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What Else Is Blue is Ready for Championships

Big Ten Championship season continues with men’s swimming and track, while a women’s gymnastics record-breaking performance wins the first regular season title of the winter.

UM Photography, D. Oatridge

It’s February and we have our first team Big Ten Championship, the regular season championship for Women’s Golf. Men’s swimming will look to add another title to the mix, while wrestling recovers before getting their turn.

If you’re looking for ball and bat coverage, you can find all the recaps and previews you deserve in solo articles. Click “More” in the bar at the top of the page to find links to all of our softball and baseball coverage.

This Week’s One Thing

Women’s basketball v. #22 Indiana, Sun Mar. 1, Noon

It’s Senior Day at Crisler Arena and Michigan will get one more chance to pick up a ranked win and improve their Big Ten Tournament seed on the last day of the regular season. Michigan will have two honorees: Kayla Robbins, who was an integral part of last year’s late run before going down with injury in her senior year, and Akenrieh Johnson. Johnson had started seven games in three years before stepping into a starter’s role this year. She has averaged 10.5 per game with four 20-point games. Hopefully a big win can close out their Crisler career on a positive note.

Women’s Basketball (18-9. 9-7 B1G)

Last Week: 67-57 W @ MSU, 80-66 W @ Penn St

Upcoming: Sun Mar. 1, Noon v. #22 Indiana

Despite their short bench due to injury, the Wolverines are on a three-game win streak including two big road wins. First, they swept Michigan State for the first time since 2015. Michigan’s defense owned the first two quarters, as Michigan held Michigan State to 25 points in the first half, while scoring 26 points in just the second quarter. The Spartans found their rhythm in the third, scoring 18 points to cut the deficit to just 3. While the fourth quarter itself was pretty even, the Wolverines were able to hold on. Some of the credit for the hold goes to Amy Dilk, who went to the free throw line eight times in the final 2:30 and made all eight. MSU tried to extend the game but Dilk didn’t let them gain any ground. As usual Naz Hillmon led the way, scoring 26. Michigan then travelled to Penn State and won a no-doubter. Michigan led almost the whole game, Dilk came just a little bit shy of a triple double with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Hillmon scored 26 again. Maddie Nolan scored a career high with 10.

Michigan is currently the sixth seed, and is locked into no lower than a seventh seed and a first-round Big Ten Tournament bye. They can get as high as fifth with a win over Indiana, but they need a Rutgers loss to Iowa for that to happen. If that happens and they get a friendly Thursday matchup in the Big Ten Tournament, they’ll get a couple extra opportunities to help their NCAA Tournament seed.

#7 Women’s Gymnastics

Last Week: 1st of 5, Elevate The Stage

Upcoming: Fri Feb. 28, 6:30 v. New Hampshire

Michigan women’s gymnastics put together an all-time great performance in Toledo, Ohio last weekend, earning a school record 197.950 to beat out Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan State, and Maryland, rounding out an undefeated conference season with the Big Ten regular season championship. Opening on vault Michigan earned four 9.9 or higher scores, led by 9.95s from both Abby Brenner and Natalie Wojcik. Wojcik repeated that 9.95 on bars, before putting together a 9.975 on beam. Abby Heiskell’s 9.925 helped quite a bit, as did Lexi Funk’s 9.9. Michigan also got four 9.9’s on the floor to close things out, led by Gabby Wilson’s 9.95. Wojcik won the all-around with a 9.9 in all four events, while Sierra Brooks came in third.

Michigan will now host New Hampshire for a spring break tune up.

#3 Men’s Swimming (6-1, 4-1 B1G)

Ongoing: Big Ten Championship, Bloomington, IN: Fri Feb. 28-Sat Feb. 29, 11:30a and 6p

Men’s swimming is already participating in the Big Ten Championships, and are in the lead at the halfway point. There are two days left, but many Wolverines have already won Big Ten individual titles. On Wednesday, Patrick Callan, Felix Auböck, Charlie Swanson, and Tommy Cope won the 800-yard freestyle relay, while a second place effort in the 200-yard medley relay met the standard to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Thursday saw two golds, with Ross Todd taking the championship in one meter diving, and Auböck leading a podium sweep in the 500-yard freestyle. Callan and Ricardo Vargas came in second and third, respectively. Still to come on Friday, Cope enters the 400-yard individual medley as the one seed, while Callan does the same in the 200 free. On Saturday Auböck will look for another medal, as the first seed in the 1650 free.

