The Wolverine

December 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 67

54 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2022 WATER POLO First Event: U-M has not yet released its 2023 schedule yet, but the season will start in January. Season Outlook: Michigan is charg- ing forward into a new era for the wom- en's water polo program with Cassie Churnside taking the reins, being named the fourth head coach in team history on Aug. 1. Churnside, an Orange, Calif., native, came to Ann Arbor after eight seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard University, where she helped coach both the men's and women's teams. Her most recent ac- complishment was helping the Crimson women to their first-ever CWPA cham- pionship game appearance, which helped head coach Ted Minnis receive CWPA Coach of the Year honors. Churnside steps into a U-M program ready to compete and win at the high- est level. The Wolverines went 26-9 last season, won the CWPA conference championship and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. She replaces Dr. Marcelo Leonardi, who was not renewed after a 190-70 (.731) mark in eight seasons at the helm, including a 54-2 record in CWPA contests. Top Three Athletes Graduate student Erin Neustrom: Sport management major had 43 goals (46 total points), 10 steals and a .642 shot percentage last season, all career highs. Her play earned her second-team All- CWPA honors, and she was named to the CWPA All-Tournament first team. Graduate student Ava Morrant: Hit career highs in goals (40), assists (27), points (67) and steals (25), and was named Academic All-Big Ten. Morrant is major- ing in communication and media and has appeared in two NCAA Tournaments. Junior Elise Walker: College of Liter- ature, Science and the Arts enrollee ended her sophomore campaign with 42 goals (45 points), 19 steals and 9 field blocks after appearing in all 35 contests. WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS First event: Dec. 10, exhibition with Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan (in Ann Arbor) Season Outlook: By most measures of success, the 2022 campaign was a posi- tive one for head coach Bev Plocki and the Wolverines. The team won the Big Ten title and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. For a program that won a national title in 2021, there are higher goals. U-M returns a lot of star power and will look to win its second na- tional crown in three years. Top Three Athletes Graduate student Natalie Wojcik: One of the most decorated gymnasts in program history, Wojcik elected to opt back in and use the extra season of eli- gibility afforded by the COVID-19 pan- demic. She has been voted a team cap- tain for the 2022 season after winning the AAI Award last season for the best senior gymnast in the collegiate ranks. Graduate student Abby Heiskell: Another student-athlete that opted for a fifth year in Ann Arbor, Heiskell joins Wojcik as a team captain. She was a two- time All-America selection last season in the all-around and on the uneven bars. Heiskell also was named the NSCA All- American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year. Senior Sierra Brooks: 2022 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year will be a team captain in 2023 along with Wojcik and Brooks. She was a three-time WCGA Regular Season All-American on the first team in all-around, vault and floor exercise. MEN'S GYMNASTICS First event: Dec. 10, Maize & Blue In- trasquad (in Ann Arbor) Season Outlook: The U-M men fin- ished 24-3 last season under head coach Yuan Xiao, who had the interim tag re- moved prior to the end of the season. The Wolverines won regular season and post- season Big Ten championships and will look to repeat that production in 2023. Top Three Athletes Senior Paul Juda: Six-time All- American won a pair of NCAA titles, tak- ing home finals victories in the all-around (85.298) and on the vault (15.000). Junior Evgeny Siminiuc: NCAA All-American on parallel bars took third overall at NCAA Finals, scoring a 14.400. Competed in every meet in parallel bars, scoring 14-plus nine times. Junior Javier Alfonso: NCAA All- American last season on the still rings and placed third at NCAA Finals with score of 14.366. Alfonso earned a spot on the still rings in every meet and received Aca- demic All-Big Ten honors. — Anthony Broome OLYMPIC SPORTS UPDATE Winter Sports Previews Graduate student Abby Heiskell was a two-time All-America selection last season in the all- around and on the uneven bars. She also was named the NSCA All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETICS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - December 2022