The State News, April 2, 2024

Page 1


A rainbow of colors blur and fingers fly as competitors race to solve the mystical puzzle of the Rubik’s Cube.

Forty-three quintillion combinations make up the intricacies of a Rubik’s Cube. That’s 43 followed by 18 zeros, or, in other words, a lot.

One MSU student has mastered it.

Experience architecture senior Owen Widdis has been competing in cubing events since he was in seventh grade, after being mesmerized by YouTubers’ abilities to solve quickly.

“I would binge videos of other cubers that were better than I was and would be marveled with how fast they were,” he said.

Since then, he’s memorized “around 300” algorithms to solve the cube. That’s not quite 43 quintillion, but it was enough to secure him a national title last summer.

At the Cubing USA Nationals, where 1,028 people of all ages competed, Widdis described the event as a mixture of “excitement and a high-pressure environment.”

In preparation, Widdis spent hours twisting and turning, but most of his time was focused on studying the cube.

a mutual friend. They both believe they are they only two competitive cubers on campus.

Moy specializes in speed solving, ranging from the 3x3 to the 5x5 event. Unlike with speed solves, where you are using a memorized algorithms and pattern recognition to solve, FMC requires intuition, he said.

“Compared to Owen, I probably have no idea what I’m doing,” Moy said.

The intellectual approach to FMC becomes an exercise in trying to develop new algorithms. The solver almost has to personify the cube and explore the many facets and complexities of solving that could lead them in never ending, or 43 quintillion, directions.

Spin scooters keep ending up in the Red Cedar, but they’re staying on campus

While East Lansing’s city council voted to remove the scooters, that doesn’t apply to MSU’s campus.



Renaissance Sword Society revives martial arts on campus

An MSU student founded a group in hopes of creating new fencers to join the Historical European Martial Arts scene.


Widdis specializes in Fewest Moves Challenge (FMC), an event that involves solving the cube in as few moves as possible. In competitions, they take an average of three one-hour attempts. And in 2023, Widdis took the national title with an average score of 22 — the world record being a mere two moves away.

the Megaminx and a clocklike gadget with four gears and 18 dials called the clock.

Not only does FMC require the most time out of any event, but it involves a deeper understanding of the cube itself.

There are 17 events sanctioned by the World Cubing Association. Events range from a 2x2 cube all the way up to the 7x7 cube. They also included blindfolded events, a 12-sided cube called

“FMC is very different compared to most of the other events,” mechanical engineering preference freshman Andrew Moy said. “Especially being world class at it, I think that’s really impressive.”

Moy competed at nationals and met Widdis online through

Along with the 17 events, the cubing world offers an immense amount of cubing specific lingo.

“There’s so much jargon, and it can be overwhelming at times,” Widdis said. “Something I’ve noticed in cubing is they love their acronyms so much.”

Each algorithm has its own nickname. From T perm to half turn reduction, or HTR, to sledgehammer, the endless terms have a special place in cubers’ minds, ready to dish out in competition or among peers in conversation.



Section leaders say goodbye to the Izzone

Now that MSU basketball season has ended, the senior student section leaders reflect on the season and memories of being lifelong Spartan fans.


Rocky third period leads to MSU hockey loss to Michigan

In a fight to the finish, the Michigan State men’s hockey team made a historic season run that it had been hunting for the past two seasons under head coach Adam Nightingale.

Making it as far as they had, the Spartans’ season had to come to a stop somewhere, and that would be against Michigan State’s in-state rival, the University of Michigan, where the Spartans were taken down in Maryland Heights, Missouri with a final

score of 5-2.

The Spartans came out on a hot start as they led 1-0 after the first period, playing dominant defense and helping freshman netminder Trey Augustine keep pucks from getting behind him.

But, the third and final period was when MSU ran out of momentum and couldn’t come back, ultimately ending its season.

Michigan scored four goals in the third period to eventually take the victory, scoring more goals than there were from either team in the first two

periods combined.

“I’ll be the first one to tell you, I didn’t make a good enough play on either of those goals, so I take responsibility for those,” sophomore defenseman Matt Basgall said. “It was a tough read for me on the first one ... I’m cutting down the middle, I slowed my feet down and gave him the wide lane and he took it. It’s a team game, but I think I can do better on those plays.”


