, short so she has to lunge forward. 9.825

Koulos (UM): Bhs loso, she was off slightly from teh top, dropped her shoulder on the landing. Small adjustment on her full turn in attitude. Big chest down and leg up check on her leap. Cat to front aerial, another check. RO 3/2 true stick. 9.7

Fletcher (OU): Whip to double tuck, good landing if a little quick into the lunge. Front lay front full, really arched the lay down. Clean switch half Popa. 5/2 to close, really nice twisting form. 9.95

Brooks (UM): Solid bhs loso. Switch switch was her usual, which is to say strong and clean. Leg up check on her front toss. Bhs 2/1, one knee buckled a bit on the landing but she didn’t move a foot. 9.825

Sievers (OU): FTDB, short and leg sep, she landed with a low chest and hopped forward. Front through dobuel tuck, good landing there. Soft front knee on her switch half. 9.825

Heiskell (UM): Cat to side aerial, solid. Great switch switch. Leg up on her bhs loso. Check on the full turn. RO 3/2 stuck. 9.8

Torrez (OU): DLO, huge, good landing. Bart just gave a breathless “woahhh”. Switch full wolf full, one of the better wolf positions out there. Front through double tuck, little too much oomph and had to adjust her feet in the lunge. 9.925

Wojcik (UM): Who better to have up after a nervy rotation? Miss beam herself. Good front aerial to beat. Her usual lovely switch to split. Hit triple series. RO 3/2, deep in the knees but held her feet still. 9.975

Bowers (OU): Great double pike. Missed the punch on her FHS 2/1 punch front, didn’t get the height in the front and fell. Clean on her leaps.

After 3: Oklahoma 148.475, Michigan 148.325

Oh this is getting interesting. Michigan is inching closer as the Sooners showed some fatigue on floor. The Wolverines were nervy, but minimized mistakes and Wojcik and Wilson bookended the wobbly routines with those near-perfect sets to keep things close. Oklahoma gymnastics is beam. Michigan gymnastics is floor. This should be spicy.

Rotation 4: Michigan floor, Oklahoma beam

Dunn (OU): Quick and clean on her triple series. Steady on her leaps, maybe one shoulder slightly low. Gainer full off the side, low chest. 9.9

Koulos (UM): Let’s see if she can leave that beam routine behind her. Nice 5/2 punch front, safe to say she’s mentally set. Clean leaps, bit imprecise on the rotation. Double pike, hops into the lunge. 9.925

Trautman (OU): Check on her full turn, just in her shoulders. Small adjustment in her hips on her bhs loso. Clean leaps. Check on her front toss. RO 3/2 hops back. 9.85

Heiskell (UM): Hops forward on her double Arabian, phew it was in the rafters. Switch half wolf full, nice there. RO 3/2 front full, good there. 9.925

Bowers (OU): Soft knees on her bhs loso, small check. Leap to switch half, clean. Little slow in the connection but still definitely connected. RO 2/1 crossed legs, held her landing, dropped her chest some. 9.95

Wojcik (UM): Tour jete full, little shy of the rotation. RO 3/2 front lay, low on the lay, sort of bounced on the landing. Clean trou jete half Popa. Good landing on her double back, she blows kisses to the crowd and the emotions are hitting. 9.925

Davis (OU): Her flow on beam is so satisfying. Solid bhs loso. No movement on the front aerial. Beat to split ring, little low on the front leg. RO 2/1, crossed her feet and a little chest adjustment on the landing. 9.95

Morrison (UM): FTDB, bit low chest and jumped into the lunge to cover it. Front lay front full, good landing. Switch half wolf full, little off on the wolf shape. Double tuck, slid back into the lunge. 9.95

Torrez (OU): Side aerial loso, small adjustment in her hips. Break in her hips on her leaps, with an arm swing. RO 3/2, steps into the salute. 9.75

Brooks (UM): Stepped back in her FTDB, almost OOB but I didn’t see a flag. Lovely tour jete half split full. Front through double tuck, much better landing. 9.9

Smith (OU): Bhs loso, stepped backward and turned to the side. Solid front aerial. Straddle half to bhs swingdown, little off to one side. Bhs gainer full, good landing. 9.8

Wilson (UM): Will we see a 10 tonight? FTDB, slid back in the lunge. Smith score is in, UM has it! This is just gravy. Clean combo pass. Switch side to Popa, her usual huge straddles. Double tuck, again slid her front foot. 9.975

FINAL: Michigan 198.025, Oklahoma 197.925

Wow what a meet! That’s the Sooners’ first loss of the year. This is a statement win for the Wolverines, who have showed some shakiness in big, significant meets this year. Scores were certainly happy, but given the landscape this season did we expect anything different?

Nationals is going to be interesting, folks!

VT: Trautman 9.975
UB: Brooks 9.975
BB: Wilson, Wojcik 9.975
FX: Wilson 9.975
AA: Wilson 39.800

READ THIS NEXT: For Lucie Kirchner, Michigan Was a Distant Dream. Now It’s a Second Home

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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