April 6, 2002
MORGANTOWN, W.V. - The No. 21 Michigan State women's gymnastics team placed sixth at the NCAA Southeast Regional tonight on the campus of West Virginia University with a team score of 193.150. No. 2 Alabama won the six-team event with a score of 197.900, and advanced to the NCAA Championships along with No. 11 Minnesota, which placed second with 196.050 points. No. 19 West Virginia placed third with 194.850 points, followed by No. 22 North Carolina (194.825), No. 20 Kentucky (194.225) and MSU.
Junior Christy Linder (Fremont, Ohio/Fremont Ross) was MSU's top performer, finishing with the team's top score in three of the four events. Linder had MSU's top score of the night with a 9.825 on floor, which placed her tied for 11th in that event, and led MSU with a 9.725 on beam and a 9.700 on vault. Freshman Kristin Merritt (Racine, Wis./Washington Park) finished 11th in the all-around with a score of 38.675.
"The team started off with a rough performance on beam, but we came back with excellent performances on floor and vault," said MSU head coach Kathie Klages. "Then we had to count a fall on bars, which hurts your team score. I'm not disappointed in the sixth-place finish, but I'm disappointed in the team performance."
MSU started on beam, and dug itself into an early hole with a score of 47.925, which was the Spartans' second lowest beam score of the year. MSU was led on the beam by Linder, who scored a 9.725, but the Spartans were forced to count a fall, putting them at an early disadvantage. MSU entered the competition ranked tied for 13th nationally on beam, which was its highest ranking in any event.
The Spartans next moved to floor, where they scored 48.750 led by Linder's 9.825. Junior Julie Devaty (North Olmsted, Ohio/Magnificat) and freshman Anna Hunsinger (Elizabethtown, Ky./Central Hardin) both scored 9.750 while senior Jane McIntosh (Concord, Mich./Concord) scored a 9.700 on the last routine of her career.
On MSU's third rotation, the vault, Linder and freshman Lauren Simpson (Fenton, Mich./Fenton) both posted 9.700 scores to pace the Spartans, while sophomore Lindsey Voth (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview) scored a 9.675.
Michigan State finished the evening on the uneven bars, and scored 48.250. Freshman Jennifer Yarbrough (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) had the team's top score with a 9.775. Senior Meredith Reavill (Novi, Mich./Northville), in her first competition of the year, scored 9.750, as did Merritt.
"I was very pleased with Meredith Reavill stepping up and getting a good score on bars for us," added Klages.
Michigan State concluded the season with a 15-6 record, while advancing to the NCAA Regionals for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Spartans' score was not enough to advance to the NCAA Championships, but it was MSU's best score at an NCAA Regional since totalling 194.700 points in 1997.