Feb. 6, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State gymnastics team returns home to host Iowa at Jenison Field House on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The Spartans will look for their first victory of the season and against Big Ten competition. The meet will also be the Eighth Annual Jan Howard Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. Attendees who wear pink will receive free admission to the meet and a live web stream will be offered through Spartan All-Access.
"We have had a great week of practice that I believe has built the team's confidence so I expect to see a focused, energized team ready to capture their first win," said head coach Kathie Klages.
Jan Howard `Flip For A Cure' Breast Cancer Awareness Meet
This Friday's meet is also the Eighth Annual Jan Howard Memorial Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. A tradition started in 2007, the meet is held in honor of Jan Howard, the mother of former Spartan gymnast and current Director of Student Athlete Development Angela Howard Montie.
"We started the Breast Cancer Awareness Meet because the NCAA gymnastics coaches wanted to support a Georgia gymnast that was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 20," Klages said. "Many collegiate programs host a "pink" meet to raise awareness and funds for the cancer society.
"The meet began over 10 years ago, but I decided to name it the Jan Howard Memorial Breast Cancer Meet to honor a very special lady. Jan was the mother of Angela Howard Montie, a gymnast that I coached in club gymnastics and then again throughout her collegiate career. Jan was very special to me and I wanted to honor her memory and bring some personalized attention to this dreaded disease. Jan never liked to be in the limelight, but she certainly enjoyed helping others. This allows her legacy to continue to help others even though she is no longer with us.
All attendees are encouraged to wear pink for free admittance. Autographs will be available after the meet by the Spartan gymnasts.
Last Time Out
The Michigan State gymnastics team traveled to its first road competition of the season on Friday to take on in-state rival Michigan at the Crisler Center. Though MSU posted its highest team score on the uneven bars and balance beam this season, the Spartans fell to the Wolverines 193.900-196.800.
In the all-around competition, Alina Cartwright totaled an all-around score of 39.275 to finish second overall. She tied her career-best score of 9.850 to lead the Spartans on the balance beam.
MSU In the Rankings
The Spartans are currently 41st in the GymInfo national rankings with a team average of 193.331. MSU is No. 28 with an average balance beam score of 48.456, while the team's floor exercise average score of 48.650 is ranked 33rd.
Individually, Alina Cartwright is tied for 15th in the nation with her all-around average score of 39.292 and her average score of 9.892 on the vault is ranked 17th. In the conference, her vault score is the second-best average score this season and she is No. 3 overall in the all-around rankings.
The Ins and Outs of Iowa
Iowa will also compete in hopes of earning its first win of the season. The Hawkeyes are coming off a season-best score of 195.050 against Illinois last weekend, falling to the Illini in their second Big Ten competition of the season. In her 10th season at the helm of the Hawkeyes, Larissa Libby looks to lead Iowa to its seventh-consecutive NCAA appearance.
"Iowa's team is similar to ours in the sense that we both have had good meets and very rough meets so far this season," said Klages. "I expect coach Libby to have her team ready to perform and I expect a very competitive meet. I am looking forward to the challenge.
Iowa is led by all-arounders sophomore Alie Glover and junior Sydney Hoerr, both 2014 Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch. Last season, MSU and Iowa met a tri-meet at University of Illinois-Chicago where the Hawkeyes tallied a first-place score of 195.875, while the Spartans finished a close second with a score of 194.850.
The Spartans will be back on the road next weekend as the team travels to Minneapolis, Minn., to take on the Golden Gophers on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.