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Women's Gymnastics
Beyond the Beam Archives 2009
 
 
 

 

 
 

Beyond The Beam


Monday, March 9, 2009

Hello MSU Fans,

Last week was very busy with more than a few 12 hour days for me! Hence, the delay in this "Beyond the Beam." Please accept my apologies!

We had a very good trip to Missouri, our first flight of the season. Though we were delayed in Detroit and had to drive to Columbia from St. Louis in a raging rain storm, we arrived safely at our hotel. It was a unique "country" style place with a large moose out front and rooms with themes from various animals. Katie and I shared a bear themed room while Randy had fish theme in his room. It was unique and a fun place to stay for the weekend.

The meet began with our team on floor and a number of inquiries due to incorrect start values. We moved to vault and had an average showing. However, on bars we had our best meet of the season and rocked with our team high score! We were ahead going into the last event......yes, it was beam. We had to count a fall and therefore, "fell" to the #13 Missouri Tigers. It was a very classy meet and we all enjoyed the competition at the "Cat Classic." We were able to enjoy some time with a few of our coaching friends at Missouri, Western Michigan, and Cal State Fullerton, so it was a good weekend indeed.

We returned home to prepare for our home double weekend - that is what caused the 12 hour days! It was senior day and we wanted to make sure we had an enjoyable experience for our seniors. Against Auburn on Friday, we had GREAT success on that dreaded balance beam, along with vault and floor - It was our best floor performance of the season. We struggled on bars and had to count a major error in our team score, but we got to come out and go on Sunday to try again! We made it through two events with great success, scoring a 49.0 on vault and a high 48 on bars. But then came that dreaded balance beam ... we had three girls take a fall and had to count 2 falls in our team total. Randy pulled the team together and challenged them to still score that 195. We only needed the same floor score from Friday night to do so. Our team performed like rock stars and tallied our season high on floor of 49.175. We were excited to get the 195 counting two falls in our team total.

This team is so talented and capable! We are still waiting for that no fall meet! Are we just "saving" it for Big Ten's and Regionals? We all know how great we will score if we go 24 for 24 ... so we will continue to work hard through this spring break and strive for that perfect hit meet! I know this team can do it!

Kathie


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hello Spartan Fans,

This past weekend we had our highest team score of the season, 194.9! Although we are climbing the mountain, we would like to get there a little quicker. This team has not come close to their potential at this point of the season, so as the peak of the mountain grows closer, it seems to get a little steeper. Now you may think that it is all about the score, or the win, or even the perfect 10, but to us those things matter very little. We would rather go into a competition and hit every routine that is performed, with aggressiveness, and with a "go for it" kind of attitude.

To aim is not enough, you have to hit! Our team will be adopting the "Don't be afraid to fall" attitude as we head in to the final month of our regular season competition. With this positive mindset, the coaches know that the 2009 Spartan Gymnastics team can rise to the challenge and show our fans and foes the talent that we truly possess.

This upcoming weekend we will be in Columbia, Mo., for the Missouri Cat Classic. We will take on Missouri, Cal. State - Fullerton and Western Michigan in what should make for an exciting competition.

Until next time...let the journey continue!

Go Green, Go White, Go Spartans!

Randy


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Last week the Spartans returned home for a competition against No. 9 Florida. It was Valentine's Day and we were excited to show our home crowd what we had learned on the road. We certainly had quite of few highlights in this meet. Senior Katlyn Roggensack had again smashed another career score, only this time it was on floor with a 9.875. Emily Lopatofsky also scored a 9.875 on the floor with her explosive first pass of a double layout! The biggest highlight of the competition was when Kelsey Morley earned a perfect 10.0 from one judge and a 9.95 from the other on balance beam. She now holds the school record with a 9.975!

As you can see there were some great things that happened in this competition. Although we had our highest score to date, we still can make many improvements. We are headed to the University of Pittsburgh for a dual competition on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. We look forward to bringing back a great score and keeping the momentum going. Until next time...GO SPARTANS!

