The MSU gymnastics team has high hopes as they travel to University Park, Pa., to take on No. 24 Penn State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
After scoring their two highest marks of the season in the last two meets, the Spartans look to get even better against the Nittany Lions.
“We probably really expect to get a 195 this time,” sophomore Alina Cartwright said. “We’re building off of both Iowa and Ohio State and get better, and (are) less nervous about our routines. Knowing just going in there confident, and knowing that we can beat Penn State.”
Cartwright got a career best 39.075 to tie for first in the all-around competition against Ohio State.
Penn State is coming off a season high score of their own, posting a 196.7 in a loss to Michigan.
“What’s really exciting as a coaching staff is that we come back after every weekend and realize what an improvement we can make week to week,” head coach Kathie Klages said. “I feel like the team is feeling more confident in themselves, and realizing that we’re not perfect, and nobody is.”
Penn State posted season-high scores in bars, floor and vault against Michigan, with all disciplines being about 49.
Klages said the Spartans are focusing on bars, and are going about practicing differently to help them improve.
“We’re going to change a few things in the gym and try to create some improvements on bars,” she said. “We saw improvement on the other three events and didn’t see it on bars. Hopefully we’ll be able to go there and do what we’re capable of doing and score big for them.”
Against Ohio State, freshman Brittany Holmes received a career-best mark of 9.8 on beam, and senior Taira Neal posted a 9.875 on vault to lead the team in that discipline.
Freshman Kate Filosi said the added pressure in practice will help the team bounce back and continue improving.
“We’re going to make it like a meet every single day,” Filosi said. “We do our normal workout and then we’ll do a routine that everybody watches, and that’s the only routine that counts. We can’t make any of the excuses that we do a routine and ‘Oh I can do better next time.’ In a meet, you don’t get a next time.”
A native of Killingworth, Conn., Filosi said she will have more family at this meet because of its proximity to her home state.
“My family is going to be here because I’m from the East Coast, so I’m really excited for that,” she said. “It’s going to pump me up and make me even more excited.”
After Penn State, MSU returns home to take on rival Michigan in the Big Ten finale.
Klages said regardless of what happens during the meet, the team is taught to be resilient and perform well.
“What we’ve been saying is we want to see what they do in practice on the competition floor,” she said. “We watch video and see the areas we can make those improvements, and we can’t wait for competition again, and that’s how it’s been every week this season.”