Michigan Gymnasts Tumble to No. 3 National Ranking

UM Coach: Staying on the balance beam links to future professional success for her nationally ranked gymnasts.

The University of Michigan Women’s Gymnastics Team’s 5-0 start is giving the athletes the confidence they need to compete with the nation’s powerhouse schools, says Coach Bev Plocki.

Now in her 27th season in Ann Arbor, Plocki says her No. 3-ranked team seeks to carry the momentum into the rest of the Big Ten season and toward the national championships.

“We want to keep making the small improvements and maintain our consistency and being the ‘little engine that could’” she says.

Two metro Detroit gymnasts are on the Michigan team:

  • Lindsay Williams, of Northville, a senior co-captain, was a walk on and is now a scholarship athlete. An environmental science major, she specializes on the uneven bars and the balance beam, adding floor exercise this year. Vault is not in her repertoire because of a knee injury prior to college. “She’s worked so hard for three years on her leg strength and now she’s doing a really nice floor routine in our lineup,” Plocki says.
  • Emma McClean, of Clarkston, is a freshman. “She’s a very quick twitch and powerful athlete so floor and vault are her very strong events,” Plocki says.

Unlike most college sports, which athletes begin in grade school or junior high, gymnasts often began tumbling, swinging and flipping as toddlers. Plocki says that sometimes changes how she coaches.

“I think because most of our athletes do start very young, it’s kind of part of who we are, and that’s both a blessing and a curse,” she says. “A lot of what I have to do with team is build them up every day, encouraging them and letting them know that it’s OK to not be absolutely perfect every day.”

Still, she finds that student-athletes who strive for quality work achieve far beyond the gym.

“It’s that desire to attain perfection that makes them excellent,” Plocki says.

The Wolverines have home meets Monday, Feb. 8 against Eastern Michigan University and Maryland and Sunday, Feb. 14 against Michigan State University. A full schedule is here.

Click on the link above to hear the full interview with Coach Plocki.


  • Sandra Svoboda
    Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.