Flashes continue hot streak in road victory


Kent State senior Jordan Hardison celebrates with her team after a successful performance on the balance beam during Kent State University’s Beauty and the Beast double meet event for gymnastics and wrestling on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

Scott Lendak

After delivering a nearly perfect floor routine, Kent State junior Rachel Stypinski thought of her teammates as they cheered her on.

“I get a lot of extra energy from my teammates during my routine,” Stypinski said. “I try to think about having fun and doing what I do in practice. It’s such a fun event where you get to show off your dance.”

Stypinski scored a 9.950 on floor during Friday’s away meet at Bowling Green State University. She also received a 39.325 overall score, a mark that earned her her fifth all-around title on the year.

The Flashes (4-8, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) beat Bowling Green (3-12, 2-3 MAC) by a score of 195.725-194.450, the second-highest team score they have recorded this year.

“(Stypinski) struggled for about three weeks and didn’t quite put together the meets that she’s capable of,” coach Brice Biggin said. “I had a talk with her today and told her about what our expectations and needs were. It is a lot of pressure, but to her credit, she went out and performed fantastically for us.”

Stypinski won individual titles on floor exercise, balance beam and uneven bars to give her 49 career victories.

“Coach wanted me to make sure I was focused so I could bring in the scores that the team needed,” Stypinski said. “He gave me a lot of motivation and a kick in the butt to get me going in order to step up for my team.”

Biggin said after a sluggish start, the team bounced back, and junior Brooke Timko was a big reason for that.

“Kennedy Plude got hurt after her vault, so (Timko) had to come in with only one 30 second warm-up on beam,” Biggin said. “She was able to keep her head on straight and deliver a good routine. She is a coach’s dream because she is a kid who cares so much about the team that she would do anything she can to help.”

Timko tied for third on both vault (9.800) and bars (9.725). She also received a 9.700 on her balance beam routine.

“She’s been very solid on vault for us all year,” Biggin said. “She has a bad shoulder and has trouble lifting it at times, but she will give you everything she’s got.”

Freshman Jade Brown delivered a 9.900 on floor and senior Jordan Hardison received a 9.850. Senior Skyelee Lamano set a new career-high with a 9.800 on vault.

“The high score is very important for our regional qualifying, but for this team right now, we need to understand how to win,” Biggin said. “We’ve lost too many close meets and losing becomes habit. I think it was very important to win the meet as well, but I am certainly very happy with the score.”

The Flashes will return to Bowling Green March 18 for the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Kent State will host Ball State University for Senior Night in a 7 p.m. meet Friday in the M.A.C. Center.

Scott Lendak is the gymnastics reporter, contact him at [email protected].