Stypinski, Lamano shine in Flashes’ season-best meet

Kent State junior Rachel Stypinski performs her floor routine during Kent State’s “Flip for Cure” meet against Central Michigan at the M.A.C. Center on Feb. 19. 2017. 

Scott Lendak

Senior Skyelee Lamano focused intensely with her hands on her knees as she watched her teammate, Rachel Stypinski, earn the second highest score on the floor routine in Kent State history.

“Rachel just has such a dynamic routine,” head coach Brice Biggin said. “There was some great competition there, so for her to go out there and do that really helps our team score tremendously.”

The junior received a 10.000 and 9.950 from the judges for an overall score of 9.975. Individually, she won the floor exercise and balance beam titles in the meet at North Carolina State.

Stypinski said it was an honor to enter the Kent record books.

“It’s such an honor finding out I’m in that company,” Stypinski said excitedly. “Hopefully I can keep it up for my team and improve my other events and all-around as well.”

The Flashes (3-8, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) won the floor event in Saturday’s tri-meet against N.C. State and George Washington. Kent State lost to No. 16 George Washington and defeated N.C. State.

The Flashes earned a 196.125 team score, their highest team score on the season, a mark that broke the previous season-high team score in each of the past three meets. It was also the second straight meet that Kent’s opponent posted a season-high team score.

“In this sport it’s crucial to get hot at the right time,” Biggin said. “With how we performed, we’ve put ourselves in really good shape going forward.”

Biggin was proud of the team’s effort and attitude.

“I was most pleased today with how the girls stepped up and met the competition,” Biggin said. “They stayed focused the entire time and it was just a fun meet to be involved with.”

Lamano got the crowd on their feet when she delivered a floor routine full of energy and facial expressions.

“I just use as many facial expressions as I can to keep the crowd entertained,” Lamano said, laughing. “I know our fans look forward to my routine, so I try to give them a show as much as possible.”

Lamano’s floor routine was good enough for a season-best 9.875 and a tie for second place.

“There is the famous saying: practice makes perfect. We have definitely been practicing a lot better,” Lamano said. “It shows when we make improvements in the meets every week. We have to continue to improve and I’m so proud of the team.”

Juniors Brooke Timko and Michaela Romito both posted career-best scores on the uneven bars. Timko scored a 9.875 to tie for first, and Romito earned a 9.850 to tie for fourth.

“We haven’t gotten a 196 away from home in a long time,” Stypinski said. “It gives us confidence heading into the conference tournament. We don’t just want that score again, we expect it.”

The Flashes are on the road again to resume their Mid-American Conference schedule with a 6 p.m. meet on Friday at Bowling Green.

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