Potential Lineups: Michigan State

By Caroline Medley


Last, but certainly not least, we’ll check out the Michigan State Spartans! Having lost a crucial class of seniors, including nationals qualifier Lisa Burt, as well as Brittany Holmes, Ashley Noll and Haley Sedgewick, the team will have some rebuilding to do. But with fifth-year senior Nicola Deans returning and the addition of stellar freshmen Ella Douglas and Ally Hoyer, MSU may be able to improve on its 36th place finish from last season.

On vault, all four of the graduating seniors will be missed, but especially Sedgewick. Her Yurchenko full-on back pike was the team’s only 10.0 vault last season, so with only 9.95 vaults returning to their arsenal, the Spartans are going to have to step it up. Barring any upgrades, all returning vaults should be Yurchenko fulls. MSU should see Deans, Anna Gamelo, Drew Hendershot, Elena Lagoski and Roya Shirley contending for lineup spots as veterans. Both Douglas and Hoyer also bring useable fulls to the table, and so does Brittni Chappell, a now-sophomore who didn’t compete last year. In her J.O. days, her full was significantly cleaner than many of MSU’s returning vets. If she’s up to it, she could put up a fight for a lineup spot.

Bars will see the loss of seniors Burt and Holmes, but MSU could gain some valuable ground if it utilizes some new players in addition to its strong veterans. Bars was a strength for the Spartans last
season, with veterans Deans, Lagoski, Kira Frederick, Jessica Ling and Hailee Westney all reaching the 9.85 mark, along with Gamelo and Shirley backing them up for depth when necessary. Douglas could also potentially contribute if she can clean up her form on her pirouettes, but the real ace up Michigan State’s sleeve could be Lindsey Lemke. A transfer last year from North Carolina, Lemke contributed to the Tar Heels bars lineup in a major way, scoring a 9.875 at her best in 2015. However, she didn’t compete at all last season for MSU due to a shoulder injury. Judging by her training videos, though, she looks to be back to full strength and ready to make a play for some lineup spots this season. She could definitely make a difference to the Spartans on bars.

​All four seniors will again leave holes behind on beam, especially Burt. She contributed to the

event in every meet and only fell once during the entire season. Veterans Deans, Frederick, Lagoski, Westney, Victoria Huehn and Holly Ryan should return from the lineup, and Shirley had an excellent routine when she exhibitioned a couple of times as well. Both freshmen could also contribute, as both
have solid and unique routines they’ve competed in the past. Hoyer has a skill no one else is competing right now — a side aerial to two feet. She also has some awesome flexibility and strength holds in her choreography and a difficult gainer double full dismount. Douglas, on the other hand, is a turner. A former Canadian elite, she took silver at the Gymnix Challenge on beam in 2015 with a routine opening with a
double turn to opposite single turn combination. She also performs a triple turn and an illusion turn, though it might be unlikely she’ll perform those in college competition. She also competes an unusual series, a side aerial to layout-stepout. She and Hoyer both could be major threats on beam for the Spartans.

On floor, all four seniors leave big shoes to fill, all breaking the 9.8 mark last season. In difficulty, Noll will leave the biggest gap, having competed a triple twist. However, the Spartans will retain two of their E passes in Frederick’s front double twist and Lagoski’s double arabian, so they should be okay on difficulty. Consistency is going to be key though, as most of the remaining veterans (Deans, Gamelo and Ryan) typically scored in the 9.7 range. Hendershot, though, would make a great lead-off performer, as her consistency last season was excellent, and her career high is a 9.9. Hoyer and Douglas could potentially contribute as well, though Douglas will need some alterations to her tumbling passes to fulfill NCAA requirements.

In the all-around, Burt and Holmes will be missed, but there are still some great candidates. Lagoski was an excellent all arounder for the Spartans last season, and in her final year, Deans may make a bid to compete all four in one week again — she didn’t last season but in 2015 had moderate success in AA. Hoyer or Douglas could also sneak in, but both will need more work on bars to beat out any of the veterans for a lineup spot. Frederick could also make a run for it, but she would need to step it up on vault, as she has not competed it in her college career. In any of these cases, MSU will likely have a strong contender to qualify individually to NCAA Championships if they do not qualify as a team.

That wraps it up for the Big 10, the last of our major conferences in these series! If there’s a team you’d like to see analyzed, leave us a comment or shoot us a Tweet — we’ll be starting individually requested teams as soon as next week. If you’d like more on potential lineups right now, check out our page here, our previous conference series here, or any posts in the Big 10 series:

Illinois | Iowa | Maryland | Michigan | Minnesota | Nebraska | Ohio State | Penn State | Rutgers

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