Injured Stypinski and Kent State gymnastics look to make strong impression at NCAA Regionals

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Kent State senior gymnast Brooke Timko competes on bars. [FILE]

Libby Schrack

Kent State senior gymnast Rachel Stypinski is out to prove the gymnastics world wrong by competing at the NCAA Regionals in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend. Stypinski faced a serious leg injury three weeks ago competing on Senior Night which led her on a trip to the ER.

Stypinski did not compete at the Mid-American Conference Championships due to the injury.

“I am feeling really confident in myself,” Stypinski said. “I am proving people wrong — and even myself — that I can try and come back from this injury.”

Stypinski hopes to compete on bars and hit a solid routine for herself and for her teammates. The all-American is still having problems with mobility and is currently in a walking boot.

“Walking is still an issue,” Stypinski said. “Bars is really the only thing I can do.”

Stypinski hopes to just hit one last routine and to contribute to her team.

“It really doesn’t matter to me what my score is,” Stypinski said. “It doesn’t even matter if I progress into nationals. It’s to show myself and other people that injuries don’t have to hold you back.”

The senior captain hopes her team stays consistent throughout the meet. She wants to get a good score to set an example for the underclassmen.

“I want to show them that it doesn’t matter what you go through,” Stypinski said. “You can still get a great score with whoever is in the lineup to compete.”

The Flashes faced a devastating outcome at the MAC Championships where they unexpectedly placed sixth out of seven competing teams. Coach Brice Biggin hopes to improve on that outcome and to show what the team really is capable of.

“This week we are just trying to relax,” Biggin said. “We are trying to get the MAC (Championships) out of our head and instead really focus on taking one routine at a time.”

The team faced difficulty on bars and beam at the MAC Championships, so Biggin said they are really trying to focus in on those two events for this weekend.

“We struggled on bars and beam,” Biggin said. “I truly think if we go back and focus on what we have been trying to for most of the season and to take it one event at a time, I think we will be fine.”

Kent State was selected to compete in Columbus, Ohio, where they will face other big gymnastics schools, such as UCLA and Ohio State.

“We’ve got nowhere to go but up with that ranking,” Biggin said. “The goal is to beat at least one team, if not a couple. I also hope to see us compete to our full potential and the way we are capable of.”

Libby Schrack is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]