Gymnastics team remains undefeated in the MAC, but falls overall


Sophomore Ali Marrero celebrates with her Kent State gymnastics teammates after her performance on the bars. The Flashes took second place at the tri-meet with George Washington and Northern Illinois University on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 at the M.A.C. Center.

Elise Kogelnik

The Kent State gymnastics team took first in three events at Sunday’s meet, but coach Brice Biggin said two mistakes on the floor exercise cost them the win. 

George Washington University edged the Flashes by a quarter of a tenth of a point for a final score of 196.075-196.050. Northern Illinois University took third at the meet with 193.900 points. Biggin said the Flashes competed well as a whole, but mistakes from two seniors kept them out of first place.

“Overall, we’re certainly getting better on every event, but we took a step backward on two floor routines that … really (made a) difference in the meet,” Biggin said. “We’re still young, and we’re trying to figure it out in some spots. But, the disappointing thing is the seniors not figuring it out. They have to lead the team better than that.”

The sophomores stepped up and lead the Flashes on the beam, the uneven bars and the floor exercise. Rachel Stypinski took first on floor and tied sophomore Ali Marrero for first on the bars. Stypinski also tied for the top spot on beam. She and George Washington’s Alex DeMoura scored 9.900 on the event.

Sophomore Brooke Timko also landed in the top three on beam. Her score of 9.850 earned her third place in the event.

Stypinski did not score below 9.900 the whole meet and went on to score 9.950 on the floor exercise. Stypinski said her performance proved to her that she can overcome nerves and hit her routines. 

“Today, when I was about to compete, I was telling myself to stay cool and stay calm because our team needed a good score,” Stypinksi said. “The past couple weeks have been a little shaky, so I was thinking in my head ‘do well for the team, and do well for me too.’ ”

Stypinski said she’ll be less nervous as she becomes more experienced. For now, she said teammate Marrero helps to build her confidence up before she competes. 

“(Marrero) really calms me down before bars because bars is the one event I get really worked up on,” Stypinski said. “She just tells me that I have a good routine, I’m a good bar swinger, and I need to just do what I do.”

Biggin said the team knows they have the ability to win. 

“The 196 is a great team score,” Biggin said. “That’s really what we’re hoping this team should be able to continue to do. We’re very talented when we hit on all cylinders.”

The Flashes remain undefeated in the Mid-American Conference, but their overall record is 3-2. They will take on three more teams at 1 p.m. Sunday in Muncie, Indiana.  


Elise Kogelnik is the gymnastics beat reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].