The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 15   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Getting To Know Women's Gymnastics Sophomore Maddie Mariani Women's gymnastics sophomore Maddie Mariani is off to a hot start in the 2020 cam- paign, with the high- light of her season so far (as of Feb. 11) occurring in Michi- gan's triumph over Rutgers Jan. 24, when she tallied a career- high score of 9.875 on beam against the Scarlet Knights. The sophomore al- ready owns two ca- reer marks of 9.900 as well, first posting the score on bars last sea- son at the Elevate The Stage meet in Toledo, Ohio, and then do- ing so again on vault just one week later at Utah. Here are a few more interesting facts you may not have known about Mariani: Nickname: "When I was a freshman, it started out as 'Puppy.' It later turned into 'MadDog' and 'MadPup,' and is now 'MadBar' this year." Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: "Pizza House." Best meal she can cook by herself: "Scrambled eggs." Hobbies: "I like to drive around and listen to music with my teammates, and go to downtown Ann Arbor." Favorite TV show: "'Grey's Anatomy.'" Favorite movie: "'Endless Love.'" Dream vacation: "I'd love to go to Greece." Favorite place she's been to: "Hawai'i. I went out there last summer." Favorite professional athlete: "[Russian-American artistic gym- nast] Nastia Liukin." Role model: "My mom." Sports she plays besides gymnastics: "I actually have never re- ally played any other sports. I started with gymnastics when I was super young and have always just stuck with it." Why she chose Michigan: "The combination of the amazing athletics and academics. I knew I wanted to go to a big school and somewhere that had not only the four seasons, but also different weather than where I'm from [Tucson, Ariz.]." What she hopes to do after gymnastics: "I'd like to go to nurs- ing school and eventually become a nurse." Her overall experience at Michigan: "I can honestly say it has been the best two years of my life. It has been so fun here, espe- cially this season. I'm now living in a house with my close team- mates, and we're having a great year so far. Last season was also more than any of us could have ever imagined." — Austin Fox Mariani helped the Wolverines win the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships last year, and competed for the squad at the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY MICHIGAN'S TOP PERFORMERS Women's basketball sophomore forward Naz Hillmon: She racked up a career-high 30 points on 14-of-19 shooting in Michigan's 78-63 victory over No. 18 Iowa Feb. 2 in Ann Arbor. Hillmon also pulled down 10 rebounds (five offen- sive) to help U-M pick up its only win over a ranked squad this season (as of Feb. 12). The sophomore also chipped in two assists and a steal against the Hawkeyes, while connecting on 2 of 3 free throws and playing all 40 minutes. Men's gymnastics freshman Paul Juda: He was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Feb. 11 for the first time in his collegiate career after winning three event titles in Michigan's tri- umphs over Northern Illinois and Illinois-Chicago Feb. 8 in Ann Arbor. Juda took home the top spot on the floor exercise (14.200), vault (14.450) and high bar (14.300), while also placing second on the parallel bars (14.650) and third on the still rings (13.40). Ice hockey senior forward Jake Slaker: He claimed two prestigious awards Feb. 11, with the NCAA tabbing him as its Second Star of the Week and the Big Ten as its First Star of the Week. Slaker enjoyed a successful stretch during Michigan's two-game sweep of Wisconsin Feb. 7-8, compiling two goals and three assists against the Badgers while finishing plus-five with 11 shots on goal. The senior also tied as the nation's leading scorer on the week, averaging 2.5 points per game. Women's gymnastics sophomore Natalie Wojcik: She won the all-around in Michigan's victory over Ohio State Feb. 9 by posting a score of 39.625, which matched her season best (as of Feb. 12). Wojcik also tied for the win on the uneven bars with a season- high score of 9.925, and took home the victory on balance beam by tying her career high of 9.950. The sophomore won Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors for the second time this year as a result, and for the seventh time in her career. Men's lacrosse freshman mid- fielder Josh Zawada: He was de- clared the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Feb. 11 after tallying a team- best five points in U-M's 16-9 tri- umph over Cleveland State Feb. 8, in what was his first collegiate outing. Zawada accumulated two goals, three assists and four ground ball pickups in the season-opening win over the Vikings, becoming the first Wolverine to take home the weekly honor since then-freshman attackman Bryce Clay did so last March. — Austin Fox

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