Michigan State’s Independent Voice
Colors blur as experience architecture senior Owen Widdis, 22, scrambles his Rubik’s cube in his home in East Lansing on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. Widdis reckons he can scramble the cube at 13 or 14 turns per second, or TPS. Photo by Audrey Richardson.
Senior forward Jeremy Davidson and junior forward Red Savage attempt to stop the puck from progressing back into the defensive end on March 31, 2024. Photo by Emily Martin.
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MEET THE STAFF FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Morgan Womack MANAGING EDITOR Liz Nass VISUAL MANAGING EDITOR Audrey Richardson COPY CHIEF Jada Vasser CAMPUS EDITOR Amalia Medina CULTURE EDITOR Dipika Rao REGIONAL EDITOR Jaden Beard SPORTS EDITOR PJ Pfeiffer DESIGN Grace Montgomery Zachary Balcoff If you’re an MSU student with a desire to lead an organization of 50+ staffers, are an agent of change and describe yourself as a news junkie, then The State News Editor-in-Chief position might be right for you! We’re looking for someone who has visionary thinking, strong leadership and organizational skills and an ability to communicate with diverse groups of people around MSU and East Lansing. You don’t have to have experience at The State News, but you do have to provide proof of leadership experience. Apply today at Deadline for applications Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 5:00PM Interview with newsroom staff: Friday, April 12, 2024 Interview with Board of Directors: Friday, April 19, 2024 APPLY TO BE THE FUTURE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SUMMER 2024 - SPRING 2025
The Coalition of Indian Undergraduate Students hosted its annual Satrang dance show at Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan on March 30, 2024. The show boasted dances inspired by hip-hop and Bollywood and featured a theme of bright colors, unity and joy. Photo by Brendan Mullin.


A favorite sequence among the community is sexy move, a combination that “glides nicely,” and is a turning friendly algorithm.

“Every cuber just knows what sexy move is,” Widdis said.

Widdis didn’t utilize sexy move in his sequence to win the national title, but he did use domino reduction, or DR, which reduces the puzzle to a 3x3x2 cuboid.

On the cool summer evening of July 23, 2023, Widdis, along with the other 99 top qualifiers in the country, filed into a large room to his designated table. The atmosphere was intense, looking much like a “standardized testing room,” but Widdis found comfort in knowing he had a full hour to perform how he practiced.

When the final scrambled cube was revealed on his last day of competition, Widdis had to let go of the endless possibilities racing though his head and press on one move at a time.

“Admittedly, it was a shock to win,” Widdis said. After not being favored, “to be able to do that really proved to me that I shouldn’t really have doubts about what I can accomplish.”

This outlook is one of the best parts of the sport, his father Brian Widdis said.

“It’s been really good to see him become aware of his skills that he

Widdis seems to be at a transition period with cubing, as graduation date creeps up and he finds himself among the older crowd at competitions now.

A new avenue he’s exploring as an expert in the sport is offering his help to the younger generation of cubers.

During the North American Championships in 2022, Widdis and his friend hosted a seminar on what they’ve learned on their cubing journey. In the same year, Widdis organized an official cubing competition at the MSU Union giving community members an opportunity to compete.

As the years have passed, his love for cubing hasn’t dwindled, but as he begins a new journey in life, he’s looking for new direction in the sport, too.

“I’m debating where I want to go from here,” he said. “I don’t know if I want to pursue another event or just keep grinding fewest moves, but I still have a lot to learn and a lot to practice.”

discovered through cubing and how he can apply that to his career and his schooling,” he said. “I think that it really showed him what an effective problem solver he is.”

Widdis agrees that cubing has helped him “develop a better work ethic” and the never-ending opportunity for

The Red Cedar River has a scooter problem.

Over the past few years, hundreds of scooters and bikes have been pulled out of the Red Cedar River, which runs through MSU’s campus.

Because the river is a natural habitat for wildlife like fish and waterfowl, and because lithium batteries in the scooters can leak and enter the water, there has been rising concern regarding the health of the river.

According to the city of East Lansing, over 250 electric scooters from the Spin company have been pulled from the river in the last three years. One scooter hot spot is the portion of the river near the Bogue Street bridge.

The scooters have been causing

problems on the other side of Grand River Avenue too, according to the city. East Lansing’s city manager requested that Spin’s license be revoked in September 2023.


