April 7, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - The Michigan State gymnastics team competed in the 2012 NCAA Auburn Regional on Saturday (April 7) in Auburn, Ala. The Spartans finished their seventh straight NCAA appearance with a sixth place finish and 194.050 overall score.
MSU began the night with the floor exercise and posted a 47.825 team score. Senior Jackie Berg led Michigan State in the event with a 9.750 score. The Tinley Park, Ill. native ended with a 24nd place finish as Georgia's Noel Couch took home first with a 9.925 score.
"I think our kids learned some valuable lessons tonight," said head coach Kathie Klages. "We started the meet on the floor and we didn't perform very well. It was a rough way to start the night but we fought back on the vault and bars, so I'm really proud of that. Tonight was a good learning experience, especially for the underclassmen, that we will use to get better in the future."
The Spartans were on the vault in the next rotation and were led by redshirt sophomore Taira Neal, who scored a 9.900. Neal was MSU's top individual performer as her score tied her for fourth place with Georgia's Couch and Kat Ding and Auburn's Brianna Guy. Freshman Ashley Noll had the next highest score for MSU with a 9.825 in the event. As a team, Michigan State posted a 49.000 mark on the vault. Kylie Shields of Auburn and Michigan's Katie Zurales and Joanna Sampson tied for first in the event with scores of 9.925.
Senior Selina Rodriquez posted a personal-best 9.800 on the uneven bars, which tied with Berg for the top score on the team. The duo finished the event tied with eight others for 13th. Neal and freshman Alina Cartwright each tied their career-high scores of 9.775, helping the Spartans to a 48.900 score. Georgia and Oregon State split first place four ways with Gina Nuccio, Ding, Olivia Vivian and Leslie Mak all recording 9.900 marks.
Michigan State finished the meet on the balance beam with a 48.325 score. Sarena Bumbarger led the Spartans in the rotation with a 9.800 score. The sophomore finished tied for 12th with Michigan's Shelby Gies, Auburn's Megan Walker and West Virginia's Kaylyn Millick. Berg was second-best for MSU with a 9.775 score on the beam.
There were no Spartans competing in the all-around category. Ding finished in first for Georgia with a 39.500 mark.
Georgia and Oregon State were the top two teams in the Auburn Regional with scores of 197.100 and 196.450, respectively. Michigan placed third with a 196.325 mark, Auburn earned fourth with 196.100 and West Virginia was fifth with a score of 195.900.