The Michigan State Spartans gymnastics team ended its season on a high note on Saturday, notching a program record score in the NCAA Regional Finals. The Spartans broke the program scoring record for the third time this season, coming in at 197.650. The Spartans would end up finishing third behind Utah (198.200) and Alabama (198.175), and just ahead of Stanford (197.250).
Incredible fight in this team all season long. Left it all on the floor tonight. pic.twitter.com/7fasYK5FYE— MSU Gymnastics (@MSU_Gymnastics) April 3, 2022
Saturday marked the end of a historic season for Michigan State, with the Spartans making the postseason for the first time since 2016 and having the program’s best team finish to a season since 1998.
The Spartans opened the meet with a 49.275 score on the bars, improving on the team’s previous score of 49.225. Sophomore Delanie Harkness and junior Tori Loomis led the way for Michigan State, each scoring a 9.875.
The beam came next for Michigan State, with the team scoring a 49.425. Sophomore Baleigh Garcia scored a career-high 9.950 to lead the Spartans in the event.
Baleigh Garcia with the career-high 9.950!! Go Green! pic.twitter.com/hK3UxP9rTF— MSU Gymnastics (@MSU_Gymnastics) April 3, 2022
The Spartans then moved to the team’s best event of the night, the floor. Freshman Skyla Schulte — who was previously named Big Ten Freshman of the Year — tied her career-high with a 9.950 to lead the Spartans to a total score of 49.550.
The team finished on the vault, setting a program record score of 49.400 for the event. Garcia, Schulte and freshman Gabi Stephen led the Spartans, with each scoring a 9.900 for the event.
Michigan State had the lead momentarily following the squad’s performance on the vault, but the Utah Utes and the Alabama Crimson Tide overtook the Spartans in the final events, with Utah notching back-to-back 10.0 scores on the beam to secure the team victory.
Schulte was the all-around winner for the meet, scoring a 39.600 to earn the victory. She scored a 9.825 on the bars, 9.925 on the beam, 9.950 on the floor and finished with a 9.900 on the vault. Schulte’s career high on the floor earned her a share of the floor title as well, finishing tied for the event with Kyla Brant from Stanford, Sydney Soloski and Grace McCallum from Utah and Lexi Graber and Emily Gaskins from Alabama.
Schulte actually qualified for the NCAA National Championships, which begin on April 14 in Fort Worth, Texas, as an individual competitor on beam. She is the first Spartan to do so since 2016, and just the 12th Spartan individual to make it to the NCAAs Championships in program history.
We have a National Qualifier!!— MSU Gymnastics (@MSU_Gymnastics) April 4, 2022
Schulte will represent @MSU_Gymnastics at the National Championships on April 14! She's the first Spartan to qualify since 2016 and the 12th in school history
The historic season unfortunately has come to an end for the Spartans, but the record-breaking performance combined with the young talent on the team should serve as encouragement heading into next season.