Despite a late comeback, the MSU gymnastics team lost to Western Michigan, 193.5-192.725, Saturday night in the Spartan’s season opener at Jenison Field House.
After the second rotation, the Spartans trailed 97.8-95.8, but a 48.4 on balance beam pulled them to within 1.5 points of the Broncos.
But a 9.825 and a 9.8 by the final two competitors for Western Michigan on beam sealed the victory for the visitors.
“The lack of confidence in our team is evident,” head coach Kathie Klages said. “Because I see them do such phenomenal things in practice, we just have to get our young women to believe in themselves and be able to perform the way they know they’re capable of. We’re a lot better team than a 192.”
It was a tough night for two members of the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list — MSU, freshmen Lisa Burt and Nicola Deans.
Burt struggled in the beginning, but finished strong on beam and floor to finish third in the all-around. Deans fell on both bars and beam to finish fourth — one off the podium in the all-around.
“Lisa started out a bit rough, but she came back on beam and floor and did awesome,” Klages said. “Nicola struggled basically throughout the whole meet. We didn’t see the Nicola that we know.”
Burt won the floor exercise with a score of 9.775, and finished third in the balance beam after getting a 9.75.
She said the energetic atmosphere helped her perform and settle into a more calm mentality the second half of the meet, but she still has many things to work on.
“If you take in the crowd, and the adrenaline that was pumping, you really go as hard as you can,” Burt said. “I want to get the cardio up on bars and work on dismounts.”
Each squad won two of the four individual events, a trend Burt said could be pinned on the Spartans young team.
“You could tell the difference between Western and our atmosphere,” she said. “It would make it so much better if all of us just got into it more.”
Another loss for the Spartans happened when sophomore Ashley Stevenson fell on the uneven bars and had to be carried off the competition floor with a sprained knee. Klages said she would probably be out a few weeks.
There still were bright spots on the night as sophomore Alina Cartwright finished second in the all-around, highlighted by a 9.9 on vault and a 9.7 on beam.
Klages said she still is confident in what the team can achieve, and was proud of the experience the team gained.
“The girls have the numbers under their belt, and they’ve been very successful in the practice gym, so it’s a matter of bringing that down (to the floor),” Klages said. “Always, there’s nerves when you get into your first meet. Now we have this first meet under our belt, and what we learned from it, we can’t hold back.”