Friday, June 5, 2020

PREVIEW: Michigan State gymnastics hopes to end losing streak at Rutgers

February 7, 2020
<p>The MSU Women’s Gymnastics team huddles together after finishing the uneven bars during a meet against Nebraska. The Spartans fell to the Cornhuskers, 196.550 - 197.100, at Jenison Fieldhouse on Jan. 26, 2020. </p>

The MSU Women’s Gymnastics team huddles together after finishing the uneven bars during a meet against Nebraska. The Spartans fell to the Cornhuskers, 196.550 - 197.100, at Jenison Fieldhouse on Jan. 26, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The Michigan State Spartans (1-4-0) and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-4-0) gymnastics teams are slated for an in-conference dual Saturday, Feb. 8, both desperate to dig themselves out of equal losing streaks.

Previously on Spartan Gymnastics...

During last season’s Alumni Day at Jenison Field House, the Spartan ladies captured all four event wins and posted their season-high of 195.425 for the title win over the Scarlet Knights.

The Spartan ladies also victoriously posted a season-high of 48.925 on the balance beam and tied their season-high of 49.200 on the floor performances.

After coming up on a narrow loss at their first Big Ten road meet against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes (2-3-0) on Feb. 1, the team is going to have to kick it into overdrive if they want to edge out their upcoming opponents for a second year in a row.

“We want to put on a good performance for the fans and all those watching at home,” coach Mike Rowe said. “It’s our one Big Ten Network live meet this year, so obviously we want to … come home with a W.”

Currently, Rutgers is ranked as ninth in the Big Ten conference, while Michigan State is just above in eighth.

Gymnasts to Watch For

Senior Gabriella Douglas and junior Lea Mitchell have been called to serve as co-captains for the 2020 season, making it their second consecutive season in these leadership roles.

This duo was named the All-Big Ten Second Team and personally collected the Big Ten All-Championships Team privileges back in 2019.

At Iowa, Mitchell won her third all-around title in the 2020 season with an overall score of 39.175, also sharing honors for three 9.800s and higher in the meet on the uneven parallel bars, the vault and the floor performance.

Her partner, Douglas, also posted three 9.800s and higher in the meet, tying her season-high on vault with her second consecutive score of 9.825.

As a shining rookie, freshman Nyah Smith has surely fixated herself in the green and white lineup. In Iowa City, Smith tallied a 38.375 for the second-place slot in the all-around, also tying her career-best of 9.825 on vault and matching sophomore Ashley Hofelich’s fourth-place score of 9.800 in the floor performance.

On the opposing end, the Scarlet Knights spotlight is pointing to freshman Hannah Joyner, who personally sits ranked at 16th in the nation with a National Qualifying Score of 9.885 on the balance beam after having eclipsed 9.9 four times this season.

Joyner led her team against Penn State at their last meet on Jan. 31, finishing second-place in the all-around with a new, high total of 39.325, also hitting 9.825 or higher on three events.

The lady Scarlet Knights and the lady Spartans have both put up fights throughout the first half of their seasons. A win on Saturday could optimistically start to even out either teams’ current standings of wins to losses before it gets to be too late.

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