Spartan Gymnastics Edged by Bowling Green in Season Opener
Junior Roya Shirley captures the all-around title with a 39.075.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – In its season opener, Michigan State gymnastics was edged by Bowling Green 194.000-193.350 at Jenison Field House on Friday night. Junior Roya Shirley captured the all-around title with a career-best score of 39.075.
The Spartans opened the 2018 season on vault, finishing with a 47.975. Freshman Lea Mitchell led the way with a 9.700 in her first collegiate action, which was good for fourth place. Shirley finished sixth with a score of 9.675, while senior Tessa Jaranowski’s personal best of 9.600 gave her a seventh-place finish.
“We knew we weren’t going to come in here being ready in vault. We had some people coming back into the lineup that aren’t quite ready, so we expected basically what happened on vault,” said MSU head coach Mike Rowe. “We were stellar on bars. On beam, we kind of gave away the meet. We were a little timid and apprehensive and not as aggressive as we should’ve been. Beam is the nemesis; if you don’t win on beam you’re not going to win a meet. We came back strong on floor because we can always be strong on floor.”
In the second rotation, the Spartans took the lead with a 48.900 on bars, taking the top three finishes. Senior Hailee Westney was just shy of her career best, capturing the event with a 9.850. Mitchell finished second in her MSU debut with a 9.825. Her career best was a 9.900 at the Big Five meet on March 12, 2016. Shirley finished third with a new personal-best score of 9.800.
The Falcons re-took the advantage in the third rotation with a 48.875 on floor, while the Spartans had a 47.575 on beam. BGSU took the top three spots on beam, led by a pair of 9.825s by Nacaida Kearns and India McPeak.
The Spartans ended the night with on floor with a score of 48.900 which matched their bar score for the best of the night. Michigan State was able to trim the Falcon lead, but BGSU’s 48.700 on beam sealed the win. Shirley and Mitchell tied for first with matching scores of 9.850, earning both personal bests. Freshman Tristan Brown finished tied for fourth in her season debut with a 9.800.
“There were a lot of great individual performances, I’m so proud of Roya Shirley going 4-for-4 and winning the all-around. We had some big scores from some of our kids on bars and from Tristan Brown on floor.”
Michigan State is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 13 in its Big Ten opener at 7 p.m. The Spartans will also celebrate Alumni Night against the Hawkeyes.