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Michigan State women's gymnastics defeats No. 25 Maryland, remains undefeated in Big Ten

February 18, 2024
<p>All-around sophomore Nikki Smith sticks her landing during the uneven bars event during a matchup against University of Maryland at Jenison Field House on Feb. 18, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Maryland Terrapins with a score of 197.550-195.525.</p>

All-around sophomore Nikki Smith sticks her landing during the uneven bars event during a matchup against University of Maryland at Jenison Field House on Feb. 18, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Maryland Terrapins with a score of 197.550-195.525.

Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Michigan State’s women’s gymnastics, ranked No. 10, defeated No. 25 Maryland 197.550-195.525 in a Sunday afternoon match at Jenison Field House and moved the team record to 8-3 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten Conference.

The Spartans' first rotation against Maryland was on the vault. The six-person lineup tallied up a high score of 49.300 with the help of freshman MaKayla Tucker, who finished her vault with a high score of 9.900. She stuck her landing and had great height, which caused the home crowd to break out into a frenzy. She ultimately won first place in the vault event. 

The Terrapins were on the uneven parallel bars for their first event. Maryland finished with a score of 49.075 and trailed the Spartans by just .225. The Spartans moved to their second rotation on the uneven parallel bars. Michigan State junior Gabrielle Stephen had a great uneven bar performance and stuck her landing, making the crowd holler with excitement.

The entire Michigan State lineup scored 9.800 or above and finished with season-high bar scores. The Spartans recorded a total score of 49.575 and a running score of 98.875.

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All-Around freshman Gabi Ortiz celebrates after dismounting from her balance beam routine during a matchup against University of Maryland at Jenison Field House on Feb. 18, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Maryland Terrapins with a score of 197.550-195.525.

Two Spartan gymnasts tied for first place on the uneven bars: Stephen and sophomore Sage Kellerman, who both recorded top scores of 9.950.

Maryland moved onto the vault with nice performances but fell behind even further from the Spartans with a running score of 98.050; the Spartans were ahead by .825 points.

Michigan State kicked off its third rotation on the balance beam. Stephen opened her routine with major wobbles, but remained on the beam and continued to finish her performance. Ending with a strong landing, she finished with a score of 9.600. Junior Skyla Schulte had a stellar beam performance and won first place with a high score of 9.950. The Spartans recorded a running score of 148.225.

The Terrapins' third rotation began on the floor. Maryland had great performances, but finished with deductions from technical mistakes. They continued to trail by 1.100 points, with a running score of 147.125.

The final rotation for the Spartans started on the floor. Sophomore Nikki Smith had a standout performance with a score of 9.900 and finished first place in the event. She was able to hype up the crowd with her confidence and precision. The remaining Spartans had great performances on the floor and all scored above 9.800, extending their lead.

At the conclusion of the meet, Michigan State had a final score of 197.550 and defeated Maryland, who finished with a score of 195.525.

After the completion of all four events, Schulte received the all-around champion with a score of 39.600. This is her fourth all-around title and third score of 39.600 of the season.

Michigan State women's gymnastics will be traveling on the road to compete in the Big Five Meet on Friday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. The meet will be available to watch on Big Ten Network.

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All-Around junior Gabrielle Stephen warms up for the uneven bars during a matchup against University of Maryland at Jenison Field House on Feb. 18, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Maryland Terrapins with a score of 197.550-195.525.

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