Stypinski ties career high in Pink meet loss

Senior Michaela Romito suspends upside-down on the uneven bars during Kent State’s annual Pink meet. 

Libby Schrack

The Kent State (5-4, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) gymnastics team fell short to Eastern Michigan (5-5, 1-3 MAC) at its annual Pink meet (194.875-193.925).

Despite the loss, senior Rachel Stypinski came up big with a 9.975 on the floor exercise.

“It has been a year since I got my first one,” Stypinski said. “Definitely nice to add a second one to that list, but I am still hoping for that 10.”

Stypinski’s near-perfect performance on floor puts her in second place in the highest floor scores in school history.

Senior Brooke Timko scored a 9.900 on the uneven bars, a career-high total.

“It was a really proud moment to get a 9.900,” Timko said. “I’ve been keeping the confidence in myself and my team, and that always pushes me.”

The Flashes had to count falls on the balance beam. But to the Kent State gymnasts, this specific meet meant a little bit more than the routines.  

The M.A.C. Center was filled with blue, gold and pink, and the gymnasts were beyond pleased with the crowd’s turnout and energy.

The Flashes have been hosting their annual Pink meet for 11 years now. This is a special event the team looks forward to every season.

Former Kent State gymnast Dr. Kristine Slam established COSACARES, an organization that aids those affected by breast cancer and helps with assistance, resources and educational support.

Assistant coach Sharon Sabin has been involved with the Pink meet every year.

“I thought it was a really great connection,” Sabin said, “to bring back alumni and to know exactly where all the donations go.”

The Flashes start every Pink meet by walking out locking arms with breast cancer survivors.

Along with the special walkout and unique pink leotards, the team created gift baskets and customized T-shirts.

100 percent of the donations goes toward COSACARES. Each year, the team comes up with a “Pink committee,” which plans the meet, gets sponsors and creates the raffle baskets.

Senior Brooke Timko has been a part of the Pink committee all four years now. 

“I got picked as a freshman to help out,” Timko said. “It just grew and grew on me to see just how much this meet affects other people.”

The Pink committee begins planning the meet during the fall.

Sabin said the gymnasts look forward to this specific meet because they put so much time and effort into it.

“You don’t realize how much it affects people that you know,” Sabin said. “It makes the team feel good. It makes them feel like they can do something and are making a difference.”

The attendance plays a huge role in the success of the Pink meet. The Flashes were thrilled with the awareness they raised through the event.

“You know, it was really neat,” Sabin said. “A lot of them come to watch the gymnastics, but a majority of them are connected to breast cancer.”

Kent State will be heading to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a quad meet against UCLA, Iowa State and Nebraska, starting at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

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