KT


Monday, February 9, 2009

Hello Spartan Fans,

We ventured to the Windy City for the Chicago Style Invitational at the Navy Pier this past weekend. It proved to definitely be windy, as we started on beam and struggled once again. Besides the falls, we also had many, many wobbles. Instead of sulking in our sorrow, the team rallied and performed extremely well on floor. Kathryn Mahoney had her season high of 9.800 and Emily Lopatofsky won the event with her season high of 9.875. The team was fired up and ready for vault. We had two career highs with Nikki Argiros scoring a 9.875 and Katlyn Roggensack winning the event with a 9.925. Katlyn's performance really got the team fired up! We moved to bars and were thrilled with the performance from Rochelle Robinson as she added an "E" difficulty dismount to her bar routine this competition. She nailed the routine and took one step on the landing for a 9.9 performance and the win on this event.

We look forward to being back home this weekend with the 9th-ranked Florida as our guests. The competition begins at 2:00 p.m. and we welcome back a number of Spartan alumni gymnasts to the event. We plan to introduce each alumni member and learn what they are doing with their lives. It is always such a memorable experience to see what these fabulous young women are doing.

As we continue the season, we look for improvement each week and we believe that we have stayed the course. We are excited to put it all together and hope this will be the weekend to do it! Don't miss the Spartans in action at home this weekend!

Go Green!! Go White!! Go Spartans!!

Kathie


Monday, February 2, 2009

Hello Spartan Fans,

This past weekend we traveled to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes along with Illinois and Missouri in a quad meet. We had a great competition with a few new people in the lineup for the Spartans, as we decided to rest Nicole Curler as well as Emily Lopatofsky from the all-around. Curler competed on three events and Emily only competed on floor exercise. Kelsey Morley competed in the all-around for the first time in her career and came away with a season high all-around score of 38.725. Rochelle Robinson competed on beam for the first time this season, and Selina Rodriguez competed on uneven bars for the first time in her young career.

We finished third as a team, upsetting Ohio State, who was the top-ranked Big Ten team going in to the competition. As a coaching staff we were very impressed with the camaraderie and teamwork that was displayed. They worked together as a team from the first routine until the last dismount.

A few highlights:

Katlyn Roggensack competed a new floor routine. She upgraded her first two tumbling passes and ended with a season high 9.8.
Emily Lopatofsky competed a double layout on floor for the first time (the first MSU gymnast to ever compete a double layout) and scored a season high 9.825.
Kelsey Morley competed in the all-around and uneven bars for the first time of her career scoring a 38.725 and 9.675, respectively.
Selina Rodriguez competed on bars for the first time and scored a 9.625.
Katlyn Roggensack stuck her vault and received a 9.9 from one judge. She continues to improve from meet to meet and look for that improvement to continue.
Rochelle Robinson also stuck her vault and received a 9.9 from one judge for a final score of 9.85.

This upcoming Friday, Feb. 6th we head to the Windy City to compete at the Chicago Style Invite at Navy Pier. This will be another quad meet as we take on Illinois, Boise State and Illinois-Chicago. The meet begins at 7:30 p.m. We hope that you will be able to come and cheer your Spartans on to victory!

Until next time...Let the journey continue.

Randy


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hey Spartans!

Last week was our first road trip and we traveled to Penn State. I always look forward to our away competitions because of the team bonding that occurs on these trips. To watch these girls grow as a family and become so close is so awesome to watch. This meet was a double dual, which means there were two women's teams and two men's teams competing at the same time. Although we did not come away with a win we did come away with a decent road score.

It was a good meet last weekend for our two seniors. Katlyn Roggensack tied her career high (9.825) on vault for the second week in a row, while Dani Fanning tied her career high on bars with a 9.8. On beam our dual threats, Nicole Curler and Kelsey Morley, tied for 2nd with a 9.85. Overall, not a bad performance but we are looking to improve upon our goals set for each week.

We are heading to OSU this weekend for another Big Ten match up against Ohio State and Illinois. The University of Missouri will be attending the meet as well. In the gym, our practices have been going great and we are looking to transfer our practice performance over to the competition floor. Keep tabs on our performance online! This meet will be televised on the Big Ten Network and will be aired on Saturday February 7th at 2 p.m.

