March 27, 2008
The University of Michigan will be the site of this year's Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships on March 29. This marks the 27th year of the championships and is the fifth time the event will take place in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Five Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the top 25 nationally heading into the weekend. Michigan leads the way standing at No. 4 in the country. The Wolverines were crowned champions in 2007 and are looking for their 16th team conference championship in this year's competition. Michigan State is currently No. 17 and hopes to improve on their seventh-place finish from last year. Iowa (No. 22), Penn State (No. 23) and Minnesota (No. 25) round out the final Big Ten teams that are ranked. Illinois and Ohio State are not far behind as they stand No. 26 and No. 31 on the GymInfo list, respectively.
Last year's point difference of just 0.100 between first-place Michigan and second-place Penn State was the narrowest margin of victory in the history of the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships. The 2008 event looks to be just as exciting as every individual champion returns to this year's competition except former Illinois standout Cara Pomeroy. Michigan's Katie Lieberman (2007 floor exercise champion) and Becky Bernard (2007 balance beam champion) and Penn State's Brandi Personett (2007 all-around and vault champion) are back to defend their titles.
Michigan has won 14 of the last 16 Big Ten Championships, with Minnesota being the spoiler in both years the Wolverines did not win in the span (1998 and 2006). The Golden Gophers have taken home five team titles overall, as has Ohio State. Illinois won the event in 1990 while Iowa, Michigan State and Penn State still seek their first team win.