Through its dominance on uneven bars and floor exercises, the Penn State women’s gymnastics team showed that its midseason momentum was still on the rise.
The Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State 196.700-196.000 Saturday night in Rec Hall.
Penn State matched its season high score from last week’s loss at Michigan, breaking the 196 barrier for the second straight week. The team also set its season record on uneven bars with a score of 49.350 and on floor with a score of 49.275.
“There was a lot of excitement,” senior Sharaya Musser said. “It’s always a lot of fun being home for a competition. We were just trying to stay focused and do as well as we did last week in Michigan, which we did and that was awesome.”
Musser broke her season record on all-around with a score of 39.575. She said she “focused much time this week on bars during practice.”
The team’s focus on uneven bars this week paid off as two Nittany Lion gymnasts scored higher than 9.900. Musser scored a 9.925 on uneven bars, while senior Madison Merriam scored a 9.950.
Junior Kassidy Stauder made her season debut in all-around at the meet, scoring a total of 39.075.
“I was really excited to get into all-around matches since I did some last year,” Stauder said. “I’ve been working really hard to get back to that point.”
While the team was ultimately successful, coach Jeff Thompson said he was concerned that the team didn’t look ready in warm-ups. Before the meet, he gave the team a lecture in the locker room.
“I didn’t feel like there was a lot of positive energy on the team,” Thompson said. “I told them that if Michigan State puts it all together, they could beat you. I felt like they were taking Michigan State for granted.”
Tying their season high score, the Nittany Lions showed that they were motivated during the meet.
“The team really came together,” Stauder said. “We really were fighters like we are every week.”
Even though the team won Saturday, Thompson said he is going continue to push them.
The Lions will be at Illinois on March 2.
“We have a lot of room for growth,” Thompson said. “We could’ve done a much better job tonight and that’s the exciting part. We can be much better.”