March 19, 2009
Big Ten Championship Notes
Spartan Sports Podcasts
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 2009 Michigan State gymnastics team travels to Champaign, Ill., for the Big Ten Championships on Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m., with the meet airing live on the Big Ten Network.
LAST TIME OUT
The Michigan State gymnastics team concluded the regular season with a 195.675-195.350 win over New Hampshire. The Spartans took top honors in four of the five events, and registered a season-high team score.
Senior Katlyn Roggensack led MSU on vault, tying her career-high with a 9.925 and took first place in the event for the third time in her career. Junior Rochelle Robinson recorded a 9.825, sophomore Nicole Argiros posted a 9.825 and junior Emily Lopatofsky notched a 9.800 on vault, propelling the team to a season-high 49.150. MSU tallied a 48.975 on bars, with Robinson taking first for the fifth time this season with a 9.875. Junior Nicole Curler placed second overall with a 9.850, while freshman Jackie Berg and senior Dani Fanning both recorded a 9.775.
The Spartans took first and second on beam, finishing with a team score of 48.400. Sophomore Kelsey Morley recorded her ninth career beam title with a 9.950, while Curler placed second with a 9.900. Sophomore Kathryn Mahoney led MSU on floor exercise for the second-straight meet, tying for second overall with a 9.875. Lopatofsky notched a 9.850 and Berg set a career-high with a 9.825. Argiros and Curler rounded out the scores, both posting a 9.800 in the event.
Curler took top honors in the all-around, finishing with a season-high 39.275, while Roggensack placed second with a 38.925.
Freshman Jackie Berg made her competitive debut in the season opener against Illinois, Michigan and Western Michigan. Berg competed on bars for the Spartans, recording a team-high 9.750. She saw action on all events this season and competed in the all-around for the first time on March 8 against California and Ball State, finishing third overall. Classmate Selina Rodriguez has competed exhibition on uneven bars twice this season, most recently posting a 9.675 at Penn State.
2008 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Last season, MSU finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships with a team score of 195.050. Kelsey Morley had an impressive Big Ten Championship debut, tying for second on the beam with a 9.875. Meanwhile, Rochelle Robinson, a selection to the All-Big Ten second team, finished in a tie for fourth on both the vault and floor, and tied for sixth on the bars.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY
The Spartans have competed at the Big Ten Championships dating back to 1982. MSU has yet to win the title but has captured second place on eight occasions. Two gymnasts have earned Gymnast of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while head coach Kathie Klages was named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times. Nine gymnasts have been named Big Ten Champions, earning 14 titles among them.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
The Spartans have competed against five Big Ten teams, including facing Illinois three times this season. Minnesota is the only Big Ten team MSU has not seen this season.
AROUND WE GO
Five gymnasts have competed in the all-around this season, including three Spartans participating in the event for the first time in their careers. Junior Emily Lopatofsky, sophomore Kelsey Morley and freshman Jackie Berg competed for the first time, while senior Katlyn Roggensack and junior Nicole Curler continued to participate in the all-around.
1, 2, 3...
Junior Nicole Curler leads the team with 57 career top-three finishes and has racked up 15 this season. Classmate Rochelle Robinson is second on the team with 54 career top-three finishes, including a team-high 15 first-place finishes on vault. Robinson also boasts a team-high 10 first place finishes on bars, with five coming this year, while Curler is tied for the team lead with nine top honors on beam.
ON A ROLL
MSU ended the regular season strong, recording three-straight wins with victories over Ball State, California and New Hampshire. In the two meets, the Spartans took first place in nine of the possible 10 events.
The Spartans faced three opponents that were ranked in the top 12 when MSU competed against them. Michigan was ranked eighth in the season-opening meet, while Florida was ninth and Auburn ranked eighth nationally.
Sophomore Kathryn Mahoney has filled a crucial role for the Spartans in the regular lineup, having competed on balance beam all 11 meets and on floor exercise the final eight meets. She posted a season-high on beam with a 9.775 and set a career-high on floor with a 9.925 in a tri-meet with California and Ball State. Mahoney's 9.925 on floor was a team-best this season and was a meet-high, earning her first place in the event for the first time in her career.
After a rocky start on balance beam this season, the Spartans have improved their score throughout the season. MSU recorded a season-best 48.975 on the apparatus against Auburn on March 6.
CRACKING THE VAULT
The Spartans have been strongest on vault so far this season, posting a season-high 49.150 against New Hampshire to conclude the regular season. MSU holds a 48.784 average this season and recorded a a season average on 48.854 in 2008.
RAISING THE BAR
Junior Rochelle Robinson has been the Spartans top performer on uneven bars this season and currently is tied for 19th nationally. She competed in the event all 11 meets this season, posting a 9.827 average. Robinson recorded a 9.800 or better on bars in eight of the meets and registered a new career-high, a 9.900, on two occasions. She holds the top four scores on bars among the team and finished the season with six first place finishes.
Sophomore Kelsey Morley walked onto the MSU gymnastics team last summer and has been a pleasant surprise to head coach Kathie Klages and her staff. The Elkhart, Ind. native has won the beam on six occasions and has 18 top-three individual finishes, nine of which are on the beam. This season, Morley set a new program record on beam with a 9.975 against Florida and posted a 9.900 or better on five occasions. Morley currently ranks first in the Central region and Big Ten, and is tied for fourth nationally.
She tied for second in her Big Ten Championship debut on beam with a 9.875 and was a finalist for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. In her final performance, she ended her freshman season on a high note, tying for second on beam at the NCAA West Regional.
Nine of the 11 Spartans who have appeared in the competitive lineup this season have placed among the top-three in at least one event. MSU has totaled 62 top-three individual finishes so far, with 30 coming from the junior class.
Junior Nicole Curler leads the way with 15 podium finishes, followed by senior Katlyn Roggensack (11), junior Rochelle Robinson (10) and sophomore Kelsey Morley (9).
The Spartans have also seen six student-athlete win or share an individual title in 2009. MSU has 22 individual first place finishes, led by six from both Robinson and Morley. Again, the junior class accounts for 11 of the 22 wins.