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Gymnastics Readies for No. 24 Penn State

Senior Taira Neal ranks 41st in the nation on balance beam with a 9.800 average.

Feb. 21, 2013

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State gymnastics team will face No. 24 Penn State in University Park, Pa., on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.  The Spartans fell last Saturday to Ohio State, 195.575-194.250, at the annual Autism Awareness Meet in Jension Field House. 

“The gymnasts are focusing in on the technique that are needed to hit routines and they are performing better,” said head coach Kathie Klages.  “I think it’s really important for us not to count a fall, we’ve only done that once this season.  I am looking forward to seeing the improvements in the teams form and their landings.  It’s a little bit more of a business trip when we are on the road.  We are more focused with what we need to do, so I hope that shows in the scores this weekend.”

Looking Back
Last weekend, MSU tallied season-high scores on vault (49.025) and beam (48.950) to compile a team score of 194.250.  Ohio State registered a team score of 195.575 to win the meet. 

Senior captain Taira Neal notched a season-best of 9.875 on vault to take first, while sophomore Alina Cartwright (9.850) was second.  On uneven bars, Cartwright led the Spartans notching a score of 9.725.  With a career-high 9.800, freshman Brittany Holmes set the high score on beam.  Taking second overall on floor exercise was freshman Lisa Burt marking a 9.850.  In the all-around competition, Cartwright earned a career-best and tied for first-place with a 39.075.

Notes on the Nittany Lions
No. 24 Penn State scored a season-best against Michigan last weekend as they registered a 196.700.  The Nittany Lions average a 195.014 to rank sixth in the Big Ten and 24th in the nation.



Sharaya Musser leads the Nittany Lions on vault (9.868), uneven bars (9.857), balance beam (9.771) and all-around (39.136).  On floor exercise, Lindsay Musgrove averages a 9.792 to sit atop Penn State’s lineup.

Penn State averages a score of 49.054 on vault to take fourth in the Big Ten and 17th in the nation.  At third in the conference and 10th in the nation, the Nittany Lions post an average of 48.971 on the uneven bars.  On the balance beam, Penn State takes sixth in the Big Ten and 27th in the nation as it posts an average of 48.514.  In floor exercise competition, PSU registers a 48.475 on average for eighth in the conference and 47th in the nation.

Michigan State and Penn State last faced off in a quad meet in 2012.  MSU took third with a 192.875, while PSU notched a 196.100 for second. 

Spartans in the Rankings
In the national rankings, Michigan State ranks 45th with a team average of 193.317.  The Spartans have their highest team score on vault, 48.717, taking 34th in the nation. In other events, the Green and White ranks 58th on uneven bars (47.763), 33rd on the balance beam (48.317) and 44th on floor exercise (48.521).

Leading the Spartans on vault is sophomore Alina Cartwright, averaging a score of 9.813.  Freshman Lisa Burt fronts MSU on uneven bars (9.658) and all-around (38.575). Senior captain Taira Neal takes 41st in the nation on the balance beam with a 9.800 average.  Freshman Nicola Deans posts a 9.810 on average to lead MSU on floor.

2013 Big Ten Gymnastics Championships
MSU will host the 2013 Big Ten Gymnastics Championships on Saturday, March 23. The meet will be divided into two sessions featuring teams ranked 5-8 at 1 p.m. and 1-4 at 6 p.m. An all session pass can be purchased for $12 for adults and $10 for students, youth and seniors, while single session tickets will be $7 for adults and $5 for students, youth and seniors.  The meet be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.

Next Up
The Green and White will return to East Lansing to face in-state rival Michigan on Saturday, March 2.  The action will begin at 4 p.m. in Jenison Field House.  

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