In just a few short months, Michigan State women’s gymnastics will return to action for their 2014-2015 season. Coming off an eighth-place finish in the Big Ten Conference and finishing No. 39 in the country, the team is ready to return to competition in Jenison Field House.
The Spartans’ 2013-2014 season concluded with a “disappointing day” at the B1G Championships, according to head coach Kathie Klages. At the tournament, then-junior Gillian Carr was seriously injured in warm-ups, causing early problems for the team. The championships continued with three Lady Spartans falling, one on bars and two on beam, which lead led to one of these low scores counting in the final team score.
Though the team did not qualify for the 2014 NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge as a whole, Michigan State was well represented by three Lady Spartans who qualified individually. Then-junior Alina Cartwright, sophomore Lisa Burt and freshman Elena Lagoski all traveled to the campus of Louisiana State University to compete on April 5. Cartwright finished fifth overall in the all-around competition, with teammate Burt finishing seventh. As a freshman, Lagoski placed ninth overall on the floor exercise, which is good news for the Spartans because all three outstanding performers will be returning this season.
On Dec. 21 the Lady Spartans will have their annual Green and White scrimmage. It will be the first opportunity for the team to show off their skills and routines for a crowd, while also gaining experience for the upcoming season.
“I think it’s really important to get the girls in front of the judges,” said Klages. “In the past, we’ve done some celebrity judges at this competition. When I told them that we were bringing four real judges, they got a little bit nervous. It’s good to get them to know what it’s going to be like in a competition setting. It will help them for the next competition. They’ve very successful competitors in practice, and we’ve just got to carry that over to the competition floor. I think it’s all a learning experience.”
The women’s gymnastics team will also host their annual “Meet the Spartans” on January 4. Michigan State fans are invited to come meet the coaches and players, take pictures and get autographs from the team. More information will become available as the event nears.
Then, the Spartans will begin their season on the road at Bowling Green University on Saturday, January 10 at 2:00 pm. Last year, Bowling Green finished No. 40 in the country, just behind MSU. The Falcons also earned their best finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships in 22 years, coming in third place. Two all-conference gymnasts will return to Bowling Green this year, as well as last year’s MAC vault champion, giving the Spartans some heavy competition before the start of the Big Ten season.
“Our opening competition will be with a MAC school that has greatly improved over the last few seasons,” said Klages. “It will be a great gage for this team going into a tough five-week Big Ten schedule.”
Erin Eschels is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo Credit: Jon Yales/Impact Sports