No. 22 MSU Gymnastics Hosts No. 24 Ohio State Saturday
Feb. 26, 2002
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Back Home Again: The Michigan State gymnastics team competes at home for the final time during the 2002 season when the Spartans host Ohio State Saturday at 8 p.m. It will mark MSU's third straight home meet, and fifth of the season, and will be followed by at least three straight weekends away from home, and possibly more should the Spartans qualify for the NCAA Regionals.
About the Buckeyes: Ohio State owns a 2-12 overall record against a very challenging schedule, and has a 1-2 Big Ten mark. The Buckeyes have a Regional Qualifying Score of 194.020 which ranks them 24th nationally, with a season best of 195.850 in a win against Illinois Feb. 15. Ohio State scored 193.600 points while finishing fourth out of four teams at the Masters Classic in Lincoln, Neb., last Saturday.
The Buckeyes have performed best on the floor exercise, ranking tied for sixth nationally in that event. Jill Tucker ranks tied for 16th nationally on the floor with an RQS of 9.890, while Tiffany Janke is tied for 24th with an RQS of 9.875 on the same event.
Ohio State was one of three teams the Spartans defeated to win the Circle of Starts meet in Indianapolis, Ind., Feb. 3. In that competition, MSU scored 193.375 points, while Ohio State totalled 190.450.
MSU Wins Spartan Invitational: The Michigan State gymnastics team won the team title at the 13th annual Spartan Invitational sponsored by Country Markett, scoring 195.700 points for the fifth-highest team score in MSU history. MSU's score was the second highest in Invitational history, trailing only a 195.850 scored by MSU in 1998, and came one week after the Spartans had the fourth-highest team score in history.
MSU's title was its third straight in the Spartan Invitational and ninth in the 13 years the competition has been held. Illinois-Chicago finished second by scoring 194.875 points, Ball State placed third with 193.275 points, while New Hampshire finished fourth scoring 193.100.
Senior Jane McIntosh equaled her own school record which she shared with Carolyn Hecht (1998) by scoring 9.950 to win the balance beam. McIntosh, competing in just her third meet of the season after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, also placed third in her only other event, scoring 9.875 on the floor exercise.
Junior Christy Linder won the all-around title with a score of 38.875 despite a fall on the bars. Linder excelled on her other three events, however, winning the floor exercise with a 9.900, placing second on the vault with a 9.850 and scoring 9.800 to tie for third on the beam. MSU had another solid performance from junior Julie Devaty, who equaled her personal best with a 9.900 to place second on the beam. Devaty also tied for fourth with a score of 9.850 on the floor.
Freshman Anna Hunsinger placed second in the all-around with a total of 38.700. Her top performances included a 9.850 on the floor which tied her for fourth, and a 9.775 vault which also tied for fourth. Freshman Jennifer Yarbrough placed second on the parallel bars with a personal-best 9.825, while freshman Kristin Merritt tied for third with a 9.800, which was also a personal best. Freshman Lauren Simpson tied for fourth on the vault with a score of 9.775.
As a team, MSU's best performances came on beam and floor. The Spartans scored 49.175 on the beam, which is the fourth-best total in school history. MSU's highest team total of the night was a 49.300 on the floor which was sixth-best in school history.
On the Verge of 200: MSU head coach Kathie Klages is approaching a milestone, as the 12th-year head coach needs just two more victories for 200 during her career at MSU. After garnering 12 victories so far this season, Klages' career coaching record currently stands at 198-93-2.
Consistency Counts: MSU had probably its best all-around performance in terms of consistency Saturday, as the Spartans had one of their top three scores of the season on all four events. MSU had season-bests on the beam and floor, posted its second best vault score and added its third best bars score of the season. In addition, seven individual performances ranked among the top five of the season for the Spartans, including team season-bests by McIntosh on the beam (9.950) and Linder on the floor (9.900).
