March 19, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State redshirt sophomore gymnast Taira Neal earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors as announced by the conference office today (March 19). This marks the first Big Ten award for the Normal, Ill. native.
Neal is posting a 9.900 RQS on the vault and has led the Spartans in the event all year. In 14 meets this season, the redshirt sophomore has won the vault nine times and finished in the top three twice more. The only competition in which Neal did not place was against then-ranked No. 9 Penn State and No. 5 Alabama. Neal scored a career-high 9.925 on the vault at Iowa (Jan. 13) and has since tied that score three other times this year.
Neal is tied for fifth in the MSU recordbooks for highest individual vault score and currently ranks 20th in the nation, fifth in the Central Region and is tied for fifth in the Big Ten on the vault.
Neal has also competed on the balance beam and uneven bars for Michigan State this year, notching career and season-high scores of 9.850 and 9.775, respectively.
On Saturday (March 24), the Spartans will participate in the 2012 Big Ten Championships in Iowa City, Iowa at 2:05 p.m. ET. The competition will be held in the University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.