The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Follow KentWired on Instagram
Today’s Events

Gymnastics sets eyes on NCAA Regionals in upcoming season

Matthew Brown
The Kent State gymnastics team rings the bell after pulling ahead of West Michigan University during the Beauty and the Beast meet on Jan. 29.

Last season, Kent State’s gymnastics team went 6-9 overall, and three individuals qualified for the NCAA Regionals.

KSU has had one winning season in the previous three years and has yet to finish first in the Mid-American Conference since 2016.

Coach Brice Biggin said he has new goals going into the current season.

“We have three fairly consistent goals,” he said. “One is to win the MAC regular season. The second one is obviously the MAC championship meet, and our third is to qualify for NCAA Regionals as a team.”

In order to prepare for the season, Biggin has been trying to create as much depth as possible on each event.

“We feel like we’ve got some good solid routines on each event,” Biggin said, “but the deeper we are and the more challenges they make for each other, the better it’s going to make us as a team.”

Hopes for all-around strength

Biggin said he hopes many gymnasts will stick out this season and create more balance.

“We’re trying really hard so we are not depending on any one individual,” he said.

Biggin said he wants everyone  on the team to be able to have a solid performance so the whole team can succeed together.

The work senior Sarah Haxton, senior Kyndall Gilbert and graduate student Karlie Franz have put in during the offseason is starting to show as the season nears, he said.

“Sarah has been really good on bars and beam and a very solid floor backup person,” said Biggin. “Karlie is back for a fifth year, which will be a huge lift for us.”

Last season, Haxton scored a season-high 9.850 on beam four times, Gilbert finished the season with the sixth-highest NQS (9.835) in the MAC and Franz was named All-MAC Second Team while matching a career-high 9.875 on vault.

He noted Gilbert has come along very well as a senior. The roster also has underclassmen to watch for: junior Alyssa Guns and sophomore Heidi Schultz.

“Alyssa is doing really well. She looks the best I think she ever has been,” Biggin said. “Heidi has come in really great shape and looks amazing right now.”

Last season, Guns was named All-MAC Second Team and scored a career-high 9.900 on beam. Schultz did not see any action during her freshman season.

The gymnastics team has its Blue and Gold meet on Dec. 10.

Biggin said he is excited for the opportunity to see where his athletes are heading into this season.

“It’s our first opportunity to put the athletes in front of some real judges and put them out on the main gym floor as opposed to just practicing in our practice gym,” Biggin said. “We’ll see a little bit more on exactly how deep we are and who really steps up and starts performing well.”

Biggin said the Blue and Gold meet will be a confidence booster.

“I think if things continue to progress, we will be very confident. We just have to continue to build, as I said, the team’s depth,” Biggin said. “I think that will take care of a lot of issues itself.”

New assistant coach from SEC

This season, the gymnastics team welcomed new assistant coach Josie Angeny, a former University of Kentucky gymnast who earned SEC All-Freshman Team and All-SEC honors twice and helped lead Kentucky to an NCAA Regional berth. 

She then transferred to Georgia after the 2022 season and helped lead Georgia to an NCAA Regional berth.

During college, Angeny said she realized she never wanted to leave the sport of gymnastics, as she had an amazing career participating in gymnastics in Kentucky and Georgia.

Angeny said she wants to help them fall in love with the sport again.

“I definitely just want to help the team fall in love with the sport,” she said. “They just seem like they’re kind of on a downward slope.”

Angeny said she chose Kent State because she loved the team’s culture.

“The team has an amazing culture – I love the people here,” Angeny said. “They’re all here for the right reasons. They all have the same goals, which is really hard to find in college nowadays.”

The gymnastics team’s first competition will be at 4 p.m. Jan. 13 at the University of Pittsburgh.

Robyn Taylor is a reporter. Contact her @[email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Matthew Brown, Photo Editor
Matthew is a junior photography major. He has a passion for photography and traveling. Contact him at [email protected].

Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *