Gymnastics to take on Nebraska in Big Ten opener

Whether the MSU gymnastics team is in East Lansing or Lincoln, Neb., as they will be this Saturday, the bars will be set at the same height, and the beam will still be four inches wide.

The Spartans (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten ) take on No. 7 Nebraska at 6 p.m. in their first Big Ten meet of the season.

The team is coming off a disappointing 193.5-192.725 loss to Western Michigan on Saturday, and head coach Kathie Klages said they just want to get back out on the floor and perform.

“We reviewed the performance and analyzed what happened, and talked a little bit about where we can make improvements, and what we really need to do in terms of performing to our level or talent on the team,” Klages said. “The team is ready to get back out on that competition floor, and try again and show that they’re a lot better than that 192 team.”

This will be the first time the Spartans will travel to Nebraska for a dual meet against the Huskers, who are coming off a 196.9-196.3 loss to No. 2 Michigan last Saturday.

More important than wins and losses, Klages said MSU is focusing more on improving their individual score than beating Nebraska.

“The main focus is getting our score up to where we are,” she said. “The problem with that as a coach and as a team is that we’re competitive and want to win, but we’re going to focus on Michigan State University, and try to improve upon that score.”

Klages said the team could finish with a losing record on the season and still make it to NCAA Regionals, as they did a season ago.

It will be the first time the freshmen will go on a long road trip, and many of them, including freshmen Nicola Deans are excited to gain that experience.

“It’s going to be a new and exciting experience, but I’m ready to go out there and do my best and soak it all in,” Deans said.

Deans said she’s not concerned with the performance of her opponents because she has been able to block them out in the past.

“In gymnastics, it’s one of the easier sports to do that in because you’re not physically going against them,” she said. “You have to focus on your own team and get in there and remember that it’s only about the scores.”

Still, others have traveled to many places, in both club gymnastics and high school, and aren’t worried about performing in an unfamiliar place.

Freshmen Brittany Holmes said she’s really excited to head to Nebraska, but she’s not worried about adapting to different equipment.

“I’ve traveled a lot in club before this, but college is more a team aspect, so I’m excited about what it’s going to be like because I really don’t know,” Holmes said. “It won’t really affect me because since I was seven-years-old I’ve been traveling to different places and transferring from my home gym.”

For Holmes, the key to having a good competition in Nebraska is improving on the little things and not worrying about the other team.

“(We) really focus on what we do in the gym, and carrying that over to competition,” she said. “We’ve been focusing on the little details. Last week was really a wake-up call.”

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