LET'S GO STATE!

KT


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Spartan Fans,

Improvement is what all coaches look for in a team. Well, the beam team improved from seven falls to two falls, from the first meet to the second meet. Yes, we were pleased as a coaching staff. This team once again performed well in the other three events; not counting a fall. The beam performance caused us to count one fall (-.5) in our total team score; much better than counting four falls (-2.0).

The meet itself was a huge success. It was our Third Annual Jan Howard Flip for a Cure Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. We honored former gymnast Angela Howard, daughter of Jan Howard. Jan lost her fight with breast cancer in May of 1977. We offered a silent auction with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. The NCAA gymnastics involvement is due to a Georgia gymnast being diagnosed with breast cancer right after her collegiate career. Her name is Talya Vexlar. The Georgia coach, Suzanne Yoculan, decided to create the "pink meet" concept. The entire collegiate gymnastics community jumped on board. Well, Talya is presently a coach at the University of Iowa and her team was competing in our meet. We introduced Talya and she spoke to our crowd. What a special moment! We raised $1200.00 for the cause, and we plan to do more! The Perfect 10.0 Club will be selling raffle tickets for $10.00 a piece with only 1000 tickets being sold. The winner of the raffle will receive a pink scooter with MSU decals! The proceeds from this event will go to the American Cancer Society. Tickets will be available soon. Don't miss this opportunity to help our fundraising cause for ACS and the chance to win a cool scooter!

We are off to Penn State this weekend for another Big Ten confrontation. We have trained hard this week and expect to see even more improvements in our efforts. Check out the Penn State website to see if you can follow us online.

Until next time,
Kathie


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hello Spartan Fans,

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone is happy, healthy and ready for some Spartan Gymnastics. We started our season last Friday night in Jenison Field House with a 75% perfect competition. That darn balance beam...

Good things happen to those who wait!

Well, now that we have our first meet jitters out of the way, we are going to try to come out this week and have a 100% good time. The first meet of the year is always a starting point, whether it is "good," "bad" or "perfect" is the question. The first meet of the year is an indicator of where you are, what you need to do to improve from there and where you would like to eventually end up.

This team wants to end up at the NCAA National Championships...will that happen? Only time will tell. But, this I can tell you from a coach's standpoint...this team has more heart and determination and if any team can accomplish that feat, this is the team! In the three years that I have coached here at MSU, I have seen a transformation of this program. Confidence, heart, desire and belief are a few words that sum up the attitudes and demeanor of this team. I've seen those same qualities enable a team to accomplish their greatest goals and that is what I hope will become reality for this team.

What we would like to request from you, our fans and greatest supporters of Spartan Athletics, is simply your support. We need for everyone to come out and cheer for us in the "good," "bad" and "perfect" times that we will experience throughout this season. Our team needs your voices, support and approval to be successful this season. I challenge you to be a part of something special and make MSU Gymnastics one of the highest attended sporting events on campus. This coming weekend we host the Third Annual Jan Howard Flip for a Cure Breast Cancer awareness competition. The meet will be held on Saturday, Jan. 17th at 7:30 p.m. in Jenison Field House following the men's basketball game. Bring a friend or five and be sure you wear pink as you will get in FREE! Please come out and support a worthy cause.

Until next time...let the journey continue!

Randy


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year! The competitive season has finally approached us. We kick off the season with a home competition against Illinois, Michigan and Western Michigan. The meet will be on Friday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House. The team has been working very hard all preseason and is very anxious to put their competitive leotards on and perform in front of a crowd.

This season we will look to our senior class, Katlyn Roggensack and Dani Fanning, to guide this team with their experience and consistency. Our junior class will add strength and depth to the mix. Look for the dynamics of Emily Lopatofsky and Rochelle Robinson as well as the consistency of Nicole Curler and Kelly Moffitt. The sophomores will add strong routines that have some uniqueness to them. Nicole Heikkila opens her beam routine with the Homma Flairs and Kelsey Morley has a five element flight series on beam. Nicole Argiros begins her floor routine with a whip immediate double back, Kathryn Mahoney contributes a one-arm back handspring layout on beam and Elise Craig will demonstrate her elegance on beam. Freshman Jackie Berg is expected to contribute in the all around and Selina Rodriguez will add her beauty on bars and beam. Unfortunately Alyssa Brennan has suffered a season ending injury.

