Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Preview: No. 14 MSU gymnastics looks to beat No. 20 Iowa in home opener

January 25, 2024
<p>Freshman All-Around Nikki Smith celebrating after finishing her dismount at the MSU vs. Penn State meet at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 4, 2023. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 197.450 - 195.475.</p>

Freshman All-Around Nikki Smith celebrating after finishing her dismount at the MSU vs. Penn State meet at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 4, 2023. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 197.450 - 195.475.

Michigan State women's gymnastics, currently ranked No. 14, started its season on Jan. 5 and the team has amassed a 4-3 record, with one win and zero losses being in the Big Ten Conference. Now, the Spartans are heading back home for their home season opener on Jan. 28 against No. 20 Iowa. During the meet, Michigan State will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Spartan gymnastics and Alumni day. 

When thinking about the upcoming meet, Michigan State head coach Mike Rowe said the Spartans are very excited to come back home to play.

"You know it was exciting going out to Vegas, Utah and opening Big Ten at Penn State and everything," Rowe said. "Three weeks in a row, you know, everybody the coaches, the support staff, the team is so anxious to be back here and put it out on our floor in front of our fans.”

When trying to find the identity of the new team, Rowe said with all the new additions to the roster, the team is changing some things to see what works best.

“It’s interesting because we have a bigger roster this year ... which actually provides us more depth,” Rowe said. "It makes it even more difficult to establish and choose lineups, so we are using this time to kind of feel it out. This weekend we are putting on two exhibitions for each event just to see. So 'Team 50’ took the baton and ran with it and we’re seeing lots of great things and were only in week four.”

Starting as a new team with a lot of additions comes with multiple meetings and discussions about how to improve throughout the season, including team chemistry. That, Rowe said, is what Michigan State has been doing: the recipe to a formula for success.

"At this point, at this level when all the players are kind of in sync with what we’re doing, the ones that aren’t quite making the lineups or they're right on the cusps of making lineup, are working harder and wanting to know when’s it (their) turn," Rowe said. "That's great, and then we have to sit down, we usually bounce ideas off of each other to say how can we do this and make this work for everybody.”

The Spartans clinched their first Big Ten regular season Championships in program history last year and excelled at the Big Ten Championships. Coming off their great performance last season, Rowe said the team has to have expectations for the next championships, but they are focusing on the present.

“We definitely do but we are not focused on that,” Rowe said. “We are focusing on just one weekend at a time.”

In the team’s last meeting against Iowa, the Spartans got outscored 196.150-195.725. But this time, the Spartans are looking to defeat Iowa this time around and get to a 5-3 record.

MSU gymnastics will take on Iowa this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jenison Field House and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.

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