Then earlier this month, the East Lansing City Council voted 4-1 to revoke Spin’s business license. The city’s motion said Spin had violated multiple city ordinances. It cited a January hearing in which the city argued that their issues included:

• Scooters being placed throughout Downtown East Lansing outside designated parking locations

• Scooters parked outside of local business emergency exits

• Scooters not being removed daily and situated within

growth pushes him to think outside of the box … or cube.

While competitions offer an opportunity to showcase years-long dedication to the sport, they are also the one time of the year that he gets to see his lifelong friends.

Widdis said he has a group of around

10 people who he met through the cubing world, who he considers to be his best friends and talks to almost every day.

“What’s kept me in it for all this time is my friends,” Widdis said. “If I hadn’t met them, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have.”

Cubing offers ceaseless curiosity with the variety of events. And while Widdis is trying to find a new path in the sport, he encourages anyone fascinated to explore it as well.

“I know that it’s completely changed my life, and I think if someone young is interested is learning about it, it’s a super beneficial thing,” he said.

designated deployment areas between 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. as required

• Scooters being left in the right of ways, sidewalks and yards

Though the scooters’ dumping in the river was not included in the city’s motion to revoke the contract, this issue was discussed at the council meeting.

“Somebody dumped over 200 of their scooters in the Red Cedar River, and I’m not interested in doing business any longer with a company that allowed that to happen,” Mayor of East Lansing George Brookover said when discussing the motion.

Despite the vote, Spin hopes to continue its relationship with the city.

“We are extremely interested in continuing to do business in and work with the city of East Lansing,” a Spin representative told The State News. “We are confident in our ability to work with City contacts to address any concerns they have regarding the program.”


It’s unclear what, if any, effect this ban will have on the Red Cedar. Although the ban on Spin scooters is active throughout East Lansing, the scooters are not banned on MSU’s campus.

“What (the city) did does not impact MSU at all,” MSU spokesperson Mark Bullion said. “Right now it is business as usual because we operate under a completely separate contract than the city of East Lansing. We are able to continue to offer them to our students, faculty and staff who use them on campus.”

Spin has already implemented strategies to mitigate the risk of individuals throwing e-scooters in local waterways, according to a spokesperson. These include:

• Using GPS to make all bridges in the area no parking zones

to eliminate the possibility of scooters ending up in the vicinity of the river

• Removing all Spin deployment/ parking locations within 300 feet of the river

• Conducting sweeps of areas in the vicinity of the river each day, including dispatching a team member to relocate a scooter if it ends up within 300 feet of the river

• Immediately attempting retrieval of any scooters suspected to have been thrown in the river using a combination of grappling hooks and fishing magnets

• Collaborating with local organizations to gather feedback and suggestions on additional strategies


Packaging freshman Jacob Buchanan said that even though he has never used a Spin scooter before, he thinks that they’re not a bad thing for the campus.

“Maybe there should be more regulation about how they’re kept because they’re thrown in the river,” Buchanan said. “I know a couple of people don’t like them. That might be one of the reasons (they are thrown) in the river, but I just assume people think it’s funny for some reason.”

Supply chain management sophomore Eric Valverde said he thinks Spin scooters have a positive impact on campus. Despite there being controversy around how the scooters are treated, Valverde said he has not heard fellow students talk negatively about their impact.

“I think the spin scooters are really valuable because it offers an alternative form of transportation, especially for students that are really cramped on time and don’t have the money to buy an electric scooter unit,” Valverde said.

“It could be a really great way to kind of get from point A to point B.”

Valverde said that even though the scooters offer convenience to many students, he thinks that most scooters end up in the river due to how close they are.

“I think another reason could be the fact that especially during the night time, a lot of students when they get intoxicated, do things that they wouldn’t normally do when they were sober, and oftentimes that can mean doing something reckless,” Valverde said. “I think that the Spin scooter is just an available way for them to kind of commit an act of recklessness.”

Valverde said scooters ending up in the river can be a pain to most people, especially those who remove them from the river.


If an individual is caught throwing a scooter into the Red Cedar River, they would be charged with malicious destruction of property, with anything else being counted as littering, according to MSU Department of Police and Public Safety spokesperson Dana Whyte.

If a scooter with a battery causes any type of environmental hazard, that could be a felony and may be an Environmental Protection Agency violation, Whyte said.

