Friday, June 21, 2024

MSU gymnastics breaks another record to close out regular season

March 12, 2023
<p>Junior All-Around Baleigh Garcia flips during her vault routine at the MSU v.s. Penn State meet at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 4, 2023. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 197.450 - 195.475.</p>

Junior All-Around Baleigh Garcia flips during her vault routine at the MSU v.s. Penn State meet at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 4, 2023. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 197.450 - 195.475.

Michigan State had yet another record-breaking meet to close out its regular season campaign with a 197.800-195.225 win over Northern Illinois.

The historic regular season ended on a high note with the Spartans hitting the second-highest final score in program history to send their seniors off with a bang.

Michigan State kicked off the meet the same way they would during any other home meet—competing on the vault.

The Spartan’s rotation on vault was a little lower scoring than normal due to some leg separation and wobbly landings down the roster, but a lower-than-normal score for the Spartans does not mean much when they are averaging the fourth-highest vault scores in the country.

The lower-than-average vault scores still gave MSU the .225 edge over NIU after the Huskies’ solid uneven bars rotation.

The second rotation was a whole different story for the Spartans. Michigan State gymnasts were putting on one incredible performance after another to give the green a white a program high 49.725 score on the uneven bars.

The huge 49.725 gave Michigan State the second-highest score in the country on the uneven bars—second only to No. 3 Florida with a 49.800.

The Spartans had five of their six gymnasts hit above 9.900—sophomore Skyla Schulte with a 9.925, freshman Nikki Smith with a 9.925, junior Delanie Harkness with a 9.950, freshman Sage Kellerman with a 9.950 and sophomore Gabrielle Stephen with a 9.975 and the bars title. The lowest score in the second rotation was still a solid 9.850 from senior Jori Jackard.

The phenomenal second rotation gave Michigan State a 1.450 advantage over Northern Illinois.

Rotation three held a solid showing on the beam with yet another standout performance from Stephen accentuated by a stuck landing to award her a 9.900.

Same as usual, the final Michigan State rotation on floor was truly a sight to behold.

All six Spartans scored above a 9.825—four of them scoring in the 9.900s to tie the all-time program 49.675 record on floor.

Stephen and Schulte had—yet again—show-stopping performances. Both gymnasts received a massive 9.975 to share the floor title to close out the meet.

Stephen swept all four event titles and clinched the all-around title with a stellar 39.725.

Following the conclusion of the meet, Michigan State took the time to bid farewell to the three graduating seniors—Jackard, Tori Loomis and Nyah Smith.

Each of the graduating gymnasts was presented with a framed leotard and honored with a special video tribute. Smith was the final senior to have her video shown, and in her final message, she announced that she would be returning for a fifth year on the team—surprising fans and teammates.

Head gymnastics coach Mike Rowe said that in addition to Smith, there may still be some decisions to stick around for another year in the near future.

“They've evolved; this team has evolved over the past three, four years,” Rowe said. “They've evolved, and they've been part of that evolution too—in a good way. You know, I'm still crossing my fingers really hard that we're not losing them.”

With the conclusion of the regular season, the Spartans are looking ahead to the Big Ten Championships on Saturday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Coralville, Iowa. The championship will also be streaming on the Big Ten Network.

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Discussion

Share and discuss “MSU gymnastics breaks another record to close out regular season ” on social media.