Feb. 21, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State gymnastics defeated visiting Pittsburgh at Jenison Field House Saturday (Feb. 21), 196.575-195.250. MSU ties a school record with its 196.575 performance. Sarah Alexander and Victoria Iakounina claimed event titles on beam and bars, respectively.
"There was no outstanding individual, but today was a very strong team effort," said head coach Kathie Klages. "With the loss of Sarah Alexander on bars with a shoulder injury, the team really pulled together and focused on performing well. We've tied the school record - now we focus on how to break it."
MSU opened with a team vault score of 49.000 - its highest vault score of the season - in the first rotation as Sarah Alexander and Victoria Iakounina and Jaime Miles posted scores of 9.825, respectively, to tie for second place. Chayla Hill turned in a score of 9.800 and Nicole Anderson posted a 9.725 to round out event scoring for MSU.
Alexander's 9.825 is her highest this season. Her previous season-best stood at 9.675. The second-place finish and mark of 9.825 is also Jaime Miles' best score of the season and the highest mark of her career.
In the second rotation, the Spartans turned in a team bars score of 49.075. Victoria Iakounina took the event title on bars with a season-best performance of 9.900. Teammate Kristin Merritt took runner-up honors with a 9.850, tying a season-high for the junior. Leia Langhoff (9.825), Jennifer Yarbrough (9.775) and Kristen Coleman (9.725) rounded out scoring for Michigan State.
MSU went on to post a team beam score of 49.100 as State swept the top four spots of the event. Sarah Alexander claimed the event title with a score of 9.900, tying a season-best performance while Miles posted a score of 9.850. Lauren Simpson (9.825) and Iakounina (9.800) rounded out the top four. Chayla HIll rounded out MSU scorers with a score of 9.725.
As the crowd of 873 cheered, Michigan State entered the final rotation - the floor exercise. After an impressive performance a week ago in the Spartan Invitational, MSU posted a team floor score of 49.400, just .075 off its season-best performance at the Invite. Alexander, Nicole Anderson and Kristin Coleman posted scores of 9.900, to take second, third and fourth places, respectively. Hill and Yarbrough notched scores of 9.850 to round out scoring for MSU.
Anderson's score marks a career performance for the junior as she had previously posted two 9.875s throughout her career. Coleman's 9.900 is a season-best effort by the freshman.
"I'm very excited about our performance tonight," said Klages. "Heading into this meet, we were a little concerned about letdown after our great outing at the Spartan Invitational last weekend. I am extremely impressed with the way the team came through today."
Michigan State will host Ohio State and West Virginia in its final home meet of the 2004 season on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.