Valverde said that if Spin scooters containing lithium batteries are thrown into the Red Cedar River, it could serve as a potential danger to any living creatures that are part of the river’s habitat.

“When you kind of combine (the batteries) with throwing them into the river, it does pose the possibility for the wildlife to be harmed,” Valverde said.

TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2024 THE STATE NEWS 4 LIFE Scooters keep ending up in the Red Cedar River, but they’re staying on campus Spin scooters line the streets of Circle Drive on April 5, 2022.
Photo by Audrey Richardson.
A collection of Rubik’s Cubes in the home of experience architecture senior Owen Widdis in East Lansing on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo by Audrey Richardson. Experience architecture senior Owen Widdis, 22, in his home in East Lansing on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. In his room, Widdis has 43 Rubik’s Cubes, but in his family home there are more. “When I was younger it was whenever I got an allowance I would get a new cube,” Widdis said. Photo by Audrey Richardson.


Although Thursday nights in the second floor gym of the IM Circle building may look like a scene out of a Shakespeare play, the members of the Renaissance Sword Society need not have a heavy head or crown — just their longswords, some in-depth knowledge of medieval dueling tactics and a bit of padding.

Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is exactly what it sounds like: the study and practice of the old European martial system, which died out ages ago.

But it’s seen a resurgence in the past decade, including here at MSU, where English senior Han Yoo founded the Renaissance Sword Society last spring.

Yoo began practicing HEMA before he was an MSU student. When he got to MSU, the lack of an existing club on campus was enough motivation for him to start one. Yoo said his initial goal when starting the club was to make new friends, fence with them and ultimately create new fencers that could “shoot off into the world” to start their own clubs and contribute to a larger, growing HEMA scene.

A successful goal according to Yoo, but not quite an easy one.

While the current Renaissance Sword Society is a registered student organization with funding from donations to support the roughly 15 recurring members, the club started as a smaller group of people practicing outside of Shaw Hall.

“It was hard because we didn’t have any gear and we had no means of reaching new people, aside from people just seeing us and asking us ‘Hey, what are you doing?’” said Yoo, who is now the club’s president.

Eventually, however, Yoo said they were able to register the club as an official student organization, a task that took quite some time. After that, it was smooth sailing.

But HEMA is much more than just banging swords together. What may seem like a simple sword-fighting sport actually requires scholarship and interpretation of old texts.

When the current vice president of the club, linguistics sophomore Maggie Howell, initially joined, she said the club was focused on the works of Johannes Liechtenauer, a 15th century German fencing master.

“We’re people that don’t know how to fence, so we’re learning how to fence and also learning how to make it artful at the same time, which adds another layer of difficulty.”
MAGGIE HOWELL Renaissance Sword Society vice president

Arguably the most notable of

Liechtenauer’s work is fencing instructions formatted in a list of mnemonic aids called the “Zettel.” It is often viewed as similar to a poem, requiring loads of interpretation.

“It’s pretty difficult for new people to look at the manuscripts and figure out what you’re supposed to be doing,” Howell said.

Luckily for newcomers, part of what Howell does as vice president is help members understand the often cryptic messages in the centuries-old texts. But even that can get tricky.

The club’s current focus is on Joachim Meyer, a German fencing master from the 16th century. Howell said Meyer was writing for an audience that already knew how to fence, and was only adding concepts to make it more artful.

“We’re people that don’t know how

to fence, so we’re learning how to fence and also learning how to make it artful at the same time, which adds another layer of difficulty,” she said.

While it’s certainly difficult, Howell said learning a fighting style based on an old book adds a conversational component, opening the doors for multiple interpretations and discussions depending on how the text is read.

“From one club to another, you’ll probably find a slightly different interpretation of Meyer,” said Jakob Stibal, a computer science and engineering sophomore.

But the members of the Renaissance Sword Society aren’t alone in translating the old writings of masters like Liechtenauer and Meyer. The club often brings in guest instructors to help translate words from a poem into action, including people from the

Lansing Longsword Guild.

For Yoo, the scholarly pursuit that comes with HEMA is what attracts him to it. Prior to practicing HEMA, Yoo was mostly just interested in the swords, but the educational aspect has since created a much deeper interest in European history.

And while it’s certainly possible to become a good HEMA fencer simply by going to a gym and asking instructors questions, Yoo said that what separates the good fencers from the great fencers is the level of understanding of the texts and that person’s ability to apply that knowledge to what they end up practicing in the gym.

