Gymnastics gets First Victory in Conference-Opening Meet

Scott Lendak

Rachel Stypinski took a deep breath, glanced at the home crowd and then delivered a floor routine that would ultimately eliminate Western Michigan University’s chances of victory.

“I really think I stayed within myself which is one of the things I needed to work on this year,” Stypinski said. “I think I was very consistent and stuck all of my landings.”

The Flashes won their first MAC meet of the season by a score of 195.525-193.750 against Western Michigan. Stypinski set a personal-best on vault (9.825) and matched her personal-best on bars (9.900) in the winning effort. Stypinski finished in first place in all four events and tied for first in the all-around.

“She did okay,” gymnastics coach Brice Biggin said sarcastically about Stypinski’s performance. “She just has a dislike of losing which is a great quality to have. She makes things look so easy and it’s incredible to watch her perform.”

As a team, the Flashes dominated the floor event, which led to them outscoring the Broncos 49.400-48.225. Seniors Skyelee Lamano and Jordan Hardison, as well as freshman Jade Brown, tied for second with a score of 9.875.

Kent State also fared well in the uneven bars, as junior Brooke Timko scored a 9.850, which was good enough for a share of second place. Lamano and junior Michaela Romito tied for fourth place with scores of 9.800.

The Flashes edged out the Broncos 48.775-48.650 on vault, which was something that Stypinski credited to Hardison.

“Jordan Hardison really stepped up today on her vault,” Stypinski said. “It’s a new vault for her and she’s been working on it. Last week she didn’t make it, but this week she did outstanding and made it and I hope she stays like this the entire season because it really gave her confidence.”

Both Hardison and sophomore Dara Williams scored a 9.775 to contribute to a well-balanced attack on vault.

It wasn’t all positive for the Flashes in their home victory, however. The Flashes won three events as a team, but only managed to tie the Broncos in the beam event 48.225-48.225, which was something that Biggin thinks the Flashes can improve on.

“I think we bounced back on three events, but we still struggled on beam,” Biggin said. “It’s something that hurts our team score and in a big meet it’s going to have a huge difference in where we place.”

Three flashes fell on beam and, other than Stypinski and senior Milena Fabry (9.750), the team struggled on the event.

“They just need to focus one routine at a time, but all four events are important. We can do really well on three events, but if that fourth event is down a little bit it hurts us,” Biggin said.

Biggin said that overall, the team improved from last week and the main focus in practice this week will be taking on each event one at a time.

Kent State (1-3, 1-0 MAC) will travel to Northern Illinois University to take on the Huskies and Southeast Missouri State University in a Tri-Meet. The meet will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.