Fresh Faces: Michigan State's freshman class continues to be crucial to its success in 2002. In last Saturday's meet, 10 of the 24 routines were performed by freshmen. Still, the 75 combined routines by freshman this year (out of a possible 168) are not the highest number of routines performed by a single class, as the junior class has performed 78 routines. The sophomore class has accounted for nine routines while senior Jane McIntosh has performed six routines.
Big Mac Attack: Senior co-captain Jane McIntosh was forced to miss four of MSU's first five competitions after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery - her third such surgery of her career. McIntosh had a triumphant return at the State of Michigan Classic, winning the beam with a score of 9.875, and scoring a 9.800 on her other event, the floor exercise, to tie for seventh. After a decent performance against Rutgers, McIntosh was back to her old self at the Spartan Invitational, tying the school record with a 9.950 beam routine, and placing third with a 9.875 score on the floor exercise.
Linder the Leader: Junior Christy Linder has undoubtedly been MSU's top performer this season. Linder has four of MSU's top five scores this season on the vault, two of the top four bars scores, four of the top eight beam scores and two of the top three scores on the floor. As a result, Linder also has five of the top six all-around scores for MSU this season.
Rank You Very Much: Michigan State has popped back into the Top 25 national rankings this week, appearing at No. 22. The rankings took on a different look as this is the first week Regional Qualifying Scores were used to determine team and individual rankings. As a team, the Spartans are No. 11 nationally on the beam, and No. 20 on the floor.
Beam Me Up: MSU's best team performances this season have come on beam, which has helped the Spartans post the 11th-best RQS in the nation on that apparatus. This season, MSU has had team scores on the beam that have been the fourth, seventh and tied for 12th-best team scores in school history.
Useless Note of the Week: Freshman Jennifer Yarbrough is the first gymnast is MSU history whose last name starts with the letter "Y". The only remaining letters that have not started an MSU gymnast's surname are "O", "U" and "X".
Toppling the Top 25: After defeating No. 19 Ohio State and No. 25 Eastern Michigan Feb. 8, MSU now owns a 4-2 record against teams ranked in the Top 25. The Spartans also own wins over then-No. 21 West Virginia and then-No. 23 Eastern Michigan.
Linder Nears Record: Christy Linder has put her name in the MSU record books for the all-around twice this season. Linder's score of 39.400 in the Jan. 11 season opener was tied for the second best all-around score in MSU history. Only Carolyn Hecht scored higher, recording a score of 39.450 vs. Ohio State on March 22, 1996. Melissa Green is the only other Spartan to score 39.400, accomplishing the feat Feb. 19, 2000 vs. Pittsburgh. Linder also scored a 39.300 to finish second at the State of Michigan Classic Feb. 3, which ranks as tied for eighth best ever in the all-around at MSU. Linder now owns three of the top 10 all-around scores in MSU history.
State Power: MSU's second-place showing at the State of Michigan Classic Feb. 3 marked the third straight year that MSU placed at least second in the meet. Last season, the Spartans took the title, and MSU placed second in 2000.
Dynamic Debut: Anna Hunsinger's first ever all-around competition was one to remember, as the freshman won the all-around title with a score of 38.750 Jan. 26 at Illinois. She then improved on that score when she won the all-around vs. Rutgers Feb. 16 with a total of 39.050.
Best Ever Opener: Michigan State's point total of 194.650 in the Jan. 11 opener was easily its best ever in a season-opening meet. The previous best-ever score in an opener was 191.900 by the 1996 squad which went on to finish 27-3.
In Order to Be the Best...: You've got to beat the best. Michigan State will compete against at least seven teams this season that are ranked in the current top 25, including Michigan (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 9), Iowa State (No. 11), Oregon State (No. 16), Iowa (No. 20), Penn State (No. 23) and Ohio State (No. 24). Counting the Big Ten Championships, the Spartans will face Iowa twice, and MSU will compete against Michigan and Ohio State three times . In addition, the Spartans could face other ranked teams in the Regional Championships.
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