In the grand scheme of the 2010 season, the win was meaningless. There was nothing tangible on the line, no titles to be won. The two teams will even meet again in less than three weeks.
But don't tell the Penn State women's gymnastics seniors that Sunday's first-place finish was trivial. There may not have been a Big Ten championship on the line -- but pride was.
Seniors Casey Rohrbaugh and Brandi Personett wanted nothing more than to bookend their careers with wins against conference rival Michigan.
They did just that, helping lead the No. 17 Nittany Lions to a first-place finish at Sunday's quad-meet against No. 12 Michigan, Maryland and Bridgeport with a season-high score of 196.725. The Wolverines posted a 196.575, good for second.
"It's always a huge thing for us to beat Michigan, because it's assumed that they're better than us," said Personett, who finished second in the all-around with a 39.575.
Through two events, the Lions were just 0.125 behind the Wolverines but were set to perform on beam, a trouble spot all season. They were coming off a 48.875 in the event last week. It appeared as if the Lions' losing streak to Michigan would grow to six meets, including the postseason.
This wasn't the same Lions team that showed up last week, though. Rohrbaugh led off the balance beam with a 9.850, setting the table for the rest of the lineup. The Lions didn't count a score below 9.825, and freshman Sharaya Musser won the event with a 9.925. Personett, who didn't perform anchor for the first time this season, added a 9.900.
In all, each of the six gymnasts hit their routine, resulting in a 49.350, by far Penn State's best score on beam this season.
"That was the meet right there," Penn State coach Steve Shephard said. "We needed that.
"Michigan had a little a trouble on bars [48.750]. I was kind of watching out of the corner of my eye, and I knew that we needed to do really good on beam, and we did."
With the win, the Lions ended the Wolverines' three-year, 32-meet winning streak against Big Ten teams. Ironically, that streak began following a loss to the Lions in 2007, the senior class' freshman season.
Though the Lions didn't go home with any trophies or banners, the win over the Wolverines will remain in the memories of the seniors for years to come.
"It doesn't really matter about the scores or the average," Rohrbaugh said. "It's something for the seniors leaving this team. It's not like we had to beat them to make it anywhere. It was just for pride."