The Lady Spartans are back at Jenison Field House this weekend after returning home from a quad meet in Texas.
Last week against Oklahoma, Minnesota and Texas, the Spartans placed fourth with a total score of 194.350, even with season-high scores on vault and floor. Sophomore Lisa Burt had a standout performance, winning the all-around competition for the third time this year, with a score of 39.225. Teammate Alina Cartwright tied for second place, finishing just behind Burt with a total of 39.200.
On Saturday, the Spartans will host an all Big Ten quad meet with No. 9 Nebraska, No. 14 Illinois and No. 23 Ohio State, which will be important in determining the Big Ten standings.
The 2014 Big Ten Championships will take place next week, on March 22 in State College, Pa.
Out of the eight participating Big Ten schools, No. 41 Michigan State is also currently tied for fifth place in the conference with Ohio State and Illinois, all with a 1-3 Big Ten record.
Last weekend, Nebraska suffered a tough loss at home to Arkansas, with 21-year-old head coach Dan Kendig. Senior Emily Wong ranks No. 4 in the nation with an all-around regional qualifying score of 39.565.
As for the Illini, they recently posted their highest score in program history taking down Lindenwood University with a score of 197.100. Illinois is led by head coach Kim Landrus, who is in her third season with the team. Individually, Amber See leads the Illini women, scoring the third ever 10.0 on vault in Illini gymnastics history.
With a score of 196.600, Ohio State beat Ball State last weekend with their highest score of the season. Buckeye head coach Carey Fagan is in her ninth season with the team. At the top of the Buckeyes is senior Melanie Shaffer, who won last week’s all-around with a 39.35 total.
With all the close competition, Michigan State is hoping to perform with high numbers to come in strong to the Big Ten Championships next weekend. Having two quad meets in a row should help the Lady Spartans with the experience of the different set up of quad meets. Paired with a home court advantage, the Spartans are expected to put up a good fight within the conference.
This Saturday also marks the last home meet in East Lansing, but also the first meet to be televised this season. The competition is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. with an approximate broadcast time of 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
Erin Eschels is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports