Feb. 20, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Continuing road competition, the Michigan State gymnastics team will make the short trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Western Michigan on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. The competition, which will be the Broncos’ Autism Awareness meet, will take place at the University Arena.
“We have had an excellent week of practice and I expect to see a more focused team on Friday night against Western,” said head coach Kathie Klages. “I think the fact that we handed Western a pretty solid loss in December will boast this team’s confidence going into Friday night.”
It will be the second time this season the Spartans have competed against the Broncos, when MSU downed Western Michigan in a preseason exhibition on Dec. 20 in East Lansing.
Last Time Out
MSU traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., last weekend to compete against the 14th-ranked Golden Gophers. Though the Spartans fought on the road, Michigan State fell to Minnesota 193.700-196.025.
Though the Spartans struggled, the meet was highlighted by a personal-best performance from Mackenzie Smith on the uneven bars as she posted a score of 9.750. She tied Dani Levy to lead the Spartans to their lone event win over the Golden Gophers with a team score of 48.500. Alina Cartwright made the podium for MSU, scoring a 9.900 on vault to place second overall and a 38.325 for third place in the all-around competition.
MSU In The Rankings
The Spartans are currently 43rd in the GymInfo national rankings with a team average of 193.554. MSU improved to No. 24 with an average balance beam score of 48.596, while the team's floor exercise average score of 48.446 is ranked 45th
Individually, Alina Cartwright is tied for 18th in the nation with an average vault score of 9.883. In the conference, her vault score is the second-best average score this season and she is tied for No. 7 overall on the balance beam with an average of 9.817.
Breaking Down the Broncos
The Broncos lone victory of the season came against Ball State, winning a 193.175-190.525 decision at home. Western Michigan recently posted its highest score of the season with a 194.125, but fell to Eastern Michigan last weekend.
“Western’s team has really improved since December,” Klages said. “Though I don’t know their individuals very well, I do follow their competition scores over the season and they are really making improvements in their team scores.”
At the helm of Western Michigan is Penny Jernigan, who is her first year as head coach of the Broncos. The team is led by senior Shelby MacDonald, who has posted four wins this season on the uneven bars.
The Spartans will return home to host Denver at Jenison Field House for Senior Night on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.