EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State gymnastics team travels to Champaign, Ill. for the Big Five Meet on Saturday, March 11 to face off with Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Ohio State. The meet is set to start at 2 p.m. ET and will air live on BTN.
The Spartans average a team score of 194.528 on the season and own an RQS of 194.915 that ranks ninth in the Big Ten. MSU’s best score of the season was a 195.625 vs. Michigan (2/11), with its second best score coming last weekend vs. Bowling Green (195.600).
Spartans Own The Floor
MSU’s best event has been the floor exercise, where the Spartans average a 48.770. Michigan State has won the floor exercise title at eight of 10 competitions this season and has shown great depth in the event, with four different individuals earning titles. The Spartans are led by a pair of seniors on the floor, as Nicola Deans owns an RQS of 9.870 to rank tied for ninth in the Big Then, while Kira Frederick owns an RQS of 9.855 to rank 15th in the Big Ten. Deans and Frederick each have three floor titles this season, while freshman Gabriella Douglas and Elena Lagoski have also each earned floor titles this season.
Michigan State’s next best event this year has been on the balance beam, with an RQS of 48.855 that ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Twice this season the Spartans have recorded a score that ranks in the top-30 team beam scores in school history. Against No. 21 Arkansas (2/25), the 49.075 score tied for the 16th-best team score in the event in program history and against Michigan (2/11), MSU tallied a 48.975 which is tied for the 28th-best score on the event in school history.
Freshman Gabriella Douglas has earned two beam titles in her first season and she ranks tied for 18th in the Big Ten with a 9.820 RQS and season-high of 9.900. Hailee Westney is the other Spartan to take home a crown on the balance beam.
Deans’ Senior Season
Deans has done it all for the Spartans in her senior year and is having a career-year in the Green in White, as she has set career highs on the vault (9.900), floor (9.950) and in the all-around competition (39.375). The standout has taken home five floor titles – the first five of her career – and is the seventh best all-arounder in the Big Ten with an RQS of 39.315. On top of her five all-around and three floor titles, Deans has also won the vault at five meets this season and ranks 12th in the Big Ten with an RQS of 9.810. Last weekend on Senior Day, Deans earned a 9.950 on the floor exercise, which ties the fifth best individual floor score in school history.
Michigan State owns an RQS of 48.795 on the uneven bars and have featured the top bars performer at seven of 10 meets this season. Lemke ranks 11th in the conference with an RQS of 9.845 and has tallied two event titles this season, while Westney owns four bars titles on the season with five for her career. Lagoski earned her first career bars title vs. Arkansas (2/25) with a career-best 9.875.
Stronger As The Season Goes
The Spartans have recorded their top three scores of the season in the last month and are getting stronger as the season goes on. MSU cracked into the 195’s for the first time this season with its season-high 195.625 vs. Michigan (2/11) and have scored over 195.000 in three of the last five meets.
This season’s continual improvement matches that of the 2016 Spartan squad that was also peaking at the end of the season. At last year’s Big Five Meet, MSU’s 196.300 team score was tied for sixth-best score in program history. Michigan State finished the 2016 regular season 10-10 overall and 4-5 in the conference to rank 28th in the final national poll, highlighted by a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships at the University of Georgia. MSU’s 195.350 team score at the NCAA Regional was its second-highest score ever at an NCAA Regional, just shy of 2015’s regional score of 195.375.
B1G Gymnasts to Watch
Senior Kira Frederick and junior Anna Gamelo were named the Spartans’ Gymnasts to Watch in the Big Ten, while the team was picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll.
At the end of last season, the program announced its leadership council for the upcoming year, consisting of seniors Kira Frederick, Elena Lagoski and Holly Ryan, along with junior Anna Gamelo, sophomore Jessica Ling, and incoming freshman Gabriella Douglas.
At the Big Ten Championships last season, Lagoski (floor) and sophomore Hailee Westney (bars) each earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Championship Team with top-three finishes.
Lagoski has been the Spartans’ anchor on floor throughout her career. She was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection and with her second-place finish, was named to the All-Championship team at the B1G Championships. With a floor RQS that ranked fourth regionally and 24th nationally, Lagoski owns five of the top 15 floor scores in Spartan history.
Sophomore Hailee Westney was a bars specialist who also contributed on beam last season. Her career-best 9.900 on bars at the Big Ten Championships earned her not only a third-place finish, but also a spot on the B1G All-Championship team.
Following the Spartans’ weekend in Champaign for the Big Five Meet, MSU will head to Piscataway, N.J. for the Big Ten Championships on March 18 on the campus of Rutgers.