#5 Women’s Swimming (6-0, 4-0 B1G)

Last Week: 2nd of 13, Big Ten Championships

Upcoming: Sun Mar. 1, OSU Last Chance Meet

While the Wolverines came up just short as a team in the Big Ten Championships, plenty of individual championships made the trip to Iowa City worthwhile. Maggie MacNeil was the highlight, winning her second consecutive titles in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, and adding a third in the 100 free. Senior Miranda Tucker took gold in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Olivia Carter won the 200 fly, giving the Wolverines five individual championships. They also earned gold medals in three relays: the 400 free, 200 medley, and 400 medley. MacNeil, Tucker, and Daria Pyshnenko participated in all three relays. Carter joined the 400 free and medley, with Claire Maiocco rounding out the 200 medley.

Some Wolverines will take one more shot at improving their NCAA qualifying times at Ohio State’s Last Chance Meet this Sunday.

#2 Men’s Gymnastics

Last Week: Winter Challenge Cup

Upcoming Sat Feb. 29, 1p v. #10 Minnesota

Cameron Bock and Paul Juda participated in the Winter Challenge Cup in Las Vegas, an event that mixed college students and professionals. Juda finished eighth in the all-around competition, and as a result was named to the US Senior National Team. Bock finished 13th. Juda will be joined on the national team by Wolverine alum Sam Mikulak, who won the all-around competition.

The Wolverines now look back to team competition, where they will host the Golden Gophers in another tough Big Ten competition.

Track and Field

Last Week: Silverston Invitational, Ann Arbor, MI, Alex Wilson Invitational, South Bend, IN

Upcoming: Big Ten Championships, Geneva, OH, Fri Feb. 28-Sat Feb. 29, 11a

Michigan track closed the home leg of their indoor schedule as hosts of the Silverston Invitational, welcoming a handful of MAC and other Michigan schools to Ann Arbor. The highlight of the event was a podium sweep of the 3000 meters, led by Will Landowne, Tom Brady (I know I know), and Nick Trevisan. Thomas Shilgalis and Evan Meyer also took the top two spots in the 800 meter. On the women’s side the high mark was Samatha Saenz second-place mile finish. A much smaller contingent closed out the regular season at Notre Dame, with Jena Metwalli coming in second in the mile.

Michigan will now head to the Big Ten Indoor Championship. Andrew Liskowitz will try to win his second title in shot put, while the women’s 4x400 relay team will enter the competition with the conference’s current high mark.

#22 Wrestling (7-6, 5-4 B1G)

Last Week: 33-5 W @ Edinboro

Michigan wrestling closed their regular season with a dominant performance at Edinboro. The Wolverines went 8-2 at the meet, including the conclusion of Mason Parris’ undefeated regular season. The Wolverines will now take a break to prepare for next week’s Big Ten Championships.

#5 Men’s Tennis (11-3)

Last Week: 4-0 L @ Oklahoma St., 4-3 W @ Notre Dame

Upcoming: Sat Feb. 29, Noon v. Penn State, Sun Mar. 1, 11a v. Brown, 4p Boston University

Coming off an extremely successful weekend at the National Indoor Championships, the Wolverines had the wind taken out of their sails at Oklahoma State, suffering a sweep. While Michigan might have pulled out a couple of wins in the unfinished matches, it was for naught as the losses all finished in straight sets. They recovered in South Bend, winning a hard fought 4-3 match. Michigan took the doubles point before Nick Beatty extended the lead to 2-0. Notre Dame would tie it 2-2, and a win by Connor Johnston would put Michigan within a point of the win. The match came down to Ondrej Styler at #2, and he dispatched Notre Dame with a 7-5 third set win.

Michigan opens the Big Ten season by hosting Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 7-3 having been swept at their ITA Kickoff Regional in Kentucky but relatively successful otherwise. They’ll then host Brown and BU in a pair of matches Sunday.

