Smith Earns Perfect 10 as MSU Gymnastics defeat New Hampshire 197.725 – 195.725

Print More

Emily Martin

Gymnastics 3/1

In their first win back home since securing back-to-back regular season Big Ten championships, the No. 8 Michigan State women’s gymnastics team took a 197.725 – 195.725 victory over New Hampshire on Friday evening.   

Sophomore Nikki Smith received a perfect 10 on the vault to highlight their win, which was good for the fourth-highest score in program history and second-best of MSU’s season. 

“This is really, really going to help us because they’re still hungry,” Michigan State head coach Mike Rowe said. “They’re still not done. They still want to do more, but they’re having a blast doing it.” 

The eighth-ranked Spartans now move to 13-3 on the year, including a 4-0 record at home. This adds another 197+ score to their historic season, which will help their National Qualifying Score (NQS) standing ahead of the postseason.

The night started with an excellent performance on the vault by the Spartans, putting up a 49.475 score, good for the fourth-highest vault total in program history. What made the score so spectacular, however, was Smith’s perfect 10, her second career 10 on the vault and third overall.

“Nikki’s obviously a star and a stud at [landings],” Rowe said. “She’s done it like 2 or 3 times now.”

Vault wasn’t the only event Michigan State excelled at. It put up a 49.525 on the floor, tying its second-highest floor score of the season. Freshman MaKayla Tucker scored a career-high 9.925, with two other Spartans scoring above 9.900 as well: Senior Delanie Harkness and junior Skyla Schulte both receiving a 9.925.

The Spartans were able to place on top of the podium for every event, including the all-around category. Sophomore Sage Kellerman led the uneven bars with a 9.925. Seniors Baleigh Garcia and Giana Kalefe both led the beam event with a pair of 9.900’s. Juniors Skyla Schulte and Gabi Stephen led the all-around category, with Schulte putting up 39.525, and Stephen scoring 39.325.

As the tournament draws closer and closer, the Spartans are a lock to earn a spot in the NCAA Regionals, but there is still room for improvement to compete with the best of the best. 

“Part of what we have been trying to do is leaving this meet behind us and aiming for the next one and what we are going to do,” Rowe said.

Landings are one spot that sticks out to Rowe.

“We can see a leg low or a foot slide,” Rowe said. “It’s just working on the consistency of not dragging the foot or getting that leg up and things like that.”

The Spartans look to continue their dominant regular season in their upcoming MSU Quad Meet on March 9. They will host Greenville, Central Michigan, and Fisk at Jenison Fieldhouse at 2 p.m.

Comments are closed.