Spartans Celebrate Autism Awareness Meet
Feb. 16, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State gymnastics team hosted Ohio State University for the third annual ‘Flip for Autism’ meet on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Jenison Field House. Though the Spartans took season-high scores on the vault and beam events, the Buckeyes won the meet 195.575 to 194.250.
“I think it was a great meet today,” said head coach Kathie Klages. “We scored our first 49 or above on vault, so that was really exciting. We were close to that on beam with a 48.95. I’m really impressed with what the team did as far as coming off of a bad event with bars. We didn’t do what we know we are capable of doing and it’s always a tough event for us. Coming back and rocking balance beam the way we did, I was very pleased with the team. To finish out having fun on floor is always very exciting. I’m really proud of this team and glad that we are moving in the right direction.”
Leading the Spartans on the vault was senior captain Taira Neal who recorded a season-high score of 9.875, earning the top vault score of the meet. Posting career-best marks, freshmen Nicola Deans earned a 9.825 and Kate Filosi recorded a 9.75. Sophomore Alina Cartwright earned a 9.85 to contribute to MSU’s highest team vault score of the season of 49.025 to lead after the first rotation. The top gymnast on vault for Ohio State was Melanie Shaffer with a 9.825, aiding to their team score of 48.825.
Cartwright recorded a mark of 9.725 to lead Michigan State on the uneven bars. Sophomore Ashley Stevenson earned a season-best score of 9.65, while freshman Lisa Burt and Filosi each posted a 9.6. MSU was forced to count a fall on the event to give them a team total of 47.525 on the uneven bars. The Buckeyes took the win on the event with a team score of 48.925, led by Alyssa Marohn’s score of 9.875 who earned top individual honors in the event..
On the beam, freshman Brittany Holmes posted a career-best mark of 9.8 to kick off the rally for MSU. Cartwright kept the momentum going, also earning a score of 9.8. Noll turned in a score of 9.675, before Burt produced a career-best mark of 9.85. With the pressure on to not count a fall from junior Alex Pace, junior Dani Levy posted a career-high mark of 9.825 in the final spot in the line up. The Spartans earned the highest beam score of the season, a total of 48.95 to take a win on the event. Sarah Miller took first-place honors on the event with a 9.875 to help the Buckeyes earn a team total of 48.80.
Michigan State wrapped up competition on the floor exercise led by Burt recording her second career-best score of the meet with a 9.85. Deans posted a 9.825, before Noll tied her career-high mark of 9.775. Cartwright turned in a mark of 9.7 to aid to the team total of 48.75 for the MSU. Winning the event with a score of 9.9 was Shaffer for the Buckeyes to win the floor event with a score of 49.025.
In the all-around competition, Cartwright earned a career-best total of 39.075 to tie for first-place with the Buckeye’s Alyssa Marohn.
The team physician, Dr. Larry Nassar whose daughter Caroline has a diagnosis of autism, is the founder and organizer of the Autism Awareness Meet. Nine local gymnasts who have been diagnosed with autism performed prior to the beginning of competition between MSU and Ohio State.
“We appreciate Michigan State University allowing us to do this for the third time,” said Dr. Nassar. “They were the first college to offer to do an autism event to raise awareness for special needs children. It’s fantastic that they’ve been able to continue that into the future. I appreciate Kathie Klages for helping us do that and Nicole Curler also. Though were weren’t able to have an Olympic star here today, the real stars are the special needs kids that come out here and are able to perform in front of a large crowd like this. It’s really spectacular to see. We hope it shows to the public that they can do this. It really gives them so many aspects other than just physical abilities, like the socializing and communicating, that helps them.”
The Spartans will travel to State College, Pa., next weekend to take on Nittany Lions of Penn State. The meet will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.
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