#16 Women’s Tennis (4-4)

Upcoming: Fri Feb. 28, 6p v. #11 Princeton, Tue Mar. 3, 3p ET @ #4 Texas

Women’s tennis was off last week, and welcomes #11 Princeton to town. Having dropped 3 of the last 4, this match will provide Michigan an opportunity to get some much-needed momentum with the Big Ten season approaching. Princeton is 9-2, so a win would be a good resume item come NCAA Tournament time. They’ll then travel to Texas, looking to put their road woes behind them and take the huge upset.

#14 Women’s Lacrosse (3-1)

Last Week: 15-11 W v. Louisville, 20-7 W v. Colorado

Upcoming: Sat Feb. 29, Noon v. Albany, Wed Mar 4, 2p ET @ Vanderbilt

Michigan won a pair of important games this weekend, first taking down Louisville and then steamrolling Colorado to knock the Buffs out of the rankings. Against Louisville, Michigan opened on a 5-0 run but the Cardinals spent the first half chipping away at that lead until it was 7-6 at halftime. Maggie Kane scored two first half goals. Louisville would tie it up early in the second and the teams would trade goals, with Louisville unable to take the lead. Tied 11-11 with six to play, Michigan went on a 4-0 game-ending run, with Caitlin Muir assisting on two goals and scoring the dagger to win 15-11. Against Colorado the Wolverines came out lightning quick again, scoring six of the first seven goals and establishing a lead that would hold through the whole game. By halftime the score was 13-4 and Kane already had a hat trick. Kane would finish with 4 and Muir would complete a hat trick of her own, as did Molly Garret and Kaitlyn Mead. Last year Michigan announced they had arrived against Colorado, this year it could be a springboard to similar success.

Michigan now hosts 1-1 Albany before heading to Nashville. Vanderbilt is 3-2 with a loss to the Louisville team Michigan just beat.

Men’s Lacrosse (2-2)

Last Week: 14-12 L v. Merrimack

Upcoming: Sat Feb. 29, 3p v. St. Johns

Michigan took a tough loss, providing Merrimack with its first win as a Division 1 program. It was a close match, and Merrimack spent much of it with a one-goal lead. Josh Zawada earned a hat trick, and Michigan trailed by just one with six minutes to go. They could not find the equalizer, and Merrimack scored the dagger with two minutes to play.

Michigan will host St. Johns this weekend. St. Johns lost their first two matches but has recovered to even their record at 2-2.

#7 Water Polo (7-8)

Last Week: 11-10 W v. #8 Cal, 7-2 L v. #2 UCLA, 9-8 L v. #5 UC Irvine, 5-4 W v. #8 UCSB

Upcoming: Wolverine Invitational, Ann Arbor, MI: Sat Feb. 29, 9:20a v. Santa Clara, 5:40p v. #15 Long Beach State, Sun Mar. 1, 9:20a v. Iona, 4p v. #22 Bucknell

Michigan went 2-2 at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, including a previously elusive win over a higher ranked opponent in Cal. Michigan won that one in dramatic fashion, with Anne Rankin scoring the game-tying goal with just three seconds left to send it to overtime at 8-8. They needed similar dramatics in the first OT. With eight seconds left Ava Morrant tied it at 10-10 extended the game into a second OT. Erin Neustrom’s lone goal held up in double OT, and the Wolverines won. Michigan lost in the second round to UCLA and dropped a narrow contest spurred by a 3-1 fourth quarter for UC Irvine. Michigan closed the weekend on a high note, winning a defensive battle against UCSB. Neustrom again marked the game-winning tally.

The Wolverines come home this weekend, hosting an Invitational in Ann Arbor. Michigan will play four games, with the highlight matches coming against Long Beach State and Bucknell.

Women’s Golf

Upcoming: Hurricane Invitational, Coral Gables, FL: Mon-Tue Mar. 2-3

Women’s golf continues their spring season by heading to Miami. They’ll be joined by a slew of Big Ten teams, including #30 Illinois, Penn State, Maryland, and Indiana.