After a successful season of new records and career highs, MSU Gymnastics heads to Seattle, Wash. to compete in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2016.
Over the past few years, this program has been reshaped and brought out of its slump from a difficult time period in its history.
"It means the world knowing that I wasn't just a part of the highs of this program, and that I also got to experience the lows," senior Lea Mitchell said. "I think being able to experience every aspect of a team is something that I will never forget and will always cherish. It's easy when you're doing well to enjoy the good, but those dark moments are what builds my character, the teams character, and appreciate all the opportunities that I have here."
MSU will be competing against nine other teams at their regional. The first round will be a play-in on Mar. 30 between Stanford and San Jose State. Alabama, Michigan State, BYU and Washington will be in Seattle on Mar. 31 in the afternoon while Utah, Oregon State and Illinois will be in the evening. The top two teams from each will move on to the finals on April 1st and then the top two from that will secure their spot in Nationals.
"We're really excited with how they've been doing. Big Five we won, Big Ten we came in second, we made the premiere session to begin with which was a huge goal of ours," Michigan State Head coach Mike Rowe said. "I think they really want to step up to the challenge, do better and see where it takes them."
The team has spent the last weekend preparing for the week ahead of them and are ecstatic to have this opportunity in their grasp.
"It hasn't hit me just yet because I've been focusing on one day at a time, but I'm very excited for this team and to see what we can do at regionals this year," Freshman Skyla Schulte said. "This is going to create a lot of good media for us and really show people that Michigan State is a force to be reckoned with."
To add to the excitement, Rowe was honored as Big Ten Coach of the year, alongside Skyla Schulte as Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
"It's a great compliment to what my staff has done for this program and what we've been trying to do for a couple of years,” Rowe said. “We've had some great success this season and we want to see how far we can go. It's great to receive that compliment from my peers in the Big Ten."
Although Thursday's meet will determine whether the season comes to an end, MSU's program will only go up from here. The coaching staff and gymnasts are determined to continue to build on this foundation that so many admire.
"I hope to end my career on a high, knowing I gave all that I have to this program," Mitchell said. "As a team I want us to go out there, have fun and really cherish every single moment. I want us to remember that we deserve to be here, and to go out there, show the world what we'e capable of and qualify for nationals."
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