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MSU Meets Illinois for Possession of the Victory Plank on Saturday for Senior Night

Feb. 16, 2018

Michigan State (3-5, 1-4 B1G) vs. Illinois (5-2, 3-2)
 Date Saturday, Feb. 17
 Time 6 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House | Bag Policy
 Tickets Click To Purchase
 Television BTN Plus
 Game Notes Michigan State | Illinois
 Statistics Michigan State | Illinois
 Internet Coverage Live Results
 Promotions Senior Night, T-shirt Toss and Post-Meet Autographs
 Social Media @MSUGymnastics   |  Facebook  |   Instagram

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State gymnastics returns home for the final regular season home meet on Saturday inside Jenison Field House, hosting the Fighting Illini of Illinois.

Saturday's meet will also serve as Senior Night, where the Spartans will recognize the senior class: Hailee Westney, Tessa Jaranowski, Victoria Huehn, and Anna Gamelo along with student coach Lindsey Lemke and student managers Jessie Livingston and Sam Bielecki

The two teams will be battling for the `Victory Plank,' a rivalry trophy between the two schools in its ninth season of existence that goes to the winner each year. Illinois is currently in possession of the trophy after defeating MSU last season.

The meet is slated to begin at 6 p.m. ET and will be streamed on BTN Plus. Live results for the meet can be found at

Last Time Out  . . .
Michigan State gymnastics just missed tallying its third-straight score of 195.000 or better, finishing with a 194.950 in a dual at No. 7 Michigan last Saturday at the Crisler Center.

The host Wolverines posted a 197.250, winning at least a share of all four individual event titles and the all-around top honor.

Spartan senior Hailee Westney claimed a share of the uneven bars title, tying her season-high with a 9.875 for the third time this season. Westney posted a 9.800 or higher for the fifth time in six meets this season.

MSU had topped the 195.000 mark in the previous two outings, narrowly missing for the third time in row with Saturday's performance. The Spartans tied their season-high on vault with a 48.850, while posting their second-highest bars score of the season with a 48.975. Michigan State also had a 48.475 on beam and a 48.650 on floor.

Michigan's 197.250 came from a 49.300 on vault, 49.125 on bars, 49.425 on beam and a 49.400 on floor.

Syd Townsend won the vault for the Wolverines with a 9.900, in addition to Polina Shchennikova and Brianna Brown joining Westney in sharing the bars crown, all with 9.875s. Shchennikova and Lauren Farley tied for top honors on beam, each with a 9.925, while Emma McLean won the floor with a 9.950. Brown was the top all-around gymnast with a 39.400.

Freshman Lea Mitchell was third in the all-around with a 39.150, while junior Roya Shirley was fifth with a 38.425.

For the Spartans, there were seven scores that either tied or set a season-high in the meet, including six career-bests.

Shirley tied a career high on two events, with a 9.825 on vault and a 9.800 on bars. Mitchell set a personal best with a 9.825 on beam. Fellow freshman Michelina Lupinetti set a new career high on vault with a 9.800, setting or tying her top score for the fifth-straight performance. Senior Tessa Jaranowski tied a career high on vault, logging a 9.675, for her second career-best mark in a row.

Classmate Victoria Huehn also tied a career-high, posting a 9.825 on beam.

Michigan State opened on bars, with Westney's title-tying 9.875 performance coming in the anchor position. Mitchell's lead-off performance, Shirley in the three-spot and freshman Anne Maxim in the fourth-spot all posted a 9.800 for a three-way tie for fifth.

Moving to vault for the second rotation, Shirley tied for fourth with a 9.825 from the number four spot in the lineup. Lupinetti was seventh with a 9.800, while Mitchell and senior Anna Gamelo tied for eighth with a 9.775 apiece.

On floor for rotation three, freshman Tristan Brown was the top Spartan with a 9.800, finishing sixth from the number two spot in the rotation. Junior Brittini Chappell was seventh with 9.775 and Mitchell was eighth with a 9.750.

Finishing up the meet on beam, Huehn led off with a 9.825, which Mitchell matched at the fourth spot, while Lupinetti was eighth with a 9.775 from the second position in the lineup.

Spartan Notes  . . . 
• The Green and White has improved its season-high score four of the last five meets with the season-high  195.525 coming against Penn State on Feb. 4.

• The Spartans currently rank 41st in the Road to Nationals rankings, dropping one spot from last week's ranking. MSU is 25th in the nation on bars, 30th on floor, 46th on vault and 46th on beam.

• Sophomore Gabriella Douglas and freshman Lea Mitchell were named as the Spartans' 2018 Gymnasts to Watch in the Big Ten, while the team was picked to finish eighth in the conference.

• Mitchell took the all-around title for the second time in three meets on Saturday, Jan. 27, tallying a season-high 39.325 in the event.

• Senior Hailee Westney has won uneven bars competition four out of six meets this season. The Milton, Ontario native took the event against Bowling Green (1/5, 9.850), against Iowa (1/13, 9.875), in the quad against Pitt, Eastern Michigan and Rutgers (1/27, 9.875), and at Michigan (2/10, 9.875). 

• MSU holds a season record of 3-5-0 and is 1-4-0 in the Big Ten, sitting at eighth in the conference.

• MSU welcomes seven freshmen to this year's squad in Ashley Beatty, Isabelle Wittebort, Lea Mitchell, Madison McHale, Anne Maxim, Michelina Lupinetti and Tristan Brown.

Fighting Illini Notes  . . .
Illinois currently ranks 30th in the Road to Nationals rankings.

The Fighting Illini's strongest event comes on beam where they rank 19th in the nation. Illinois also ranks 31st on vault, 32nd on bars and 46th on floor.

Illinois is coached by Nadalie Walsh who is in her first season at the helm of the program.

Quotable With Coach Rowe  . . .
"It's obviously bittersweet as we are sorry they have to leave us, but we are thrilled to see where life takes them and are looking forward to following their individual journeys to success!" said head coach Mike Rowe. "This class was the freshman class that arrived when I got here as an assistant coach, so we've been here for four years together, so they have a genuine personal impact on what I feel they have accomplished and contributed to in molding this program. They're a class of resilience, as they've each had their share of injuries and set-backs, but never faltered in displaying perseverance in handling adversity." 

"They have adjusted to many little, but necessary changes to our culture which demonstrates how they now perceive, process and accomplish things within our new culture.  Most of all, they have contributed and succeeded in nurturing and engaging our Spartan family, which will keep us connected forever as their hearts now truly bleed GREEN!"

"Of course, we love being at home in front of our Spartan fans and the objective is to have a great meet and continue progressing. The fact that its Senior Night makes it special this year because it's not our final home meet and we still have the B1G 5 meet to look forward to hosting it here in Jenison," added Rowe. "We have seven seniors this year, including two managers and we want to make sure we make this night bigger than life as a meet that they won't forget."



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