No. 25 Spartans Fall in Close Battle to Pittsburgh

The MSU gymnastics team fell in another close battle versus Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon with a score of 193.025 – 192.525.

The Spartans were missing a major piece not having Alina Cartwright in the rotation for the meet. Cartwright led the Spartans and head coach Kathy Klages shared that it was to be a precautionary decision regarding a neck injury.

“She was planning to all  around on all four events, and she slipped off bars and hurt her neck,” coach Klages said.

“Better safe than sorry.”

Throughout the meet there were many rough spots for both teams. Mackenzie Smith and Ashley Noll both took falls on the bars for the Spartans. The ladies of Pittsburgh almost let the meet slip away from them in their final event with three girls falling off the beam.

“I said, ‘don’t give it away, let’s get out of here in one piece,'” summarized Pittsburgh head coach Yohman.

“It can go either way…We can do the same thing tomorrow, and they would win.”

Pittsburgh had a balanced team performance. Brittney Harris won the vault with a 9.75, Katie O’Rourke tied on the beam with a 9.825 and Lindsay Offutt won the floor with a 9.8. The Panthers still faced many struggles throughout the day.

In Cartwright’s absence, sophomore Lisa Burt stepped up for the Spartans receiving titles in the uneven bars, balance beam and all-around. She set a new season-high of 9.8 on the bars.

“Future wise, I want to get to where I was last year.” Burt said.

“But I think it’s a good goal for right now and I’m really happy that it happened today.”

Freshman Elena Lagoski also had a solid performance for the Spartans in three events. However, coach Klages stressed that she would not become an all-arounder this year for the team. Lagoski’s growth throughout the season will be something to watch.

“Elena’s doing a great job. Last week she only did two events, this week she stepped in and did the balance beam,” Klages said.

“I think she’s a fabulous athlete and she is stepping up and getting the job done on the events that she is competing in.”

Looking to capture their first victory on January 25, the Spartans will face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions. This will be State’s annual Autism Awareness Meet.

Jalen Walker is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Imapct Sports