Spartans Shine in Record-Setting Day at Big Ten Championships
MSU tied the best team score on floor in program history, crown three B1G Champions.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Michigan State women’s gymnastics team won the first session at the Big Ten Championships and finished tied sixth overall with a team score of 195.200 on Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J. It was MSU’s best team finish since 2010 when the Spartans finished fourth.
The highlight of the day came on the floor, where Michigan State tied the best team score in program history and had the best score of the meet with a 49.475, including the three Big Ten Champions who tied atop the event in Elena Lagoski, Kira Frederick and Nicola Deans, who recorded 9.925’s.
“We are ecstatic and so proud of this team,” said interim head coach Mike Rowe. “It wasn’t doing all of this on one event. It took what we were doing on each event leading up to that to build momentum and get confidence. We went into floor with our eye on getting someone on the podium, because that was our goal from the very beginning, and we walk away with three Big Ten Champions. Floor has been our best event all season. Lindsey Lemke started us out with a great routine and we kept building. We continued to be lights out and do great things and it resulted in tying our program record.”
The three are the first Big Ten Champions from MSU since Chayla Hill in 2006, and first floor champions since Michelle Ingalls in 1988.
“The stars aligned and the great thing about having three Big Ten Champions was that they were all seniors,” said Rowe. “It was thrilling to watch them today and we knew our score was a program-best but we weren’t sure where the scores would stack up after the second session. After nervously watching 36 different individuals go and wonder what would happen, just one matched our scores but nobody topped it, so it was so amazing.
MSU has only recorded a 49.475 on floor five other times in school history and Saturday was the first time since March 7, 2004.
Four Spartans were named to the All-Championship Team, tied with Michigan for the most representatives from any school. Hailee Westney joined Lagoski, Frederick and Deans as the MSU representatives for her 9.850 beam score that was tied for first in session one and finished 10th in the meet.
MSU’s overall score of 195.200 was its third best score of the season. Lindsey Lemke finished sixth on floor in session one and tied for 12th in the meet, recording a career-high 9.875, while Alexandra Hoyer also recorded a career high and finished tied for 10th in the session and 24th overall with a 9.825.
Michigan earned the 2017 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships title, securing its 23rd overall and fourth-consecutive title. The Wolverines tallied 197.300 points en route to the team title, followed by Illinois in second place with 196.875. Iowa finished in third with 196.725 points, Nebraska placed fourth with 196.475, Ohio State earned fifth with 195.525, while Michigan State and Penn State rounded out the top six with 195.200 apiece.
MSU’s second-best finishof the competition came on the balance beam, where the Spartans recorded a score of 48.725 that was the fifth best mark of the day. Westney tied for first in the morning session and finished tied for 10th overall with a 9.850, followed by Frederick who finished tied for fifth in session one with a 9.750.
On bars, the Spartans finished with a 48.650, led by Westney who finished tied for second in session one with a 9.850, while Lemke finished 10th in session one with a 9.750.
Deans finished ninth all-around with a score of 39.150 and scored a 9.775 on vault to finish 10th in session one, followed by Anna Gamelo, who finished 11th with a 9.725. MSU finished with a team score of 48.350 on vault.
The NCAA will announce regional selections on Monday at 4 p.m. ET.
Gymnast of the Year: Nicole Artz, Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Taylor Houchin, Nebraska
Coach of the Year: Larissa Libby, Iowa
Bridget Hodan, Illinois
Mary Jane Horth, Illinois
Lizzy LeDuc, Illinois
Mollie Drenth, Iowa
Angel Metcalf, Iowa
Lanie Snyder, Iowa
Nicole Artz, Michigan
Talia Chiarelli, Michigan
Olivia Karas, Michigan
Emma McLean, Michigan
Nicola Deans, Michigan State
Kira Frederick, Michigan State
Elena Lagoski, Michigan State
Hailee Westney, Michigan State
Ciara Gardner, Minnesota
Hannah Hitchcock, Minnesota
Paige Williams, Minnesota
Sienna Crouse, Nebraska
Taylor Houchin, Nebraska
Jennie Laeng, Nebraska
Alexis Mattern, Ohio State
Sabrina Garcia, Penn State
Briannah Tsang, Penn State
Claire Jones, Rutgers
Makenzey Shank, Rutgers
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Jordyn Givens, Illinois
Nicole Chow, Iowa
Sarah Faller, Maryland
Emma McLean, Michigan
Molly Hoerner-O’Malley, Michigan State
Kaitlin Rahon, Minnesota
Catelyn Orel, Nebraska
Jaine VanPutten, Ohio State
Nicole Medvitz, Penn State
Libby Groden, Rutgers