Thursday, February 22, 2024

Michigan State women's gymnastics defeats No. 25 Illinois, remains undefeated in conference

February 10, 2024
<p>Michigan State University's all around senior gymnast Baleigh Garcia on the beam against University of Illinois at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 9, 2024.</p>

Michigan State University's all around senior gymnast Baleigh Garcia on the beam against University of Illinois at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 9, 2024.

Photo by Maya Kolton | The State News

Michigan State's women's gymnastics, ranked No. 10, defeated No. 25 University of Illinois in a Friday night meet at Jenison Field House, moving the team record to 7-3 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten Conference.

The first rotation for the Spartans against Illinois was on the vault. The six-person lineup tallied up a high score of 49.350 and sophomore Sage Kellerman finished her vault with a high score of 9.925. Kellerman is known for her fantastic vaults and she continued with her high performances today. She ultimately won first place in the vault event.

The Fighting Illini were on the uneven parallel bars for their first event. Illinois finished with a score of 49.225, just trailing the Spartans by .125. The Spartans moved to their second rotation on the uneven parallel bars. Sophomore Nikki Smith had a minor mishap while transitioning, but remained on the bars. Smith continued with her routine and completed her landing to pull out a score of 9.625. The Spartans recorded a total score of 49.200 and a running score of 98.550.

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Michigan State University junior gymnast Gabrielle Stephen dismounting on bars as her coach Mike Rowe looks at her at the Jenison Field House on Feb. 9, 2024.

Senior Delanie Harkness ultimately won first place on uneven bars with a top score of 9.925.

Illinois moved onto vault with a nice performance but fell short to the Spartans with a running score of 97.900. The Spartans were .650 points ahead.

Michigan State kicked off its third rotation on the balance beam. Junior Gabrielle Stephen had a stellar beam performance and stuck her landing, which made the crowd go crazy. She had a high score of 9.925. The Spartans recorded a running score of 147.950.

The Fighting Illini's third rotation began on the floor. Illinois had solid performances but major deductions led them to continue to fall behind with a running score of 147.025, now trailing by .925. 

The final rotation for the Spartans started on the floor. Smith had a standout performance with an almost perfect score of 9.950, which made the crowd go into a frenzy. She also won first place in the event. The remaining Spartans had great performances on the floor, all scoring above 9.800. 

Illinois finished up its final rotation on the balance beam. There was a fantastic performance from graduate student Mia Takekawa who scored 9.950 and won first place in the event. Minor mistakes and a major fall off the beam stopped Illinois from being able to overpower the Spartans with a total score of 49.150.

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Michigan State University senior gymnast Tara Walsh on vault against University of Illinois at Jenison Field House on Feb. 9, 2024.

At the end of night, Michigan State had a final score of 197.475 and defeated Illinois, who finished with 196.275

After the completion of all four events, junior Skyla Schulte received all-around champion with a score of 39.475. 

Looking ahead, Michigan State women’s gymnastics will take on Maryland at Jenison Field House on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. The meet will be available to watch on Big Ten Plus. 

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