EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State gymnastics was edged by Big Ten rival Illinois, 196.300-195.575, Friday on Senior Night, despite collecting a season-high score and posting the 12th-best floor mark in school history as part of two total event season-best scores. With the win, Illinois retained the “Victory Plank,” the commemorative traveling trophy awarded to the annual winner between the Spartans and Illini.
“I am really happy because our team did well and we got our season-high score,” senior Lisa Burt said. “I’m just really excited to move forward this season. It’s clearly not our highest score we can get because we had to count a couple of falls, so we can definitely improve. I’m excited to see how the season ends.”
MSU has improved on its season-high score in each of the last two meets.
The Spartans started on vault, where senior Brittany Holmes led the team with a career-high 9.775 to tie for third, beating her previous top score of 9.750 set at Michigan last weekend. This marked her first top three finish on bars of her career. Graduate student Haley Sedgewick and senior Lisa Burt both notched a 9.750 on the event, with Sedgewick logging a season-best to pace the Spartans to a 48.725.
Garnering a season-high team score on uneven bars with a 49.225, the Spartans swept the top five spots in the event. Freshman Jessica Ling and junior Elena Lagoski both achieved career-highs, earning a 9.875 to tie for first and a 9.850 to place second, respectively. Ling shared the crown with Burt to earn her first-career individual even title. Burt’s strong 9.875 matched her season-high, while sophomore Hailee Westney matched her career-high 9.825, previously set at Michigan last Sunday. Junior Kira Frederick solidified the fifth spot with a 9.800 to complete the one through five sweep.
Despite beam being a tough event for MSU on the night, junior Holly Ryan notched a career-high 9.875 to share the second-place spot with teammate Burt, who registered a season-best score. Frederick followed close behind with a season-high 9.725. Sedgwick rounded out the lineup in making her season-debut on beam and posted an exhibition score of 9.625, which would have been a career-high.
MSU continued to impress on floor, posting a season-high 49.325 team score, which ties for 12th in the Spartan Record Book, last earned against Eastern Michigan, Southeast Missouri State and Ohio State on March 13, 2004. MSU posted three 9.900s, where freshman Drew Hendershot, Lagoski and Frederick all earned highest honors. Hendershot’s score was a career-high, while Frederick and Holmes both tied their career-highs.
The Spartans will travel to Normal, Ill. on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 to take on Illinois State, Wisconsin Stout and Western Michigan in their second quad meet of the season. The meet will take place in Horton Field House at 3 p.m.