March 1, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State gymnastics team will conclude the 2012 home season this Friday (March 2) when it hosts Illinois-Chicago at 7 p.m. (ET). The meet will be MSU's Senior Night as senior gymnasts will be honored for their accomplishments while competing in the Green and White.
"We are really excited about Senior Night because it's always a wonderful celebration to honor your seniors and all they have given to the program," said head coach Kathie Klages. "We are really happy that we've been scoring in the 195s the last couple of meets and we are looking to improve upon that this weekend."
The Spartans are coming off a second-straight week of scores in the 195s and currently have a Regional Qualifying Score of 193.270. Michigan State's highest team score is on the vault with a 48.688 RQS, which is 29th in the nation. On the uneven bars, MSU is posting a 48.335 RQS and on the balance beam a 47.635. The Spartans own a 48.585 RQS in the floor exercise, which is good enough for 39th nationally.
Individually, redshirt sophomore Taira Neal has the highest RQS of the squad with a 9.860 on the vault. Neal sits in 29th place nationally, 6th place regionally and 7th in the Big Ten. Senior Jackie Berg is the top Spartan on the uneven bars. She is posting a 9.770 in the event and is 20th in the conference and 17th in the region. With a 9.585 RQS, sophomore Alex Pace leads MSU on the balance beam and sophomore Dani Levy has the highest score in the floor routine with a 9.745.
Michigan State hosted Ball State last Friday (Feb. 24) and improved their score for a sixth straight week to pass the Cardinals 195.025-193.300. MSU won three events while five Spartans notched season-high scores. Senior Daneen Haba posted a 9.800 on the uneven bars to take second, while senior Alyssa Brennan and freshman Ashley Noll earned 9.800 scores in the floor exercise. On the balance beam, Berg scored a 9.800 mark to tie her personal-best and win the event.
UIC enters the weekend with an RQS of 194.430, which is 28th in the country. The top event for the Flames is the uneven bars with a 48.680 RQS and 25th place ranking. On the vault, UIC owns a 48.670 RQS, a 48.445 on the beam and a 48.635 in the floor exercise. Chantel Turk leads the Flames on the vault with a 9.815 score and in the floor routine with a 9.785 RQS. Cynthia Lemieux-Guillemette is atop the team on the bars and balance beam with scores of 9.775 and 9.785, respectively.
Next weekend the Spartans hope to drastically improve their RQS and break into the Top 36 by earning a high score on the road when they travel to Anchorage, Alaska. The two-meet series against the Seawolves will begin on Friday (March 9) at 11 p.m. (ET) and will continue on Sunday (March 11) at 6 p.m. (ET).