PREVIEW: No. 12 Michigan State gymnastics visits No. 17 Iowa


Sarah Smith

Skyla Shulte flips on the beam during Michigan State’s 197.450-195.475 victory over Penn State on February 4, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Faith Flickinger, Gymnastics Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING– No. 12 Michigan State travels to No. 17 Iowa to kickstart its month-long road meets. The Hawkeyes will host the Spartans in their first-ever meet inside Xtream Arena on Saturday, Feb. 10.

“We have made some great progress this week and are looking to capitalize on that, along with a couple of line-up changes in an effort to give opportunities to some individuals who have improved and deserve their shot at getting competitive experience at the same time,” head coach Mike Rowe said. 

MSU has been a breakthrough team this year with a record of 4-1. The Spartans are undefeated in the Big Ten conference with a record of 3-0. In their last matchup, they overcame Penn State with their highest score of the season and fourth-highest in program history.

A 197.450. MSU also set season highs on bars (49.400) and floor (49.425) and secured all event titles. 

The Hawkeyes are 4-4-1 this season. They finally clinched their first Big Ten win against Nebraska on Feb. 6, 196.475-195.400, to make their record in the Big Ten 1-1-1. Despite this being Iowa’s lowest score of the season, it triumphed in all four events and posted a season-high team score on beam of 49.300.

Both teams rank nationally in the top 25 for all four events. MSU is No. 8 on vault, No. 19 on bars, No. 10 on beam, and No. 14 on floor. Iowa is No. 11 on vault, No. 24 on bars, No. 22 on beam and No.13 on floor.

In the meet against Penn State, MSU sophomore Gabi Stephen earned a career-high 39.575 to win the all-around title. Stephen posted the highest all-around score of the season and the fourth-best-all-around score in program history to tie with teammate Skyla Schulte. 

Stephen is ranked 18th nationally for all-around.

Freshman Nikki Smith also added herself to the Spartan history books with a career-high of 9.925 on Bars to put her at seventh in program history. 

In their last meeting, the Hawkeyes won 196.475-196.350 in East Lansing. MSU head coach Mike Rowe referred to Iowa as one of their traditionally toughest competition in the Big Ten. 

The competition begins at 6 p.m. ET. and can be streamed on B1G+. View live results on