Gymnastics riding wave of momentum heading into annual Pink Meet


Madison Trott finishes her floor routine at the Beauty and the Beast match on February 10, 2019.

Sara Al Harthi

At the Kent State gymnastics team’s first conference meet at Northern Illinois in January, the Flashes scored a disappointing 192.075.

Five weeks later, they recorded a 197.800 against George Washington and North Carolina State, the best score in the Mid-American Conference this season.

Coach Brice Biggin said that the Flashes struggled in their practices leading up the meet against North Illinois, something that impacted their work on the mat against the Huskies.

“Sometimes you got to talk yourself into feeling like you’re going to do fantastic because your mind either helps make you more successful or it starts to break down your confidence,” Biggin said. “We need the mind for them to help make them more successful. So, I think we had a big talk about that after our Northern Illinois meet and we’ve seen since then a lot of good performances.”

Improvement for the Flashes has been a matter of improving the team’s bond, working on their weaknesses and building confidence.

Biggin also said that the Flashes being young was something that hurt them early in the season, as the monotony of the season can wear on young gymnasts. 

“I don’t care if you’re a freshman, a sophomore, a junior or a senior, you’re important to the success of the team,” Biggin said. “We have to have good leadership and I think we have some good leaders.”

Senior team captain Dara Williams helped the team to win its first Mid-American Conference competition over Bowling Green on Feb. 17, recording a career-high 9.850 on the individual bars, which tied her for first with teammate Madison Trott.

“We definitely worked in our confidence and our consistency in the meets,” Williams said. “We stay calm under pressure and just make sure that everyone hits their routine.”

Trott also stepped up against the Huskies, as she tied for fifth-place with a career-high 9.825 on the floor exercise. Her scores helped the Flashes post the highest all-around score in the MAC this season while also earning her the title of MAC Specialist of the Week.

“I feel like my weakness coming in here was just being consistent with my bar dismount. They’ve gotten a lot better with Brice’s help,” Trott said. “The confidence that my teammates have given me, they’ve pushed me a lot harder to just keep on working and to keep on getting that improvement and making them consistent.”

Williams know that having a strong team bond is important, and that the gymnasts spending time together outside of the gym is important to that.

“It’s definitely important to have a bond because you want to make sure that each routine is build off of each other.” Williams said “It’s important to know and be able to trust your teammates.”

Pink Meet

The Kent State gymnastics team is hosting its annual Pink Meet on Friday at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center. The Flashes will be competing against Western Michigan.

The Pink Meet is to raise awareness and to support the fight against breast cancer. All donations will go to the Central Ohio Surgical Association and its COSACares fund. Kristine Slam a former Kent State gymnast, founded COSACares to help people affected by breast cancer.

“The pink meet is a great cause, and it’s awesome to be able to raise awareness about breast cancer because it’s affected people in gymnastics and some of my teammates,” Williams said. “It’s amazing just to be able to give back in a way.”

There will be baskets raffled off that the team made and worked on and custom T-shirts for sale. All proceeds will be donated to the COSA.

“It’s really a huge meet as far as making them aware and bring in the awareness, not only to our team, but to everyone who will attend the meet,” Biggin said. “We’ve got a meet this weekend and it’s against a MAC opponent. We want to win our MAC meets, so obviously there’s a big incentive there just with that. But there’s a big incentive being at home too and how we perform at home.”

 Sara Al Harthi is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]