Wednesday, April 24, 2024

MSU women's gymnastics wins Big Ten Championships for first time in program history

March 24, 2024
<p>Michigan State University gymnastics team reacting to winning the Big Ten Championships at Jenison Field House on March 23, 2024.</p>

Michigan State University gymnastics team reacting to winning the Big Ten Championships at Jenison Field House on March 23, 2024.

Photo by Maya Kolton | The State News

Michigan State women’s gymnastics, ranked No. 8 in the nation, won the Big Ten Championships title after defeating the University of Michigan, Ohio State and the University of Minnesota at Jenison Field House on Saturday, March 23. 

This is the first conference championship in Michigan State history and the first time the Spartans were crowned both the regular season and Big Ten Championships titles in one season.

Also, the win boosts the team’s record to 27-3 overall, pushing its win streak to 24 matches.

The Spartans' first rotation was on the floor. The six-person lineup tallied a score of 49.575 to put themselves in the lead for the rotation. Junior Skyla Schulte had a standout performance with a high score of 9.950. She was full of energy, which brought the crowd to their feet. The remaining Spartans had performances on the floor, all scoring above 9.800.

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Assistant coach Devin Wright hugs junior Skyla Schulte after her floor routine at the Big Ten Championships at Jenison Field House on March 23, 2024.

Four gymnasts tied for first place in the floor event, all with a score of 9.950: Schulte, Michigan graduate student gymnasts Sierra Brooks and Gabby Wilson and Minnesota senior Mya Hooten.

The Spartans moved to their second rotation, the vault. Sophomore Sage Kellerman finished her vault with a score of 9.900. The Spartans recorded a total score of 49.375 and a running score of 98.950. Hooten and Brooks won first place in the vault with high scores of 9.975. 

After two rotations, the Spartans continued to lead the meet with a running score of 98.950. Minnesota trailed by 0.15 with a running score of 98.800, Michigan with 98.650 and Ohio State with 98.625.

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Sophomore Nikki Smith on bars at the Big Ten Championships at Jenison Field House on March 23, 2024.

Michigan State kicked off its third rotation on the uneven parallel bars and three Spartans scored 9.900: Schulte and sophomores Nikki Smith and Olivia Zsarmani. With this, the Spartans recorded a running score of 148.325. 

Going into the final rotation, Michigan State was barely hanging on to a lead. Minnesota was behind the Spartans with a running score of 148.275 and Michigan and Ohio State were tied with running scores of 147.800.

The final rotation for the Spartans started on the balance beam. Senior Giana Kalefe opened for the Michigan State lineup and had mistakes that caused major deductions. She finished with a score of 9.250. Senior Baleigh Garcia had a stellar beam performance and finished with a score of 9.925. She won first place with two other gymnasts, Minnesota sophomore Sarah Moraw and Ohio State redshirt sophomore Tory Vetter.

After the final rotation, Michigan State won with a final score of 197.600. Minnesota finished in second with an overall score of 197.500, Michigan came in third with a score of 197.225 and Ohio State finished in last with 197.050 points.

Looking ahead, MSU women’s gymnastics will be headed to the NCAA Regionals on April 5-7. More information regarding regional selections will be announced on Monday, March 25 at 12 p.m.

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