March 15, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State gymnastics team will cap its regular-season schedule when it travels to Michigan on Friday (March 16). Competition between the intra-state rivals begins at 7 p.m. (ET) and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
With high team scores over the weekend, MSU moved up the national rankings substantially in every category. Currently ranked 28th in the nation, Michigan State has a season-high overall RQS of 194.840. The Spartans are also in 28th place on the vault and uneven bars with an RQS of 48.825 and 48.805, respectively. Michigan State is posting a 48.615 RQS on the balance beam, which is good enough for 29th in the country, and a 48.635 score in the floor exercise.
Individually, redshirt sophomore Taira Neal has the highest RQS on the team with a 9.885 on the vault. Neal ranks 28th nationally, seventh regionally and is tied with two others for sixth in the Big Ten. On the uneven bars, senior Jackie Berg owns a team-high 9.845 RQS, which is tied for sixth in the conference and is 10th in the region. Sophomores Sarena Bumbarger and Alex Pace are leading MSU on the balance beam with identical regional qualifying scores of 9.760. The pair is tied for 25th in the conference and in the region on the beam. With an RQS of 9.785, sophomore Dani Levy is the top Spartan in the floor routine and is posting a 38.615 RQS in the all-around.
MSU traveled to Anchorage, Alaska last week to take part in a two-meet series against the University of Alaska-Anchorage. The Spartans tabbed team scores of 194.175 on Friday (March 9) and 195.425 on Sunday (March 11) while 12 gymnasts beat or tied their personal-best scores throughout the weekend. In the first meet, Neal scored a career-high 9.925 on the vault for the third time this season and Pace notched a personal-best of 9.900 on the balance beam.
On Sunday, MSU had season-best performances on the vault and balance beam with team scores of 49.175 and 49.225, respectively. On the vault, freshman Ashley Noll posted a new career-high with a 9.875 mark and senior Daneen Haba scored a personal-best 9.825 in the event. Berg and fellow senior Alyssa Brennan tied their career-highs in the floor routine with scores of 9.850 and 9.800.
The Wolverines enter competition with a 21st-place 195.475 overall RQS. Michigan's highest RQS is in the vault with a 49.150 and have regional qualifying scores of 48.990 on the bars, 48.635 on the beam and a 48.960 in the floor exercise. Joanna Sampson and Sachi Suigyama are even on the vault with scores of 9.885 each and are tied with Neal for sixth in the Big Ten. Sampson is also the best Wolverine in the floor exercise with a 9.850 RQS and is tied for 10th in the league. On the uneven bars, Brittnee Martinez leads the team with a 9.845 RQS and is tied with Berg for sixth in the conference. Katie Zurales owns a team-high 9.850 RQS on the balance beam and is the sixth-best gymnast in the Big Ten. Three Wolverines compete in the all-around, but Sampson is the top gymnast with a 39.165 RQS.
Next week, the Spartans will head to Iowa City, Iowa to compete in the Big Ten Championships. Action for MSU is slated to begin at 3 p.m. (ET) on Saturday (March 24) and will be aired on the Big Ten Network.