February 1, 2007
Beyond The Beam
One month down and three to go! As we continue on our "journey" on the road to Salt Lake City, our team is gearing up for the State of Michigan Classic this Saturday. MSU hosts CMU, EMU, WMU and Michigan in the 16th-Annual Michigan Classic which will be held in Jenison Field House on Saturday at 7 p.m. Please bring all of your friends and their friend's to cheer on your Spartans.
First of all, we would like to thank all of those that attended our Breast Cancer Awareness Meet this past weekend. We had over 1,000 people in attendance and raised nearly $3,000 that evening. Our team will continue to raise funds for the American Cancer Society throughout the season and you can make a donation directly to the team's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" website. (You can find the link by clicking on the pink leotard picture on this website.)
Looking back at the competition… There are many lessons that can be learned throughout the season. Illness or injury may cause one teammate to step up for another. As coaches, we always look for the upperclassmen to step up and help guide the team in the right direction. With this team, everyone is holding each other accountable for stepping up. This week the team stuck together and stepped up as a group.
We started out very strong on vault as we scored our highest team total for the season. Rochelle Robinson, who was battling illness the entire week of the competition and was very sick during the meet, won the event with a career- and school-record score of 9.95. It appeared that being sick worked in her favor, at least we were hoping that would be the case. She was a real team player and held strong through three events, but then ran out of gas on the last event and the last pass on floor. We were very happy with what she was able to contribute and she was insistent that she was going to make her routines. She was very apologetic after falling on her last floor pass and was sad that she let her team down.
A lesson learned and a very valuable one. With freshmen you never know if they get the team concept. Many freshmen come from club gymnastics where they compete on an individual basis. Not only does Rochelle understand the team concept, but the rest of her six classmates understand and are embracing the team aspect as well, especially in competition
This was the deciding moment for me that this very strong and hungry freshmen class really has the heart, drive and desire to take this MSU team somewhere it has never been before. Now I am not saying that they don't have great leaders to follow with the seniors, juniors and sophomores, but the freshmen class makes up 50 percent of the competing line-up and could make up about 75 percent by the end of the season. It is nice to see them grow and develop the hunger to work together as one. One team, one goal, one journey…
A few other incredible things that transpired at our Breast Cancer Awareness Meet were: Senior, Kristen Coleman won the all around with a school record of 39.525. The previous school record was 39.45 held by Carolyn Hecht set back in 1996.
Coleman was also named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, the first such honor of her career.
Coleman also won the uneven bars with a personal best of 9.95. She was awarded with a perfect 10 from one judge. She currently ranks fourth in the country on that event.
Now, we did finish second, for the third straight meet in a row, but the way we look at it, is that if we finish second the entire season, we will be going to Salt Lake City. The top two teams from the NCAA Regionals qualify to the National Championships. So, for now, second isn't too bad at all.
We hope to see you this Saturday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House as MSU hosts the 16th-Annual State of Michigan Classic. It is also our Gymnastics Alumni Appreciation Night. Alumni will be returning to MSU to celebrate the success of the past and the future for MSU gymnastics. Hope to see you there.
Until next time, let the journey continue…