Wednesday, June 3, 2020

PREVIEW: Michigan State gymnastics home from the road to take on No. 23 Illinois

February 15, 2020
<p>The Spartans cheer for Chloe Bellmore during the meet against Minnesota Jan. 18, 2020 at Jenison Fieldhouse. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes, 195.450-195.325.</p>

The Spartans cheer for Chloe Bellmore during the meet against Minnesota Jan. 18, 2020 at Jenison Fieldhouse. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes, 195.450-195.325.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

The Michigan State gymnastics team (2-3-0) returns home after two long weeks on the road, ready to put up a fight against No. 23 Illinois (5-3-0) for another in-conference duel Saturday.

Previously on Spartan Gymnastics:

During last season's match-up in Champaign, Illinois, the Spartan ladies swept the board with career-highs on all four events, breaking floor history by marking a 49.200 for the first time since the Big Ten Quad meet in March 2014, but it was still not enough to knock out the Fighting Illini, who took the meet win with a score of 195.100.

After snapping a two-meet losing streak with a win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-5-0) on Feb. 8, the team is hot to scratch another win in the record books.

Currently, entering the seventh week of their season, the University of Illinois has been moved up from No. 25 to No. 23 in the Road to Nationals (RtN) standings. This is their first rise in the RtN rankings in the 2020 season.

Their individual event breakdown consists of 24th on bars, 25th on floor, 31st on beam and 36th on vault in the country.

The orange and blue are tied for seventh in the Big Ten conference.

On the other end, Michigan State is nestled below at No. 32 in the RtN standings. Their individual event breakdown consists of 44th on bars, 17th on floor, 15th on beam and 31st on vault in the country.

The green and white are ranked in the number six spot in the Big Ten conference, improving 2-2 after edging out the Scarlet Knights.

Gymnasts to watch for:

Standing out in the Spartan lineup again is junior Lea Mitchell. At Rutgers, Mitchell earned her fourth all-around title of the season and second consecutive top gymnast honors with a score of 39.300.

Mitchell also earned her fourth floor title of the season, again earning top gymnast honors with her third score of 9.900-plus this season.

Freshman Nyah Smith tallied her second 39-plus in the all-around competition, finishing third on the podium with a score of 39.100, while her teammate, freshman Jori Jackard, received her fourth consecutive 9.800-plus this season with a score of 9.850 on bars.

In the opposing light, Illinois freshman Mia Takekawa is tied for 18th in the country in the all-around competition, personally averaging a score of 39.325.

Takewana logged a perfect score of 10.000 on beam on Jan. 9 in a tri-meet against Lindenwood and Temple. She is one of five in the country, one of two freshman, and the first in Illinois history to do so.

Takewana also holds eight individual titles, the most by an Illini freshman since 2008.

Sophomore Shaylah Scott is tied for 24th on beam in the country, personally averaging a score of 9.871.

The Fighting Illini and Spartans are both fresh off of multi-meet slumps and ready to battle. Both teams are going to have to bring their A-game if they want to take home another W.

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