This team is jammed packed with excitement and ready to compete. We look forward to seeing you at the first meet to enjoy some MSU Gymnastics.

GO GREEN! GO WHITE! GO SPARTANS!

Katie


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Well, the Big Ten Championships are now over. The Spartans came away with a fourth place finish which is a much improved placement from last year. MSU received a great draw for rotations, the best as a matter of fact. We started on the bye before vault. Since there are seven teams in the Big Ten, the rotation order is as followed; Bye 1, Vault, Bars, Bye 2, Beam, Bye 3, Floor. As you can see this is a long meet, but it usually goes by rather quickly.

Vault is a strong event for the Spartans and we were excited to begin the competition on this event. We finished vault with a team score of a 48.625. I would have to say that this event, which is usually very strong for us, was a little shy. In a tie for fourth place, Rochelle Robinson was our highest vaulter of the day with a 9.85. We moved onto bars which was our best event of the day with a team total of a 49.00. Megan Bergland and Nicole Heikkila started us off with great scores of 9.8. Nicole Argiros kept that momentum going adding to the team total a 9.825. Katlyn Roggensack also brought a respectable 9.725 to the table. Once again, Rochelle Robinson, finished up the bar line-up with our highest score, a 9.85.

Moving onto the next event, which was beam. After last year's performance on beam at Big Ten's, we were focused on staying on the beam and that we did. It was a little shaky up there but we stayed on the beam. Kelsey Morley anchored our line-up producing a near flawless routine scoring a 9.875. Kelsey kicked some butt tying for second in the Big Ten on balance beam! It was time to rotate to our last event and finish up the competition strong. We started off with a great routine by Kelly Moffitt who posted a 9.725. The scores were pretty consistent throughout floor as we ended with Emily Lopatofsky and Rochelle Robinson. Emily scored a 9.8 and Rochelle scored a 9.85.

Now that the Big Ten's have come and gone, it is time to prepare for Regionals. For the first time in MSU history, the Spartans are seeded. This means that the Spartans are ranked in the top 18 and the top 18 teams will move around the country to different Regionals. This is a very exciting feat for us and we are excited to be in this position. The NCAA Regional that MSU will attend is the West Region hosted by Oregon State. The teams that will be at this site are Oregon State, Michigan State, Michigan, Washington, Sacramento State and San Jose State. We have two weeks to continue training for Regionals which will be held on April 12th at 9 p.m. Until then...

GO SPARTANS!

KT


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our regular competition season concluded at the University of Arkansas this past Friday night. The meet proved to be a challenge as it was a team building, confidence building and character building experience. Our team had to adapt to filling in for a teammate that had gotten injured during warm-up. Sophomore Nicole Curler sprained both ankles while warming up for floor. She will be fine, and in time will be back to competitive gymnastics, which may be this season or we may have to wait until next year to see her in action again.

If there is one thing that dampens my spirit, it is seeing a hard working, dedicated and goal-oriented athlete injured, especially as the championship part of the season is upon us. Over the past several weeks, there have been many gymnastics teams around the country that have been plagued with the injury bug. I thought we were safe from the bug this year, but I guess I didn't knock on wood hard enough. As much as we hate injuries and seeing athletes dreams and hopes taken away, there is always a lesson to be learned. We may not understand what we are suppose to learn, but in due time it becomes evident.

All for one and one for all...that is the approach our team chose to take from Friday night until the postseason concludes. There is a great deal of team unity among this Spartan team. They are excited to step up and meet their goals in the postseason. Hit 24 for 24! Enjoy and have fun! And concentrate on the Process, NOT the Outcome! Those are the goals... positive, focused and doing the job that they know how to do.

This Saturday, March 29, we will challenge for the Big Ten Conference Championship title. If we achieve the above goals, then we are "Champions."

