Burt Qualifies For Nationals To Spark Spartan Gymnastics At Regionals Saturday

MSU senior advances to national meet in the all-around.

ATHENS, Ga. — Senior Lisa Burt qualified for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships to highlight Michigan State’s sixth-place finish at the NCAA Athens Regional meet Saturday afternoon in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum.

Burt tied for fourth in the all-around with a 39.275, and qualified for the NCAA National Championships meet because of being the top individual in the all-around not on a qualifying team. Burt becomes the first Spartan to advance to the national meet since current MSU assistant coach Nicole Curler in 2010 and the 11th MSU gymnastics individual to qualify for the NCAA meet.

“I am extremely proud of this team and the things we have accomplished this year. The senior class has done a fabulous job to change the culture of this program, and I appreciate their efforts. I am so excited for Lisa Burt to qualify on as an All-Arounder to the national championship, a well-deserved honor,” MSU head coach Kathie Klages said.

The Spartans’ 195.350 final team score, good for sixth place, was accumulated from a 48.575 on vault, a 48.950 on bars, a 48.675 on beam and a 49.150 on floor. MSU’s 195.350 was its second-highest score ever at an NCAA Regional, just shy of last season’s 195.375, as the Spartans were making their second NCAA Regional appearance in a row and 23rd in program history, including their 17th appearance in 26 seasons under Klages.

LSU, the No. 3 national seed, won the team title of the Athens Regional with a 197.300, followed by host and No. 10 seed  Georgia with a 196.850, out-distancing No. 13 seed Oregon State in third with a 196.000, and LSU and Georgia qualified to nationals as teams. Arizona was fourth with a 195.900 and George Washington was fifth with a 195.550.

Junior Elana Lagoski was MSU’s top placer, finishing third on floor with a 9.925 while fellow senior Burt was the top Spartan on bars and vault, finishing tied for fourth on bars with a 9.875. Burt was part of a seven-way logjam tie for 24th on vault, including with sophomore teammate Anna Gamelo with 9.750. Sophomore Hailee Westney was MSU’s top performer on beam, posting a 9.850 to tie for eighth.

The Spartans had the traditional Olympic rotation with two byes, starting off on vault with senior Ashley Noll notching a 9.675, with a small hop on her landing. Fellow senior, Brittany Holmes followed with a 9.700 getting great height and distance but just having a small step. That preceded a 9.750 by junior Lisa Burt, then graduate student Haley Sedgewick scored a 9.600 before junior Elena Lagoski rounded out the lineup with a 9.700. That left MSU with a 48.575 after the first rotation heading into a bye for the second rotation.

After the bye, Michigan State was on bars for the third rotation, and Holmes led off with a 9.625, followed by Lagoski logging a 9.775, her third-straight meet with a 9.775 or better. Gamelo then posted a 9.675 before Westney posted a 9.800, her fifth meet in a row with 9.800 or higher and seventh of the season. Freshman Jessica Ling then logged a 9.825 in her NCAA Regional debut and posting her sixth score of 9.800 or higher. Burt then anchored the Spartan bars lineup with a 9.875 for her ninth-straight meet with a 9.800 or better, which she has done in 12 of the 13 meets this season. MSU completed bars with a 48.950, bettering the Spartans’ season average of 48.775 and regional qualifying score (RQS) of 48.940, and tying for the fourth-best bars score of the season.

After two completed events in three rotations, Michigan State had a 97.525, sitting in sixth.

MSU moved to beam for the fourth rotation, where just like bars, Holmes led off, and posted a 9.675, before Noll notched an 8.500 and then sophomore Victoria Huehn posted a 9.800, tying her season-best score for the second time in her last three outings. Westney followed with a 9.850, her second-highest score of the season. Junior Kira Frederick followed with a 9.550, before Burt rounded out the rotation with a 9.800, her sixth 9.800 or higher score. The MSU bars lineup logged a 48.675, giving the Spartans a three-event total of 146.200.

Michigan State had its second bye for the fifth rotation before finishing the meet on floor. For the third event in a row, Holmes was in the leadoff spot and tallied a 9.675. Noll was next and also notched a 9.675, before freshman Drew Hendershot had a dazzling debut in an NCAA Regional with a 9.850, her ninth event in a row with a 9.800 or better and 10th in 13 outings. Burt and Frederick then matched Hendershot’s 9.850, as Burt’s was just shy of her season-high of 9.875 and sixth-straight 9.800 or better score and ninth of the season, while Frederick’s was her eighth 9.800 or higher in a row and ninth in 10 outings. Lagoski then broke the 9.850 streak with a 9.925, just shy of her season-high of 9.950 and her second-straight meet with a 9.900 or higher and sixth of the season. It was also MSU’s only score of 9.900 or better for the meet. That gave the Spartans a 49.150 on floor, their 10th score of 49.000 or better on floor this season in 13 meets.

Burt finished tied for fourth in the all-around with a 39.275, her third-best all-around score of the season. Holmes posted a 38.675 in the all-around to end the meet in 14th.

The 2016 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships will be in Fort Worth, Texas, April 15-16, hosted by Texas Woman’s University and the Knight Eady Sports Group.