Mistakes cost the Kent State gymnastics team first place


Junior Samantha Gordon performs her floor routine in the M.A.C. Center on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.

Elise Kogelnik

The Kent State gymnastics team fell to the University of Kentucky on Sunday, but coach Brice Biggin said the meet might’ve ended differently had the Flashes been at home. 

Kentucky defeated Kent State 195.800-194.625 at Ball State University’s Think Pink meet. The Flashes topped Ball State’s score of 194.375, allowing Kent State to remain undefeated in the Mid-American Conference. Lindenwood University took fourth place with 190.950 points.

Biggin said while the Flashes defeated Ball State and Lindenwood, they need higher scores to qualify for regionals.  

“Wins and losses are nice, but in our sport, it’s not the only thing,” Biggin said. “The score is probably much more important, and we’re just not getting the job done consistently. When we go on the road, we’re having too many people fall and make mistakes. It’s killing our chances of being successful the way that we are at home.”

Biggin said the team was most successful on the floor exercise, while mistakes on the uneven bars and two falls on the balance beam kept them out of first place.

Kent State scored highest on the floor exercise with a 49.075. Sophomore Rachel Stypinski took second in the event and junior Skyelee Lamano followed in fourth.

“Floor has always been one of my most fun events,” Lamano said. “I like to go out there and show what I can do.”

Biggin said the Flashes’ vault performances were average with the exception of freshman Kennedy Plude, who finished second in the event with a 9.775.

 “We could not be more pleased with the way (Plude) is performing as a freshman,” Biggin said. “She’s coming off of two years of non-competition because of various injuries, but we knew she was talented.”

Plude took second place on the balance beam with a career high 9.850. Stypinski came in first at 9.875. 

“It feels great to be competing again,” Plude said. “I had lots of nerves coming in, but my team has really been there for me and helped me with everything, and so have the coaches.”

Lamano said she’s proud of the underclassmen on the team.

“The sophomore class kills it on every event,” Lamano said. “They’re a huge part of this team. The freshmen are also doing a great job … It’s nice to know that, even at such a young age, they can go out there and do what they need to do.”

The coaches and gymnasts agree, however, that there is still room for improvement when it comes to away meets. Lamano said relaxation is the key.

“We need to know what we could do even if we’re not on our own equipment,” Lamano said. “I’m happy we got a pretty good score for an away meet, but we definitely need to learn to relax away from home.” 

The Flashes will take on Bowling Green State University at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Kent.

Elise Kogelnik is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]