Until next time...

Go Spartans!!!

Randy


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A lesson is learned in each and every competition and we learned a very valuable one in Auburn. A gymnast can only control her performance; not the score she receives for that performance. We were disappointed with the overall team score at Auburn but proud of the job the team did. We had close to our best team floor performance of the season! Individually, Rochelle Robinson took first on vault and shared the title with an Auburn gymnast on bars and floor. Nicole Curler tied for third on bars and Kelsey Morley tied for third on beam. This team forged on under stressful situations and showed how resilient they can be. We were very pleased with their focus, attitude and performance!

We have had a good two days of practice and continue to press the gymnasts to focus on the details of each routine. We are excited to get on the competition floor once again to show what this team is made of. We look forward to the championship season which begins on March 29th at the Big Ten Championships. These will be held at Michigan, in Ann Arbor, at 2 p.m. We will then await our placement for the NCAA Regional Championships. Presently, we are ranked No. 15 and the NCAA seeds the top 18 teams. So at this point in time, we have no idea where we will be heading for regionals. It is exciting because since the inception of NCAA seeding, we have not finished the regular season in the top 18. So as we head to Arkansas, the goal is to perform well enough to help our RQS keep us in the top 18.

Go Green!! Go White!! Go Spartans!!

Kathie


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ten...Ten...Ten...Ten, filled the arena after senior Rhiannon Banda-Scott finished her vault! The team came running down to Rhiannon and as we turned to look at the score, Jenison Field House erupted with cheer. Rhiannon Banda-Scott scored a perfect 10.0, the second one in MSU Gymnastics History! What a way to start off our last home meet of the season. Sophomore Rochelle Robinson, who was the first to record a perfect 10.0 also on the vault, has someone to share the spotlight with!

This was such an emotional day for the MSU Spartans with it being the last home meet of the season and our senior meet. We have three seniors on our team: Megan McNally, Bethany Little and Rhiannon Banda-Scott. These three young ladies have all had a fantastic journey at Michigan State University as both a gymnast and a student. Unfortunately, Megan and Bethany were unable to finish out the season due to career ending injuries. Therefore, Rhiannon was our only senior competing in this final meet. Thank you to our seniors who have committed so much to this program!

Back to the meet...We started off with a bang on vault, not only with a perfect score but also a fantastic total score with a 49.25. Emily Lopatofsky competed a new vault this week and landed herself a career high of a 9.825. The team and audience were so pumped up as we carried the adrenaline over to bars. We started bars with Megan Bergland who had a solid performance. We had a fall early on in the line-up but that didn't stop these determined Spartans. Rochelle Robinson finished the event for us with a career high of a 9.875! We moved on to the balance beam continuing to keep the drive going. Rhiannon was our lead off who had a great routine. Following her routine we had fall on our hands. But don't you worry; the rest of the line-up remained calm and got the job done. Our beam total score was a 48.9. It was on to our last event, floor, where we rocked the house. Our Spartans know how to dazzle the crowd with their fun and unique routines. Once again, Emily Lopatofsky shined her way to a personal best with a 9.9! We finished this competition with a bang scoring a season high of 196.35. Rochelle Robinson was our only all-around competitor and she had a spectacular performance earning her a career high of 39.325.

For the first time in Spartan history, we scored a 196 three times in a row. We as coaches are so proud of this group of young women. The way this team has become unified is just amazing to me! We are headed to warmer climate this weekend and out to get our fourth 196 or higher. We will be competing at Auburn University on Friday night at 8 p.m. Look online for the live stats as we are ready to keep this positive momentum going!

Go Green!! Go White!! Go Spartans!!

Katie


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hello Spartan Fans,

Confidence, confidence, confidence!!! That is the key component to any great team, along with talent of course. The Spartans shined this past weekend as we scored two scores of 196, only the second time in Spartan history that the team has scored back to back scores of 196! Wow! The preparation for the long weekend was exactly what this team needed to feel confident and ready to take on the No. 8 (LSU) team in the country on the road and then come home to take on two unranked teams (WMU & Ball State). We were diligent, precise, and had quality turns in the gym in preparation for the weekend. The team was focused and ready to take on the challenge set before them.

The one thing that was evident to me as the weekend progressed was the incredible amount of confidence that exuded from each and every team member. They were finally putting together a much needed element to challenge for a top 18 ranking in this sport, self and team confidence. We had a great time, not worrying about the competition, but only enjoying our own performance. The weekend came to a close on Sunday at home with a victory not only on the competition floor, but in the hearts and heads of 17 young women.

This coming weekend will be our last home competition of the 2008 season. We will be honoring our three seniors (Rhiannon Banda-Scott, Bethany Little & Megan McNally) as they don the Green & White for one last time in front of their Spartan Family. Please join us at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 9 as we play host to the University of New Hampshire.

Until next time...

Go Green, Go White, Go Spartans!!!

Randy


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Our trip to Iowa proved to be quite interesting! First glitch in the process was me, the head coach, forgetting the floor music and having to turn around to get it. It cost us 45 minutes extra time on the bus. That really makes a difference when you are on a bus for a 7 hour trip. Now, the University of Illinois was also at this competition. They had originally planned to go to Northern Illinois but that meet was cancelled due to the shooting tragedy. We told them where we were staying and they made room reservations on Wednesday. When we arrived at the hotel, the clerk handed me their reservations. I explained that we were MSU and not Illinois.....and then the clerk stated that they had no reservations for us. Now, we had a signed contract for 9 doubles and 3 kings. They could put us up in king rooms with pull out sofa sleepers but all of their doubles were gone. So, Randy had to get feisty and tell them that they had better find us the rooms, and give us a better rate! After dinner, they had miraculously found us what we needed. Great start to the trip!

Nikki Argiros had a sprained hamstring so she did not compete bars nor vault this week. She is still sore and will be out for the LSU meet too. Katlyn Roggensack actually smacked her finger into the bar on practice on Friday and split open her finger. We did not compete her on bars or floor. It is great to have gymnasts waiting in the wing to be able to fill in when things like this happens. The meet began on bars and the team held back.....we hit 6 for 6 but missed handstands, did not stick landings, and had a gymnast hit her foot on the bar on her release. We talked to the team about being aggressive throughout the remainder of the meet....and they did just that! We had a fabulous vault rotation winning the event as a team and Rochelle Robinson took first, again! Floor proved to be another strong event with only a .1 deduction for out of bounds on one gymnast. We finished the meet on beam, just like Illinois I said we could make a comeback, as Iowa had the lead going into the last rotation. We had a good beam set but counted some big wobbles. Katlyn Roggensack tied for first on this event. We took second behind Iowa and outscored Illinois. So, even though we scored our second highest score of the season, we knew we still had many areas to improve upon. I believe this team is a 196 team and we see that type of performance in the gym daily. We just need to get them to be aggressive on all four events and prove to everyone that they are a 196 team! With that said, I want to state how proud we are of this team and the way they have handled adversity. They work together, support each other, and are truly A TEAM!

Kathie


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wow...What a meet!! The Spartans struggled a little on their first event which was bars. Moving on to the vault we were behind by .6. We were able to handle the pressure that we placed upon ourselves and perform vault like we know how. This team is so unique and display exceptional qualities. After our vault performance we closed the gap a small margin, but we were not out of the woods yet. The team pulled together without us coaches and a change was evident on the next two events. The team showed some determination throughout the remainder of the competition and proved why we are one of the top ranked Big Ten teams!

The floor line-up dazzled the judges and crowd with their fun and creative floor routines. The momentum started to swing our way as soon as the first girl started. We had two athletes upgrade their difficulty in their floor routines. Kathryn Mahoney and Emily Lopatofsky competed with two double backs in their routines. Wait until you see these girls tumble!!

You have heard the coaching staff mention once or twice about the dreaded beam, well it was our last event of the night and it was a great event to end on for the Spartans. The momentum we built from floor carried over to beam and we rocked this final event. Rhiannon Banda-Scott was in the lead off position and came out with a career high score of 9.825. Kelly Moffitt and Nicole Curler tied for second with a 9.875 and freshman Kelsey Morley won the event with a 9.9. These were also Kelly and Kelsey's career high scores on beam!

I was so proud of the way our team persevered and handled the pressure. This team has heart and loves what they do. Each and every day we are working hard to accomplish our goals and make this the best season in MSU history! Until next time...Always do what you're doing out of love, not fear...it changes the end result A LOT!

GO SPARTANS!!

Katie


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It is so awesome to see the hard work pay off! The team really concentrated on the little things during practices prior to this last meet. Hitting handstands, sticking dismounts, better form and solid beam landings. In addition, we decided to rest Nicole Curler from as many events as we could for this meet. She did not even train on floor exercise the entire week. She competed on vault as a last minute replacement, did an exhibition bar routine, and competed beam. This created an opportunity for us to utilize some different line ups and experiment with lead off and anchor people. All of the gymnasts did an outstanding job as we hit 24 for 24 routines. With the exhibitions, we hit 27 for 28 routines. The team is realizing that it is just that.....a team that can rely on others to get the job done.

We had six outstanding vaults with a career high of 9.925 from Rhiannon. Kelsey, Emily, Nicole and Nikki had season high scores. We looked great on this event. Moving on to bars, we managed to take the five top spots on this event. However, our high score was a 9.775 from Emily, showing that improvement can be made by all. We still missed some handstands and took steps on dismounts, but showed an overall improvement. We welcomed Bethany Little back into the bar line up after a long absence due to a foot injury. She hit her bar routine and stuck her dismount and brought tears to my eyes. It is so rewarding to see her compete again. Beam was awesome as seven of the eight girls hit. We switched this line up around quite a bit and we were very pleased with the outcome. Nicole had her highest score of the season with a 9.9 and won the event. Kelsey continues to hit with so few balance errors, she is amazing! Ro was our lead off and tied her career high of 9.8. Katlyn also scored a 9.8, a season high for her too. Floor, the event we have struggled on the last two meets, proved to be a highlight this meet. We worked hard on building confidence on this event during practices and it paid off with a season high 48.825 team score. And, I believe there is still room for lots of improvement on this event.

We are striving to upgrade some difficulty in our routines this week. We continue to work on the little things to improve our overall team score. We are FINALLY going to leave the state of Michigan for a competition this weekend as we travel to the University of Illinois. So far, all of our away meets have been in the state of Michigan with one at the University of Michigan and one at Eastern Michigan. The team is excited to travel and welcome the challenge of competing on the road!

Go Green!! Go White!! Go Spartans!!

Kathie Klages


Monday, January 28, 2008

Leading up to last week's meet, the team focused on primarily one event. I bet you can guess what that was...that's right, the balance beam! Since our first two competitions were not as successful as we'd hoped they would be on this event, we decided that we needed to spend some extra TLC with the beam. We practiced some pressure routines and rearranged the line up to find the best possible outcome. Well it worked - we had seven hit routines out of eight. We definitely made a considerable improvement on the balance beam event! I was very proud of the way the team took on the event in practice and transferred their energy to the competition.

As a coaching staff we are very pleased with the progress they have been making each week. Our team score has improved on average one full point with each competition. Now, that tells you what this team is made of! There will be some gymnasts returning from injury making their way back to the line-up very soon. This will make it a fierce competition in practice for the line-up spots.

As I mentioned before, we improved our team total score by .95. Rhiannon Banda-Scott earned two career highs on the beam and floor with a 9.7 and 9.8, respectively. Banda-Scott tied for second on vault with a 9.85. Kelsey Morley competed on vault bringing back an "old school" vault; a full twist on - one and half twist off. Rochelle Robinson and Katlyn Roggensack tied for fifth place on bars with a 9.8. Nicole Curler was successful again on beam receiving a 9.85. Roggensack, also solid on the beam, scored a 9.8. Our top performer on the floor was Curler placing third with a 9.85. The individual accomplishments are great and well deserved. I am very proud of the way the team stayed together throughout the entire competition. When a mistake was made, it did not faze them. For the freshman, this was the largest crowd they had competed in front of with almost 4,000 in attendance.

We are back in the gym working on those little details to improve our score once again this weekend at the State of Michigan Classic. We will compete against all schools in Michigan that sponsor gymnastics. These teams include Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, and your Spartans of Michigan State University.

Let's Go State!!

Sincerely,

Katie


Friday, January 25, 2008

What a difference a week makes ... well most of the time. In our case we improved about 50% from the week before. We increased our team score on vault and bars, but found ourselves struggling once again on the dreaded balance beam. The one thing that stands out in my mind is that there was a vast difference in the team chemistry this past weekend. Our team finally showed the potential for greatness that we see every day in practice. They meshed, they fought together and fell together as a team. Now, if we can keep them on the beam together that would be a huge step. As a coach, I often wonder what I could have done differently to help the individual compete better, perform better or just plain stay on the equipment. That is a question still to be answered, but as I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. thinking of things that could potentially help the team overall, I know ultimately it is within their reach, we just have to find the right path for each individual.

We had our second "W" for this very young season. Nicole Curler had her second all-around win for the season with a season high of 39.15 and also won floor with a 9.775. Sophomore Rochelle Robinson won the vault for the second week in a row with a 9.85. Sophomore Emily Lopatofsky got her first collegiate win on the bars tying teammate Rochelle Robinson with a 9.8. And freshmen Kelsey Morley won her first collegiate title, winning balance beam with a 9.875. So, as you can see, we had some incredible results and have the potential to show greatness.

This wonderful sport of gymnastics is a mental game 90% of the time. We have two great sports psychologists that work with our team on a bi-weekly basis. That work is paying off, and I hope that this team can continue down the road, believing that they are a great team. After our first meet, with very dismal results, an MSU fan came up to me and simply said to me, "This team is special, they could go far." I thought this was a great word
to associate with this team. There are great athletes on this team, with the work ethic, heart, discipline and
desire to take MSU some where "special." We are headed in the right direction, which is up and forward, climbing the mountain. We hope to "peak" at the most appropriate time this season. The way I look at it, we are on a journey with a road we are paving along the way.

We continue down the road this Saturday night as we head to the University of Michigan for a dual competition. The meet begins at 6 p.m. in Crisler Arena and we hope to see a great deal of Green and White in the stands.

Until next time...

Go Green, Go White, Go Spartans!!!

Randy


Monday, January 14, 2008

Well, we have the first meet out of the way. And we did experience some first meet jitters! Though we secured a win, it was not very pretty.

We began on vault with all six of our gymnasts making their vaults. We have four vaults with a 10.0 start value, one with a start of 9.9, and one with a start value of 9.8. We had some rough landings, but all in all were pleased with our 48.575 team score on this event. We moved on to bars where our lead off person had a fall. We then had four hit routines with some errors on the landings of the dismounts. Our anchor had some timing issues and looked like she was in fast motion after her huge Tkachev. Though she fought and managed to not have a fall, her score was only a 9.4. So bars was weaker than we expected but we still managed a 48 on this event. Then came the dreaded balance beam event. We are very prepared on this event and believe it is one of our best events. However, it was NOT on this night. We had four falls and only managed a 46.975 team score. The team score was narrowing at this point and we needed to perform on floor to secure the win. We had five out of six routines on their feet and the team scored a 48.425 on this event to secure a 192.025 total team score. Western Michigan scored a 190.325 so we managed to pull ahead on floor to a comfortable point spread for the win.

Nicole Curler had an outstanding first meet of the season securing a win on the bars (9.75), beam (9.825), floor exercise (9.85) and the all around (39.025). A great start to the season! Rochelle Robinson won the vault event (9.85).

Our next home meet is Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. against the University of Pittsburgh. It is our second annual Jan Howard Memorial Flip for a Cure Breast Cancer Awareness meet. We will be conducting a silent auction during the competition with various MSU items for auction. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. You can get into the event for free if you wear PINK. Michigan State Gymnasts will be wearing pink leotards to commemorate this exciting event. We hope to see you all there!!

Sincerely,

Kathie Klages
Head Coach

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