No. 14 Spartans Return South for Friday Night Meet with No. 12 Auburn
March 13, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - A pair of top-15 gymnastics programs square-off on Friday night, as the No. 14 Michigan State gymnastics team travels to No. 12 Auburn, for its penultimate regular season meet of the season. The Spartans and Tigers are set to begin at 8 p.m. ET in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
The Spartans remained at No. 14 in the latest GymInfo national ranking with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 195.560 and a team average of 194.900. The numbers also rank MSU fourth in the Central region (trailing No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Alabama and No. 12 Auburn) and second in the Big Ten Conference, behind only No. 4 Michigan.
Michigan State is in the top 25 nationally in each event. The Spartans are 12th on the beam with a 49.00 RQS and have their highest RQS on the vault with a 49.065 to stand in 14th. They are also 18th on the bars with a 48.820 and currently are 23rd on the floor at 48.865. Among Big Ten foes, the Spartans are second on the vault, beam and bars, while in the region, they are third on vault and fourth on both the bars and beam. MSU is fifth in the Big Ten and sixth in the Central on the floor.
The 2008 Spartans have accomplished a feat that has never been done in the program's history - post a score of 196 or better in three-straight meets. The current streak has been capped by a season-high 196.350, which also tied for sixth best mark ever, on Sunday against New Hampshire. MSU is one of six schools in the nation to have scored 196 or better in each of its last three meets, joining No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 LSU.
Each one of the 13 Spartans who have appeared in the competitive lineup this season have placed among the top-three in at least one event. MSU has totaled 85 top-three individual finishes so far, with 55 coming from the talented sophomore class. Sophomore Nicole Curler leads the way with 23 podium finishes, followed by sophomore Rochelle Robinson (14) and junior Katlyn Roggensack (11).
The Spartans have also seen seven student-athletes win or share an individual title in 2008. MSU has 30 individual finish place finishes, led by nine from Curler and eight from Robinson. Again, the sophomore class accounts for 22 of the 30 wins.
Senior Rhiannon Banda-Scott earned the second perfect 10 in the history of the MSU gymnastics program on Sunday afternoon on the vault. It is only the fifth perfect 10 in the country this season on the vault and the seventh overall. Banda-Scott, who had received a 10 from one judge during her vault performance at LSU, closed the deal against New Hampshire for her fourth career individual vault title (third of the season). Previously, Robinson, as a freshman last season, completed the first perfect 10 by a Spartan, ironically also against UNH, at the Fox Run Invitational in Durham.
Banda-Scott was named Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week on Tuesday, after her perfect 10 on Sunday. It is Banda-Scott's first career weekly honor.
Auburn leads the all-time series 8-5, having won the last six meetings. MSU won the first four meetings, beginning at the 1987 NCAA Central Regionals. The Spartans also finished ahead of the Tigers at the 1996 NCAA Central Regional. The two schools last met in a quad-meet at West Virginia on March 6, 2005. The only meet between the two programs came on March 1, 1997.
Auburn (3-6) is 12th in the country with a 195.905 RQS. The Tigers are right above the Spartans in the regional rankings, holding onto third. They are coming off a 196.750-195.900 road loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Senior Julie Dwyer is second nationally on the beam with a 9.900 RQS, helping Auburn to a fourth-place ranking nationally on the apparatus with a 49.195 RQS. Junior Lindsey Puckett is ninth in the nation in the all-around at 39.360 and is 13th on the vault with a 9.885 RQS.
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