As three MSU gymnasts head to compete at the NCAA Regionals on April 5 in Baton Rouge, La., they go in with the support of their team.
Junior Alina Cartwright, sophomore Lisa Burt and freshman Elena Lagoski qualified for the meet with dual meet scores throughout their season, as well as their high performances in the Big Ten Championships.
Cartwright and Burt are making the trip for the second year in a row and will compete in the all-around competition. Lagoski will compete on floor at the event.
“We knew Lisa and Alina were the top first and second all-arounders in the region before the Big Ten, and we got confirmation on Elena on Sunday and on the selection show,” head coach Kathie Klages said.
Putting up a score of 9.900 on floor on four different occasions this season, Lagoski said she was not caught off guard by her qualification to regionals, but said it was a last-minute decision.
“There were three girls ahead, but I saw I had better scores than them, so I thought I might be making it,” she said. “I can’t believe I made it this far as a freshman — it’s incredible.”
Since Lagoski is from Pennsylvania — where the Big Ten Championships were held — she said her entire family, as well as past teammates and coaches were present to watch her compete.
The conference meet did not go as smooth as the Spartans hoped. Senior Gillian Carr injured herself severely in the vault warmup time, forcing MSU to compete with only five vaulters and putting in someone who was not on the lineup.
“We went in thinking anything can happen in the world of gymnastics,” Klages said. “We were hindered score-wise and we were all concerned about Gill. It was hard to get our focus back and we weren’t as sharp.”
After the injury, Burt said the team pulled through together and tried to get the job done, but they finished in last place with a score of 194.500.
Burt scored a 39.175 in the all-around at the event.
“Looking back, it’s good to see that I can be put in a situation like that and be able to handle it,” Burt said.
Cartwright said at the Big Ten Championships, she was happy to have her team with her to cope with the injury and to not give up.
“The Big Ten is more nerve-wracking because you have to do it for the team, but at regionals, you’re more by yourself,” said Cartwright, who only competed at one event at last year’s regionals and will go back to compete at all four through the all-around. “I have a bigger chance to make it to nationals (this year).”
Practices became shorter throughout the last two weeks and not mandatory for the rest of the team, but they were present to support their teammates.
“They could have taken their two weeks, but they’re here to support us so we’re not alone,” Burt said. “It’s hard to practice without the team.”
Heading into the last few days of practice, Cartwright said she and her teammates are prepared for success at regionals on the campus of LSU.
“I’m confident for both of them — because we’re good and we wouldn’t be here if we weren’t — and we’re going in super positive,” she said.
Klages said Cartwright and Burt have a good shot of making it to the national championship meet from the NCAA Regionals.