Spartans lose close match to Ohio State over weekend
Sophomore Alina Cartwright poses on the balance beam during the meet against Ohio State Saturday at Jenison Field House. Cartwright finished fourth place with a score of 9.8. Danyelle Morrow/The State News
The MSU gymnastics team showed a resiliency not seen all season as they lost to Ohio State 195.575-194.250 Saturday afternoon.
After falls on both bars and beam, the team battled back to finish with a season-high score of 48.95 on beam.
“We had some errors in the middle of balance beam with the fall, and they were able to dig deep enough and keep that mental focus,” head coach Kathie Klages said.
“Mental toughness showed tonight, so I’m really proud of them.”
Senior captain Taira Neal took first place on vault with a season-high 9.875, while sophomore Alina Cartwright took second and freshmen Nicola Deans finished third.
Cartwright tied for first with Ohio State’s Alyssa Marohn in the all-around competition with a career-high score of 39.075.
Klages said Cartwright’s strong performance will give her even more confidence for the remainder of the season.
“This will help her realize she can do this every week,” Klages said.
“Alina is one of those kids where this is going to skyrocket her to just really believing that she can do it. And she can get better.”
Cartwright said she was really nervous with many friends on hand, and she knows a higher score is achievable.
“I was happy to get a 39,” Cartwright said.
“I’m feeling good. There’s a bunch of areas that I can improve in, so that’s really exciting too.”
In addition to the “Flip for Autism” promotion, the meet was broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network, and a group from the MSU’s men’s soccer team was on hand cheering loudly for the Spartans.
Cartwright said the electric atmosphere gave the team even more confidence when they needed it most.
“They were really nice and cheerful and stuff,” she said. “(The cameras) added a lot of hype and energy and fun. I felt more nervous, but my body knew what to do more than my mind, so I just let it go.”
Freshman Lisa Burt scored 9.85 on both beam and floor to come in second in both disciplines.
Deans also came in fourth on floor exercise with a score of 9.825, and said she saw something out of her team that she hadn’t all year.
“I saw the fight we were missing,” Deans said.
“Every person was able to come back after the fall on beam. That was one of the best moments. Everyone showed resilience, and it was awesome.”
The next time the Spartans are in action is 7 p.m. Saturday against Penn State in
University Park, Pa., and the next time they compete at home is March 2 against No. 3 Michigan.
Klages said the confidence gained against Iowa last weekend proved critical in the performance of the team on Saturday.
“I told them before the meet that we’re not perfect,” Klages said. “If somebody does make a mistake, then let’s have their back. And that’s what I’m most proud of, that they did that.”