Tumbles and Takedowns brings gymnastics and wrestling together
The third annual Tumbles and Takedowns combined the gymnastics and wrestling teams, with the wrestling team taking on No. 15 Nebraska and gymnastics welcoming No. 30 Penn State.
The day started with a big choreographed entrance: the wrestling starting lineup entered in order, each accompanied by one or two Spartan gymnasts. When they got through the inflatable green tunnel, each pair performed a dance move.
“It’s really cool to see two different, complete sports come together and show off for both crowds, it’s really exciting,” junior gymnast Jessica Ling said.
The two home teams both suffered losses, with the gymnasts falling by the slender margin of 195.600-195.550, and the wrestlers losing to Nebraska, 35-6. However, there were bright spots for both teams.
Gymnastics posted their highest all-around team score of the season.
“It means a lot,” senior gymnast Hailee Westney said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work in the gym and I just feel like it reflected today. We just continue to make small improvements throughout every meet each week, so it was just really good to see that reflected to our score, and we’re really happy with where we’re at right now.”
The wrestling dual featured a strong performance by 125-pound freshman Rayvon Foley. He defeated Nebraska senior Mitchell Maginnis by a score of 6-3.
“Rayvon is applying probably better than anybody on our team,” wrestling head coach Roger Chandler said. “One of the things that he has, a unique quality, is he has no mental blocks of a predetermined outcome. He can wrestle within himself and continue to try to score points all the time.”
Foley said he enjoyed the combination of a wrestling and gymnastics event.
“I think it was exciting. I really had a lot of fun," Foley said. "I think it was one of the most exciting events that I’ve been to early in my life.”
Perhaps the biggest fan of the event was gymnastics coach Mike Rowe, who was all smiles after going toe-to-toe with a traditional Big Ten gymnastics powerhouse.
“(Wrestling) brings in more crowd, there’s more cheering, more enthusiasm, more excitement, and that’s what gets us going. So, we love it," Rowe said. "We’d like to do it more often if we could, but I know that might not go well with (the wrestling team).”
Junior gymnast Roya Shirley echoed her coach in her bubbly attitude post-meet.
“I think it’s really cool for both fans to be able to see both, so if they haven’t seen gymnastics, they can see gymnastics, or the gymnastics fans who haven’t seen wrestling can come and do that, but I think overall it’s a pretty fun experience," Shirley said. "We do it every year and it just gets more and more fun."