MSU welcomed Penn State to Jenison Field House on Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions dominated as a team with a score of 194.825-192.750. MSU is now 0-3 on the season and Penn State is 7-1.
Led by senior Kassidy Stauder, the Nittany Lions won all events except the floor and all-around. Five of the top seven performers on the bars were from PSU. Although Penn State got the victory, head coach Jeff Thompson was displeased. For the third time this season there were two falls from the beam. Thompson was also surprised by the Spartans’ performance.
“I thought it would be a closer meet than it was,” coach Thompson said. “We had a really big lead after the first two events, which was really unexpected.”
Alina Cartwright and Elena Lagoski were the only Spartans to win events. Cartwright scored a career-high on vault with a 9.95 and Lagoski matched her career-best on the floor with a score of 9.90. Last week’s top performer, Lisa Burt, did not have as strong of a performance, but she did score a 9.775 on the bars. Cartwright also set career highs on the floor and all-around.
“I was very nervous because I didn’t get a lot of practice time in the gym because I was recovering from my neck,” Cartwright said. “But I just trusted my preparation and my body, so I was able to just go for it.”
The high point for the Spartans this season has been their floor routines. MSU scored a 49.000 in Saturday’s meet. Penn State closely trailed with a score of 48.825.
This was the Spartans’ fourth annual “Flip for Autism” meet. Before the meet there were exhibitions by local gymnasts with special needs. Also, 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Dominique Moceanu signed autographs for fans. Proceeds went to support the Gymnastics Doctor Autism Awareness Foundation. For more information visit GDAFoundation.org.
Next Friday, the Spartans will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. in search of their first victory. The Wolverines are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation. Michigan State head coach Kathie Klages is focused on improving her team score rather than a win or loss.
“We qualify for regionals with a team score, not by wins or loses,” coach Klages said. “We have to concentrate on our team, what we are doing and what we can do to improve.”
Jalen Walker is the host of The A-Score for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports