Senior Spartan gymnast Alina Cartwright is no exception to the wave of highs and lows
The Spartans earned a No. 5 seed in the Iowa State Region of the 2015 Regional Championships
Senior Alina Cartwright led the Spartans on vault, bars and beam at the 2015 Big Ten Championships
Michigan State will travel to Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 21 to compete in the first session of the Big Ten Championships
This marks the first time MSU has had two gymnasts named to the First Team since Rhiannon Banda-Scott and assistant coach Nicole Curler were in 2007-08
MSU Gymnastics vs. Pittsburgh - 2014 Alumni Day
Contact Kathie Klages:
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Head coach Kathie Klages is in her 25th season at the helm of the Michigan State gymnastics program. Klages has instilled a winning mentality to the Spartans, having posted a winning record in 21 of her 25 seasons leading the Green and White. A three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, she has been named Central Region Coach of the Year four times. Klages has had 117 student-athletes named to the NACGC/W Scholar- Americans list over her 25 years at the helm of the Spartans, as well as 131 Academic All-Big Ten selections.
In 2013, the Spartans were sparked by newcomers and the opportunity to host the Big Ten Championships. On the leadership front, Klages was aided by lone senior captain Taira Neal, who qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the vault. She was accompianed by freshman Lisa Burt and sophomore Alina Cartwright. Michigan State was well-represented in the classroom as six members of the Green & White were selected as Academic All-Big Ten honorees for earning a 3.0 GPA or better, while three MSU student-athletes received Scholar All-American recognition for having a GPA of 3.5 or better during the academic year.
The 2011 campaign was an emotional year for the Spartans, and MSU could not have had a better leader in Klages during the season. After losing one of her top returning student-athletes prior to the season, Klages was forced to rally her troops and rely on the young group of individuals throughout the year. The Green and White struggled in the early stages of the season, but the Klages led Spartans rallied late in the season to qualify for their fifth-straight NCAA Regionals. MSU wound up tying for its best finish all-time at the regionals with a third-place mark. Junior Jackie Berg was a bright spot for the Green and White over the course of the season, resulting in being named a second-team All-Big Ten selection. Seven members of the 2011 team received Academic All-Big Ten honors. As a team, MSU was recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) for having the eighth-highest grade point average (GPA) in the nation with a 3.5494 composite team mark. In addition, nine Spartan gymnasts were named Scholar All-Americans for having a GPA of 3.5 or better during the 2010-11 academic year.
In 2010, the Spartans finished the year with a record of 12-6, tying for fourth at the Big Ten Championships. MSU also qualified for its fourth-consecutive NCAA Regionals where it placed sixth. Seniors Nicole Curler and Rochelle Robinson left their mark on the program as they became the first two four-time All-Big Ten honorees in program history. Individually, Curler posted all-around score of 38.625 at the NCAA Championships, and narrowly missed second team All-America honors on the beam with a score of 9.850, placing 11th in the first session. Curler qualified for the NCAA Championships after placing fourth in the all-around at the NCAA Regional in Lexington, Ky., with a score of 39.175. Eight members of the 2010 team received Academic All-Big Ten honors. As a team, MSU was recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) for having the fifth-highest grade point average (GPA) in the nation with a 3.6194 composite team mark. In addition, nine Spartan gymnasts were named Scholar All-Americans for having a GPA of 3.5 or better during the 2009-10 academic year All of MSU's 14 individual NCAA qualifiers have competed on the national stage under Klages. In just Klages' third season at the helm of the Spartans, Jodi Blotcher finished 35th at the NCAA Championships with a score of 38.225 in the all-around. Two years later, in 1995, Klages accompanied two student-athletes to the championships in Siri Larsen and Wendy Minch. Larsen finished the all-around competition in 40th (38.225), while Minch placed 15th on the beam (9.800). Carolyn Hecht placed 42nd in the all-around with a score of 38.150 at the 1996 championships. In 1997, MSU sent an individual qualifier for the third-consecutive season to the NCAA Championships. In the all-around, Jamie Elwell placed 36th (38.625), while Kristin Peugeot was 44th (37.925). Kristen Coleman became MSU's first non-alternate NCAA representative since 1997 when she placed 23rd in the all-around with a school NCAA record of 39.525. Current Spartan Rochelle Robinson would be the most recent Spartan to qualify for the NCAAs as an individual in both 2007 and 2008, the only two-time NCAA qualifier. In 2007, Robinson posted the best individual performance with a 22nd-place finish (38.400), while in 2008 Robinson was 33rd (38.775).
The 2009 season saw MSU finish with an 11-11 record, placing fourth at the NCAA Central Regionals. The Spartans also were ranked third in the nation by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women with a 3.65 composite team grade-point-average mark. In addition, eight Spartan gymnasts were named Scholar All-Americans for having a GPA of 3.5 or better during the 2008-09 academic year. The top-three ranking continues MSU's streak of top-30 teams since 2003.
In 2008, the Green and White posted a 17-11 overall record and finished third at the NCAA West Regional, tying their best placement ever at the NCAA Regionals and their best since 1989. Rochelle Robinson qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second-straight season, and finished 33rd in the all-around. Senior Rhiannon Banda-Scott left her mark on the program, recording just the second perfect 10 in MSU history on vault against New Hampshire. Banda-Scott, Robinson and Nicole Curler all earned Big Ten accoldaes, and 12 team members were placed on the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) All-Academic Team, an all-time MSU high, while six were named to the All-Big Ten Academic Team. The team was ranked fourth nationally by the NACGC/W and earned the Virginia Ironside Team Academic Award from the University.
In 2007, the Spartans went 12-7 during the regular season and placed fourth at the NCAA Central Regional and seventh at the Big Ten Championship. Rochelle Robinson, a First Team All-Big Ten selection along with Kristen Coleman and Nicole Curler, highlighted the MSU campaign, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the all-around and performing the first perfect 10 in Spartan history. Coleman also made history becoming only the second Spartan, and the first under Klages, to be named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. Away from the competition, the Spartans ranked 20th in the nation and first among Big Ten foes with a team GPA of 3.369. A then-program-record 10 student-athletes earned NACGC/W All-Academic honors, while seven were named to the All-Big Ten Academic Team.
In 2006, Klages led a young but talented group of gymnasts to a 17-12 dual meet record and second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships meet, its highest conference finish since the 1996 campaign. Under her direction, junior co-captain Chayla Hill became the 10th Big Ten event champion in school history, tying for first on vault, while teammate Kristen Coleman, a first team All-Big Ten selection, captured second in the all-around competition. The Spartans followed with their 15th appearance in the NCAA Regional Meet, finishing fourth in the Central region. For her individual performance in regional competition, Coleman advanced to the NCAA Championships meet, becoming the first Spartan to reach the national stage since the 2003 campaign. In addition to accolades in the gym, Michigan State saw seven gymnasts garner NACGC/W Academic All-America honors, while four Spartans received Academic All-Big Ten laurels.
In 2005 Michigan State posted a record of 17-11 and finished fourth in the Big Ten. Under Klages' tutelage, Hill advanced to regional competition and finished the season 25th on vault and 28th on floor at the event. Off the mat, eight members of the 2005 squad were selected NACGC/W Academic All-Americans. As a team, the Spartans' cumulative GPA of 3.32 placed 25th among varsity gymnastics programs nationwide. Michigan State finished in a tie for 14th nationally in the number of individual student-athletes recognized.
The Spartans finished fifth in the Big Ten in 2004 and compiled an overall record of 17-11-1. The Green and White capped the season with a fifth-place finish at NCAA Regional competition.
The Spartans took seventh in the Big Ten in 2003, but claimed a notable win early in the year. State snapped Michigan's 40-meet winning streak against conference opponents, as the Spartans became the first Big Ten team to defeat Michigan in more than four years. Perhaps even more impressive were the academic accomplishments of the 2003 Spartans, as the team posted the 10th-best team GPA in the nation with an average of 3.47, while seven gymnasts were honored as NACGC/W All-Academic members and eight earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
In 2002, Klages celebrated a personal milestone, as she recorded her 200th victory as leader of the Michigan State gymnastics squad. The Spartans downed George Washington (195.350-194.650) for the notable win on March 9, 2002. Michigan State also made a return trip to NCAA regional competition that season after failing to qualify during the 2001 campaign.
The 2001 season proved to be a rebuilding year for the Green and White following a successful 2000 campaign where Klages was named the NCAA Central Region Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career. She had previously earned the honor in 1993, 1996 and 1998.
MSU failed to advance to the NCAA Regional meet in 1999 following a record-breaking performance in 1998 where MSU became only the second squad in school history to garner 20 or more wins in a season (23-8). The 1998 team still holds the highest mark in school history on the uneven bars (49.450). In 1998, for only the third time in Spartan history, Klages guided three gymnasts - Carolyn Hecht, Chrissy Weathersby and Polly Kiker - to selection on the All-Big Ten team.
In 1997, Klages guided her team through injury trouble to finish at No. 15 in the national polls. MSU marched to a first-place finish at the National Invitational Tournament while two gymnasts, Kristin Peugeot and Jamie Elwell, individually qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Klages took home Big Ten Coach of the Year honors following a school-record 27-3 season in 1996, in which the Spartans were ranked among the top 12 nationally for much of the year.
Klages also guided MSU to an 18-6 mark in 1995 and a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championship Meet.
The Spartans finished fourth in the Big Ten in 1994, while the squad tallied back-to-back third-place finishes during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Michigan State also made its first regional meet appearance under Klages in 1993.
Prior to becoming the fourth women's gymnastics coach in MSU history, Klages spent five successful years as the assistant coach of Great Lakes Gymnastics in Lansing. During her tenure, she coached the 1990 Level 10 Junior Olympic National Champion, 20 state championship teams, numerous national qualifiers and former Spartan greats Kim Hartwick and Michelle Ingalls.
In 1988, she was named the United States Gymnastics Federation (USGF) Coach of the Year in Michigan. A member of the National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges since 1978, Klages is also a national judge.
Before coaching at Great Lakes, Klages was the head coach of Blue Lakes Gymnastics in Muskegon for two years (1983-85). She also served a two-year stint as head coach at Spring Lake High School (1979-81).
A native of Spring Lake, Mich., Klages is a member of USA Gymnastics, the National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges, United States Elite Coaches Association and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Klages also directs the gymnastics summer camp at MSU. Klages earned her bachelor's degree in physical education from Central Michigan in 1977.
Klages' family includes her husband, Ross, four children and four grandchildren.