CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Spartans used their highest balance beam and floor exercise scores of the season to help lead the Michigan State gymnastics team to its first road win of 2014 on Friday as MSU outscored Southeast Missouri 194.900-193.625 at Houck House Field. It marks the second-highest score for Michigan State this season. Junior Alina Cartwright led the Spartans with two individual event wins on both the vault and balance beam as well as the all-around title.
“It was great to start out on bars and get our season-high,” said head coach Kathie Kalges. “We then went to vault and started out with a fall, had another fall in the rotation and were forced to count one in that event. We were behind after two events, which was frustrating. Then we came back on floor and did a great job. We went to beam and rocked out seven routines in-a-row and got the win.
“Again, we had to fight back through some errors so that is something that I’m really proud of – that they were able to put the errors behind them and pull through and perform as well as they did on beam. In the past, we’ve always done better on the second day of a two-day weekend. So were just looking forward to improving upon our score.”
MSU started off the meet with a bang as the Spartans tallied their highest score of the season of 49.025 to top the Pioneers’ score of 48.800. Senior Dani Levy and sophomore Lisa Burt tied for first place in event as each gymnast earned a score of 9.825. Burt’s score tied her season-high on the event and first event win on bars this season. It marked Levy’s second first-place honors on the event this season, fourth of her career. Recording a 9.800 to tie for a fourth-place finish, Cartwright posted her season-high on the event while junior Ashley Noll earned her career-high score.
The only event in which the Pioneers outscored the Spartans, Southeast scored a 48.775 on the vault while MSU was forced to count a fall to total a score of 48.025. Leading the Spartans, Cartwright posted a first-place winning score of 9.875. It marks her fourth win in the event this year, eighth of her career. She was followed by Levy with a score of 9.750 to place fifth, followed by Burt in seventh with a 9.700.
The Spartans bounced back on the floor exercise, posting a season-high score of 49.050 to take the event win over Southeast Missouri’s score of 48.525. Posting her third 9.900 of her freshman campaign, Elena Lagoski earned her second win in the event this season. Levy finished second overall as she tied her career-high score of 9.875, while Cartwright posted a score of 9.800 to place fourth.
Capping off the meet on the balance beam, Michigan State hit six-out-of-six routines to win their third event with a score of 48.800, while the Pioneers earned a 47.525. Winning her second event of the night, Cartwright posted a score of 9.800 to place fourth. Senior Alex Pace tied for second place overall with her score of 9.775, followed by Noll and freshman Holly Ryan who each received a score of 9.750 to tie for fourth.
Michigan State also took home first and second-place in the all-around competition led by Cartwright earning her third all-around crown this season, fourth of her career, with a score of 39.275. Burt tallied a 38.900 to finish in second place.
“We’ve worked so hard in the gym to correct the little things, so it’s just great to see the team doing that on the competition floor and being rewarded for it,” said Klages. “It should be a huge confidence builder for them to know that they can perform well on the road. We’re headed in the right direction, just when we need to be.”
The Spartans will be back in action on Sunday, March 9 as MSU is set to compete in a quad-meet at Texas Women’s University with Oklahoma and Minnesota. First rotation is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.