The educational aspect of the club doesn’t stop it from being fun, though, as Yoo described the club as being “chill and relaxed.”

“I visited a couple of HEMA clubs

in the past where there was a two hour block and the first hour was just exercise,” Yoo said. “That’s not why people come out, right? They come to learn how to fight with swords.”

And like most hobbies, complexities can come off as somewhat daunting, but Yoo said one of the best parts of the club is the community, which is quite welcoming to newcomers. Not only that, but Yoo said that between this club and the Lansing Longsword Guild, he’s met a lot of people that he now considers friends.

For Howell, she finds it intriguing that everyone in the club is still learning, even the officers. Beyond that, though, she enjoys teaching what she’s learned to others.

“That’s why I said yes to being an officer,” she said.

Sophomore Jakob Stibel practicing different techniques and drills during a practice session for the MSU Renaissance Sword Society at IM Circle on March 28, 2024. Photo by Donté Smith. Students practicing different techniques and drills during a practice session for the MSU Renaissance Sword Society at IM Circle on March 28, 2024. Photo by Donté Smith. Senior Han Yoo shows off his equipment and gear during a practice session for the MSU Renaissance Sword Society at IM Circle on March 28, 2024. Photo by Donté Smith.

‘Big is a mindset’: How Julia Ayrault is navigating the center position

The center position in basketball, especially in the Big Ten, can be one of the most physically demanding positions as it typically requires size, strength and knowledge of how to work the paint on both offense and defense.

At the collegiate level, people usually expect someone who averaged 15.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game — eight rebounds per game in Big Ten play — with 65 blocks at the center position to at least have regularly played that position throughout high school.

But believe it or not, that stat line comes from MSU women’s basketball player Julia Ayrault — a guard.

Throughout her basketball career, Julia Ayrault didn’t play center but actually regularly played point guard as a youth, in high school and even in her first years of college.

Playing the center position was something that Julia Ayrault never imagined playing, especially because she is undersized for the position at 6-foot-2 inches. While she is one of the taller players on Michigan State’s roster, she is undersized by two to three inches compared to most of her in-season opponents.

Nonetheless, during the summer before the start of the 2023-2024 season, when junior forward/center Isaline Alexander was placed under concussion protocol, the Spartans and their new head coach Robyn Fralick needed a leader to step up and play center, also referred to as the big position.

Being one of only four players on the team over six feet tall, Julia Ayrault knew that she was going to have to step into the position.

“(Alexander) was off for a while so there was kind of a need for someone to do it,” Julia Ayrault said. “I was like, ‘Why not? Why not until she comes back?’ I was more than willing to try it out.”

After quickly accepting the new role, a new training plan was made for her as she was going to have to learn how to navigate her new position quickly. She remembered the transition being much smoother due to the new coaching staff being brought in with Fralick, whom she was quickly getting to know.

“I think it was definitely hard at first to navigate a new spot, I had definitely done a lot more guard stuff throughout playing basketball so it was new for me,” Julia Ayrault said. “The coaches were willing to just

help me learn, grow and get better at it and they reminded me each day that progressively you learn how to do different things that can help you be successful.”

Although the transition to the center position had to be quick, she had already displayed that she could rebound at a high level early on in her basketball career.

In her junior year of high school, Julia Ayrault was already a toptier rebounder, averaging nearly 11 rebounds as she led her team to a Class A Final Four appearance. During her senior year, the rebounding had dropped a bit but still sat high for a guard at nine rebounds per game.

In her first two years at Michigan State, her career was still blooming before she was forced to miss the entirety of the 2021-2022 season due to a foot injury.

When she returned her senior year, Julia Ayrault was on a minute restriction, forcing her to trust the restriction, herself and her ability to play, which took a toll on her season numbers. She said that she had a “tough time trusting” the restriction and herself, and that it took a long time for her to “get back into the game” and feel normal, especially on the mental side of the game.

By the time she was heading into her graduate season, Julia Ayrault had already been through a lot basketball-wise. Besides the injury, she had already lived an entire life of basketball as her entire family is full of

former and current basketball players, managers and coaches.

Both of her parents, Andy Ayrault and Kimberly Ayrault, played basketball at Wayne State University in the early 1990s and her father is currently an assistant coach at WSU.

Julia Ayrault credits both her mom and dad for the feedback that they have been able to give her throughout her basketball career. The parents also created a non-pressurized atmosphere when it came to basketball, Julia Ayrault said.

“He’s a very positive guy and he’s got a really good outlook on life and he just kind of has a really good ability to talk to me about stuff without making you feel the pressure,” Julia Ayrault said. “That was one of the biggest things I loved about growing up in my family is that there was never any pressure to play or do well. If that was something that we loved and wanted to do, we could, but if not, that was okay too. So I think that really helped too, just growing up and being in that environment was great for me.”

Her parents aren’t the only people to credit for her development, however, as much of her “in-game” experiences at a young age came from playing two-ontwo basketball games with her siblings.

Julia Ayrault has a twin brother, Joe Ayrault, and two younger siblings who she would constantly play pickup basketball games with. Julia and Joe Ayrault had a sibling rivalry when it came to basketball, which ended up helping Julia Ayrault become the

poised center she is today.

“It made me better because he is bigger, stronger and faster so he helped me tremendously when it came to learning how to be stronger and learning how to play against someone better than you are,” Julia Ayrault said.

The basketball connection between Julia Ayrault and her brother Joe Ayrault did not end once the two of them got too old to play in the backyard. The twins both committed to Michigan State. While Julia Ayrault would be playing basketball for the women’s basketball team, her brother was close by — quite literally — as he was hired as one of the women’s basketball team managers during his time at MSU.

Although Julia Ayrault was busy with her coaches and the rest of the training staff, Joe Ayrault recalled still being able to rebound for his twin sister during practices and trying to offer her some advice sibling-to-sibling.

“I was able to be around a lot and contribute to the team,” Joe Ayrault said. “We never really planned workouts, but I would rebound for her so she could get extra shots up before or after practice. I would also try to give her suggestions from time to time on things she could try to help her out on the court.”

Joe Ayrault said that a couple of factors contributed to Julia Ayrault’s mental toughness: the two-on-two basketball play in the backyard, but, more importantly, the fact that Julia Ayrault played basketball with other

boys — besides her siblings – around her age.

“I think she definitely was more competitive with me because I wouldn’t take it easy on her at all,” Joe Ayrault said. “I didn’t play against her as if she was my sister, I played against her as if she was any other basketball player I would face.”

Joe Ayrault is no longer a team manager as he has moved on to pursue his coaching career, but Julia Ayrault will always continue to use the moments that she and her brother have had together both in the backyard and at MSU as a way to grow as a player.

Julia Ayrault has kept all of her family’s insight as a way to support her mentally through the process of accepting her new position. She believes that keeping a positive mentality has been something that she has continued to try and do throughout this process.

It was early in the position change when Julia Ayrault was given a new way to think about playing the center position by her strength coach Claire Sporer.

“Big is a mindset,” Sporer told Julia Ayrault.

Since then, Julia Ayrault has taken that phrase to heart and used it as fuel during the season to help her and the Spartans in conference play and the NCAA Tournament, among other important games.

“(Claire) talked a lot early on about ‘big is a mindset’ and to me that meant although you might not actually be big, if you think you’re big that can definitely help you get over that mental health part,” Julia Ayrault said. “If I can actually just think that I am bigger than I actually am, I might play that way.”

Although her previous injury slowed her progress down, the position change opened up a new pathway for Julia Ayrault to play at an even higher level than she was able to in the position she was in before.

Julia Ayrault has been able to recognize what this position change could mean for her and the team, but one of the most important aspects of the relationship between her and basketball is the fact that no matter what position she plays, she will continue to try her hardest on the court.

“As long as you’re doing your best, that’s really all you can do and you just go from here,” Julia Ayrault said. “That’s kind of been the outlook this year. I feel like I am trying my hardest because there is not much else I can do but that and we’re continuing to focus on that.”

From cover: Rocky third period leads to MSU hockey loss to Michigan

The Spartans started strong, quickly stopped Michigan connections and held their own as they battled in corners and were able to keep the Wolverines out of the net. However, leaving the second period tied at 1-1 ended up in the favor of the Wolverines. In the third period, Michigan State also wasn’t able to get many shots by Michigan’s goalie, something Basgall gave a lot of credit to post-game.

