Gymnastics falls short on road against Northern Illinois

Senior Milena Fabry performs on the balance beam at the woman’s gymnastics meet on Jan. 20, 2017.

Scott Lendak

Last week, Kent State gymnastics head coach Brice Biggin said he wanted the Flashes to have consistency going into Sunday’s away meet at Northern Illinois University.

However, the Flashes (2-4, 1-1 MAC) weren’t able to find that consistency at their tri-meet Sunday, as they fell to Northern Illinois (6-2, 0-1 MAC) by a score of 194.425 to 194.375, but defeated Southeast Missouri State University by a score of 194.375 to 190.500.

“We’re very disappointed we lost today and we felt like we didn’t go out there and accomplish what our goal was,” Biggin said. “We felt like we let one slip away. We need to go back to work and get some kids healthy.”

The floor routine, which previously has been the team’s best event, was where the Flashes struggled Sunday. They lost 48.600 to 48.100 to the Huskies. Senior Jordan Hardison was the lone standout for the Flashes, finishing second in the event with a score of 9.800.

“We had to switch our lineup after warm-ups. Rachel Stypinski has been great for us this year but she fell on both floor and bars,” Biggin said. “That is something she normally doesn’t do, but it happens every once in a while.”

Prior to the meet, only #1 Oklahoma and #2 LSU had scored better in the event through the first two weeks of the season. The Flashes took a big step back in the event Sunday, as their score went from 49.400 to 48.100.

The uneven bars were also dominated by the Huskies, who defeated Kent State by a score of 48.875 to 48.425. Junior Michaela Romito was the only gymnast for the Flashes who finished inside the top five with a score of 9.750.

“We struggled with dismounts on bars and only stuck one out of six,” Biggin said. “When you lose by a half of a tenth of a point, all you need to do is stick one more dismount.”

The beam event was a bright spot for the team as they won the event 49.075 to 48.525 over the Redhawks. Junior Rachel Stypinski placed first in the event with a 9.925. Sophomore Kennedy Plude came in third with a score of 9.850 and senior Milena Fabry finished in fifth with a 9.825.

Biggin said the balance beam was one event the team had to improve on. Kent State upgraded their beam score from 48.225 to 49.075. All gymnasts avoided a fall and finished with over a 9.500.

“We fixed some things on beam, and I was very pleased with how our girls competed over there,” Biggin said.

Kent State placed first in vault in an attempt to come back late in the meet. Hardison tied for first with a 9.825 while sophomore Dara Williams placed third with a score of 9.800.

The Flashes will look to bounce back as they take on West Virginia Saturday as part of the annual Beauty and the Beast meet.

“We have a big meet this weekend and need to have people step up and fill into some spots until we get healthy,” Biggin said. “We’ll evaluate day-by-day how some kids are feeling and try to make some changes and see if we can do a little bit better next meet.”

The meet is scheduled to start at 2 p.m in the M.A.C. Center.

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]