No. 13 Michigan State sets new school record of 198.225 in tri-meet victory


Sarah Smith

Skyla Schulte flips on the beam during Michigan State’s 197.200-196.975 victory over No. 3 Michigan on January 22, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Faith Flickinger, Gymnastics Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State hosted Long Island and Bowling Green in a multi-record-breaking tri-meet for their annual Jan Howard Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. 

MSU set five program records, recorded two perfect 10.0s, and set multiple new career highs. 

“Hey, these fans are waiting to see what all the chatter has been about. Let’s just give it a show,” said MSU head coach Mike Rowe. “And it was that easy. That’s all I had to say, and then just step back and watch what happens.” 

Right up front Jenison was beaming with energy between what the gymnasts brought to the competition floor and the crowd. The Spartans dominated on vault with a new program high of 49.575, and freshman Nikki Smith earned a perfect 10.0. BGSU and LIU both had rocky starts, but that didn’t stop either from pushing through. The Falcons ended with a 48.850 and the Sharks ended with a 49.000. 

“I’m feeling super excited especially because it’s my first 10.0 in college,” said Smith. “My expectations for the rest of the year is to keep going up from here.” 

The Spartans went into rotation two on fire. They earned their first 10.0 on bars in program history from senior Jori Jackard. “When her dismount dropped in front of me, I was like, there it is,” said Rowe. 

“It feels so amazing just to have my team behind my back and supporting me,” said Jackard. 

MSU broke their bars record for the second time this season, with a score of 49.550. Although, the Falcons and Sharks struggled to keep up. LIU fell behind MSU by 1.200 points and BGSU fell behind by 1.225 points. 

Rotation three was solid for MSU, and they broke yet another record to set their new beam record to be 49.600. BGSU was on floor, and earned a 48.075 and LIU earned a 49.175 on vault. There was little progress made by the Falcons and Sharks on catching up to the Spartans. MSU stood at 148.725, LIU at 147.100, and BGSU at 146.975.

The fourth and final rotation sealed the deal for MSU. Anchored by a stellar performance from sophomore Skyla Schulte, the Spartans swept the competition to set a new school record of 198.225. 

Despite MSU taking the competition as a team, for all-around LIU and BGSU got up on the scoreboard. Third place went to sophomore Kathryn Weilbacher from BGSU, and the second place went to freshman Syd Morris from LIU. Smith took first place and set a new school record for all-around with a score of 39.775. 

Rowe is proud of this team’s cohesion. 

“They help each other, they have each other’s backs, ” said Rowe. “They give each other good advice. They stick together and basically, that’s the message we were trying to send as that’s how we would be successful.”

Up next, the Spartans will host Northern Illinois on March 11 at 7 p.m. for their senior night.