“I thought their goalie played

well, I thought we had some really good looks, especially in the second (period) there,” Basgall said. “Their goalie looked really good, and credit to him. I don’t think he’s got the credit (for) how he’s played in the series. I thought we generated enough to score (but) it’s about finishing it at that point.”

The third period was the turning point, but just halfway through the third period, the shift was seen. The Wolverines put two goals on the

board in the matter of 12 seconds, snapping the Spartans’ confidence and turning it all towards the Maize and Blue; this game was now completely in Michigan’s control.

“We got some great hardware and unfortunately fell short here,” Basgall said. “This is the most important thing in our season. This is the goal that we worked to all season, some great accolades that we went and got on the way, but it’s going to be a continued year of work to get back here.”

While the game ended with a Michigan State loss, the team and coaches said the work they have put in this season is just the beginning of what can be a continuous success for the Spartans for years to come.

“You win with class and you lose with class, and I thought the guys finished the game in that type of environment really well,” Nightingale said. “That’s important with what we’re trying to do. We’re

still trying to lay a foundation and build a program here, and those are key ingredients for what I value as a program.”

Michigan State’s season, in which the Spartans clinched their first Big Ten regular season title, first Big Ten tournament title and made it to the regional finals of the Frozen Four tournament, has officially come to an end. Michigan State will be back in action in October, looking to pick up where the team left off.

Graduate student guard Julia Ayrault (40) avoids defensive players during the season opening exhibition game against Davenport University at the Breslin Center on Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by Audrey Richardson.

Senior section leaders reflect on Izzone community, say ‘bittersweet’ goodbyes as season ends

Justin Babbitt has been a fan of Michigan State basketball since he was five years old.

Born and raised a Spartan fan, the secondary education senior said it felt “natural” to him when he became an Izzone student section leader two years ago.

“I think there’s been so many moments, just from my childhood and me growing up, where I basically watched every single game that happened at Breslin, and it was just the coolest thing ever,” Babbitt said. “So I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to be a part of this and be as involved as

I possibly can.’”

The Izzone, Michigan State’s basketball student section, is an integral part of the university’s athletics program. However, the sense of community created among students wouldn’t be possible without those who lead it — the senior section leaders.

Kinesiology senior Jasper Najar, an Izzone member before taking on his leadership position two years ago, said consistency is what makes the student section so unique.

“So many places have good basketball culture or good fans that don’t always show up, you know,” Najar said. “Even if they’re having a down year or something like that, but with this, I was just like every year, every game it is packed out, it is loud. And,

like, people never really give up on it.”

Journalism senior Reese Carlson first saw the Izzone when she was about 12 years old, coming to a game with her dad. From that point on, it became her favorite place.

“It was getting pretty wild in there, and I was like, ‘These people look like they are having the time of their lives,’” Carlson said. “I was like, ‘I need to be there.’”

Being a section leader comes with big responsibilities, Carlson said. On game days, the leaders arrive two and a half hours before tip-off. They set up the seats with newspapers and newsletters while taking different shifts to scan Izzone students into the Breslin Center. During the game, the section leaders guide the student

section in the traditions.

“You’re just kind of leading different cheers. You’re kind of more of an example for people during the game,” Carlson said. “So, I always make sure I’m doing all the little dances, all the little cheers, so everyone just knows what they’re doing.”

Babbitt said while every year in the Izzone brought about different experiences, his freshman year during the COVID-19 pandemic presented its own set of challenges.

“I do think there was an entire year or two of people not being familiar with the Izzone and having to learn, and there was a little bit of a learning curve,” Babbitt said. “I think it took people like myself and other older people who were a little bit more

familiar with MSU basketball to help them readjust.”

Najar said that realizing his time in the Izzone was coming to a close was “bittersweet,” but looking back on his favorite memories made saying goodbye a little easier.

“I mean, you can’t get any better than 700 career wins for Tom Izzo, home win against Michigan, senior year,” Najar said.

For Carlson, being a section leader had a “huge impact” on her time at MSU.

“I really found my community,” Carlson said. “I really found something fun to do, and I love being able to pour in all the extra work as well. Being a part of the Izzone is just really important to me.”

Spartan fans celebrating a made three-pointer by their team during a game against Ohio State University at the Breslin Student Event Center on Feb. 25, 2024. Photo by Donté Smith. Fans cheer during the Spartans’ 73-56 win over the Lakers on Nov. 1, 2022. State News file photo.


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